Bus Rapid Transit

An Affordable Way to Make Buses Faster and More Reliable

TransForm is shaping model Bus Rapid Transit lines in the Bay Area--we want to achieve local demonstrations of world-class public transportation that's cost-effective, reliable, and convenient.

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is revolutionizing public transportation service around the world by emulating the best features of rail through its use of dedicated bus lanes, traffic signal priority, state-of-the-art buses, and proof-of-payment systems. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is essentially light rail without the tracks - and at a fraction of the cost.

And, because BRT can serve more people in less time, it also reduces operating costs for transit agencies, allowing them to put savings into preserving affordable service.

Several Bus Rapid Transit routes are now in the works in the Bay Area, and TransForm is working to engage local communities including chambers of commerce, neighborhood associations, students, and others in shaping these routes in the East Bay and South Bay

Read on to learn more about Bus Rapid Transit, or learn about and get involved TransForm's specific BRT work in the East Bay and South Bay.


Read TransForm's report Revolutionizing Bay Area Transit... on a Budget, which outlines our vision of BRT in the Bay Area.

Watch these video clips of successful BRT projects in cities across the globe, plus examples of cities that are planning for BRT to become and integral part of their vision for a more sustainable future.

For more information you can review our summary slides below or contact Chris Lepe (for South Bay efforts) or Joel Ramos (for East Bay and San Francisco efforts).

You can make TransForm an even stronger advocate by donating now.

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a revolutionary new approach to public transit that delivers reliable, comfortable and affordable service for a fraction of the cost of other transit strategies. BRT lines are now being planned for San Francisco, the East Bay, and the South Bay.

East Bay Bus Rapid Transit

July 30, 2013: Oakland City Council gives Bus Rapid Transit another green light

The Oakland City Council voted unanimously - again - to enter into agreements with AC Transit to advance Bus Rapid Transit along International Boulevard.  There are still some details to be worked out, but we are hopeful that the project will soon be cleared to receive funding awarded through the Federal Transit Administration's Small Starts program.  Read our blog post from August 1, 2013 for the details.


It has already been a year since the Oakland City Council adopted BRT for International Blvd. Since then, AC Transit has been addressing concerns that were raised around station spacing, access for people with disabilities, and mitigating impacts of construction and the loss of some public parking for small businesses and services along the boulevard. 
AC Transit has taken great steps towards addressing the majority of these issues, and is now coming back to the Oakland City Council as agreed, in hope of entering into a Master Cooperative Agreement with the City of Oakland. AC Transit needs this agreement in place to receive the funding needed for BRT from the Federal Government. If the City of Oakland does not enter into an agreement with AC Transit in July, the funds from the Federal Government (Small Starts Program) will be put into jeopardy, thereby threatening the entire viability of the project, regardless of approval status. 
While the issues of station spacing and access for people with disabilities have been or are well on the way to being worked out, the issue of assisting businesses that will be impacted by the project remains unresolved. Part of the challenge is the uncertainty of which businesses will need assistance after BRT is in place. It is also unclear what specific dollar amount will suffice to meet those potential needs. While some businesses will almost certainly need entirely new business models, others will not be impacted at all, or will likely benefit from the investment of new infrastructure along the corridor. 
TransForm has been monitoring this process closely, and we have been providing assistance in this dialogue wherever possible. We value the existing businesses and services as key pieces of the social and community fabric that make up the communities along International Blvd. . Thankfully, ACT has demonstrated their willingness to work in partnership with existing businesses and services along the corridor, ensuring BRT has as minimal impact to the parts of the community we would all like to see preserved. 



At nearly 11PM on Tuesday night, July 17th, the Oakland City Council joined the City Council of San Leandro in  unanimous support of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) with dedicated lanes. The route will improve reliability and frequency, and will reduce overall transit time for most of the 1/1R routes by an estimated 30%. BRT will also reduce operations costs, resulting in more service for less funding. The Oakland City Council motion to adopt was made by Councilmember Pat Kernighan and seconded by Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente.

With over 30 organizations in support of the project (see a list below), and dozens of residents showing up to speak, some of the last minute concerns were ensuring that businesses along the corridor would recieve appropriate support during construction and mitigations for loss of parking in certain spots along the corridor, and that the estimated 300 construction jobs would go to as many Oakland residents as possible, given limitations to the application of Oakland's Local Hire policy on Federally funded projects. Some minor ammendments were made by the City Council to the staff recommendation that emphasized AC Transit addressing these issues as the project moves forward.

Some of the most vocal supporters of BRT at the council meeting were the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, Oakland Community Organizations, Walk Oakand Bike Oakland, Causa Justa Just Cause, Youth Uprising, the Sierra Club, the Alameda County Building and Construction Trades Council, the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 192, ACCE / Riders for Transit Justice, The First UU Church of Oakland's Earth Justice Associates, the National Association of Minority Contractors, Urban Habitat, and the League of Women Voters. Supporters outnumbered opponents by more than 3 to 1. The project would not have passed without the residents and organizations that showed up or spoke out in support last night, and the ongoing, demonstrated support of the additional groups listed below.

Reasons for supporting BRT included sorely needed improvements to the frequency and reliability of the transit service along International Blvd. (routes 1 and 1R), the jobs that the construction of BRT would create, bringing over $150M of investment in public infrastructure, and helping to attract TOD to the corridor. Another popular reason for support was because of the increased lighting and security features that will help reduce crime along the corridor, as well as the improved pedestrian and bicycling facilities that will come with BRT, including improved cross-walks, bike lanes and bike parking.  A small business owner and leader, Aristeo Zambrano of Bay City Alternators also came out in support and in representation of small businesses in the Elmhurst neighborhood district, emphasizing that the corridor is in sore need of investment.

