About Us

A Critical Mission and an Incredible Track Record

TransForm works to create world-class public transportation and walkable communities in the Bay Area and beyond.

We build diverse coalitions, influence policy, and develop innovative programs to improve the lives of all people and protect the environment.

We've won literally billions of dollars and groundbreaking policies in support of public transportation, smart growth, affordable housing, and bicycle/pedestrian safety. 

TransForm's new strategic plan is a great way to learn about our work more in-depth.  Read the strategic plan.  You can also read our recent annual report celebrating our 15 year anniversary.

TransForm® is a registered trademark of TransFormCA, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Read on to learn more about our:

Our Beliefs

  • All people deserve affordable, safe, and easy access to jobs, housing, services, and nature on foot, bicycle, or public transportation.
  • People should play a central role in shaping the future of their communities, especially those voices who are most impacted and have not adequately been heard in the past.
  • Communities can become healthier and more vibrant while also nurturing the diversity and inclusion of existing residents, rather than displacement.
  • Growth should be directed towards existing developed areas, not our precious remaining open space.
  • We can only achieve our mission by working with people from a wide range of backgrounds, abilities, and perspectives.

Our Vision

When you take a moment to imagine what our lives will be like 10, 20, or 50 years from now, you might end up feeling hopeless - or eager for what the future will bring. At TransForm, we think great things are possible in the Bay Area and beyond.

Transportation will be redefined in terms of access and sustainability. Everyone will quickly get where they want to go in ways that fully meet their needs, whether these needs are health, happiness, saving time, or saving money. Our trains and buses will be exceptional, even state-of-the-art. Our streets and sidewalks will welcome people of all ages, whether they are on foot or bicycle, in wheelchairs or strollers.

The Bay Area and regions throughout California will be beautiful tapestries of inviting towns, livable cities, farmland, and open space with pristine watersheds and thriving wildlife. We will be breathing the cleanest air since the Gold Rush and have surpassed emission reduction targets. Active living will be second nature for everyone, with rates of obesity and heart disease plummeting.

Our communities will be friendly, diverse places where people are deeply engaged in shaping transportation and land use decisions. New development will enhance and respect existing neighborhoods, and bring new amenities and needed services. We'll have parks nearby to bring our kids or dog to, a coffee shop a couple of blocks away where we can meet our friends, a corner store to pick up a carton of milk, and maybe a local farmer's market. The people who keep things humming - the teachers, the firefighters, the service workers - will be able to afford to live near where they work.

Our History

TransForm, formerly the Transportation and Land Use Coalition (TALC), was founded in 1997 by environmental and social justice groups. These groups came together because they recognized how the quality of life and environment in the nine-county Bay Area were at risk due to poorly planned development and a transportation system focused on just one way of getting around: driving. In the years since, TransForm, often working with diverse coalitions, has won literally billions of dollars and groundbreaking policies in support of public transportation, smart growth, affordable housing, and bicycle/pedestrian safety. Read our detailed history since 1997.

Our Approach

Building Diverse Coalitions: TransForm is committed to working collaboratively in all that we do, especially through active participation in the Great Communities Collaborative and ClimatePlan.

Influencing Policy: TransForm is deeply rooted in policy work, from conducting research and analysis to developing alternatives and advocating for them. We are working to identify and promote solutions that are cost-effective, fair, and address a wide range of issues over the next several years, especially regarding road pricing and regional transportation planning.

Developing Innovative Programs: TransForm has increasingly launched innovative programs such as Safe Routes to Schools to get successful models on the ground that involve a broad range of people in the movement for world-class public transportation and walkable communities. GreenTRIP is one of the most groundbreaking ways TransForm is helping city officials and developers achieve more people-friendly places plus less driving.

Our work seeks to help everyone, and prioritizes the needs of disadvantaged communities – low-income people, communities of color, people with disabilities, youth and seniors – when forging solutions.  

Our Awards

TransForm's effectiveness is widely recognized, with awards from Senator Barbara Boxer, State Senator Don Perata, the American Lung Association, the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the California Association of Nonprofits, the Nonprofit Policy Council, the National Neighborhood Coalition, Public Advocates as a "Voice of Conscience", the American Planning Association of California, and Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, and others.

In 2013, TransForm's Executive Director Stuart Cohen received the prestigious James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award for his impact as a champion for innovative regional planning to create affordable, vibrant communities that improve quality of life and help the environment.  Read more about the award here.

TransForm was also honored by the U.S. Green Building Council - Northern California Chapter as a 2013 Green Building Super Hero for our work to advance social justice and sustainability through transportation and community planning.

In 2010, TransForm was named one of the top ten climate change-related nonprofits in the Bay Area by Philanthropedia's 97 climate change experts.  TransForm's work was also featured in the report State Transportation Reform: How Advocates Are Winning.