Human Impact Partners did a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) of the proposed BRT project, and reported that the project would result in an improvement to public health along the corridor for a number of reasons, including improved access, more safety from crime and traffic. The report can be seen on their website.

Oakland's vote came on the heels of the San Leandro City Council adopting the BRT project running in center lanes for buses only along a small portion of the route and "curbside BRT" for a majority of the route along E.14th St. (from the Oakland border) to the San Leandro BART station.

The project is unique in the Bay Area as being the first BRT system to be implemented in a dense, relatively narrow corridor. It will be a game-changer for International Blvd., and will serve as a model to the counry on how to "do more with less".

East Bay BRT is officially / formally supported by over 30 community groups and organizations:

Alameda County Building and Construction Trades Council
Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) Riders for Transit Justice
Amalgamated Transit Workers Union Local 192
Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN)
Bay Localize
Causa Justa / Just Cause
Communities for a Better Environment
East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy
East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation
East Bay Bicycle Coalition

East Bay Housing Organizations
East Bay Young Democrats
Ella Baker Center
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Oakland's Earth Justice Associates
Genesis (a Gamaliel affiliate)
Greenbelt Alliance
HOPE Collaborative
The League of Women Voters
Movement Generation
National Association of Minority Contractors
Oakland Rising
Oakland Community Organizations
RAMP (Regional Asthma Management and Prevention)
Sierra Club (Northern Alameda County Chapter)

Street Level Health Project
The Rose Foundation / New Voices Are Rising
Urban Habitat
Walk Oakland / Bike Oakland (WOBO)
Youth Uprising

Since the release of the DEIR,  the project has changed in the following ways, including THE ADDITION OF TWO NEW STATIONS and the shifting of three proposed station locations to better meet the needs of transit riders and stakeholders along the route:

1.    Reduced scope of the project to stop at 20th St. @ Broadway (parallel bus service can continue to connect North Oakland with 14th St. and maybe even Jack London Square)

2.    Reduced parking impacts with dual-side boarding buses allowing for combined inbound / outbound BRT Stations

3.    Maintaining on-board fare payment for those who have safety concerns over handling money at ticket machines while waiting on platforms

4.    Improving traffic routing on International Blvd. from Fruitvale Ave. with new and improved traffic signals on Fruitvale Ave. and E. 10th St. and at Derby St.  nd E. 12th Sts., which will reduce the amount of traffic on International Blvd. through the Fruitvale District

5.    Adding a NEW station in the vicinity of 63rd Ave. to reduce distance in station spacing

6. Shifting the proposed BRT station from 65th Ave. to be directly in front of Lockwood-Havenscourt Campus at 67th Ave., improving access and safety with a new pedestrian / traffic signal for students of those schools, and removing the dedicated lane from right there in front of the school to minimize traffic

7. Shifting the proposed BRT station even closer to Allen Temple Arms (at 82nd Avd.) from where the inbound 1/1R station is located now

8.    Creating a new parking lot at 85th Ave. to reduce impacts to parking at Allen Temple Baptist Church on Sundays during church services   

9. Adding a NEW station at 90th Ave. to reduce distance in station spacing.

10. Shifting the proposed BRT station from 104th Ave. to 103rd Ave. to be closer to Allen Temple Gardens (btwn 101st and 102nd)

11. A commitment to maintain and integrate the existing landscaped median

12. A commitment to repave the entire street, curb to curb

East Bay BRT Passes Through Oakland Public Works Committee!

With 21 ferverent supporters, 4 opponents and one neutral speaker, BRT has just passed through the Oakland Public Works Committee with Councilmembers Nadel, Schaaf and Kaplan in support. Councilmember Larry Reid abstained from the vote. 

Most of the speakers were transit riders who reflected on how sorely needed and long over-due this project is. Two opponents expressed concerns about the impacts of construction on small businesses, and two other opponents (who were also transit riders) were just not confident in the proposed improvements.

Special thanks goes to Oakland's First Unitarian Universalist Church, The Alameda County Building Trades Council, Walk Oakland Bike Oakland (WOBO), Oakland Community Organizations (OCO), the East Bay Young DemocratsNew Voices Are Rising, and the National Association for Minority Contractors  for turning folks out!

AC Transit Board of Directors Certify East Bay BRT FEIR, Moving the Downtown Oakland to San Leandro (DSOL) Option Forward Toward City Council Approvals!

Transit in Oakland and San Leandro took a huge step towards a much better future on April 25th, thanks to the efforts of its visionary leadership on the AC Transit Board of Directors. With 6 of the 7 Directors present, they unanimously certified the FEIR and adopted the Downtown Oakland to San Leandro alternative for BRT!

Over three dozen speakers came out in support of the plan, and emboldened the AC Transit Board of Directors to vote the way they did. They were also able to see a video advocating for BRT proudly produced by Youth Uprising (which can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKUHj9hapaU

This would not have happened without the broad support from youth, labor, environmental, social justice, and environmental justice groups as well as "just regular  residents" who were represented by 45 supporters at the AC Transit Board of Directors meeting on April 25th, 2012..

Many thanks to the 22 groups that have signed on to the coalition letter (see below)  and all the support that has been demonstrated leading up to this point. Their engagement has been paramount to moving such a progressive project forward.

The East Bay BRT project has the HIGHEST rating for a transit project in the nation, according to the FTA. It promises to deliver the most efficiency for the least amount of money spent on transit improvements. Once implemented, Oakland and San Leandro will truly have a world-class transit system. Despite the affordability, it will create hundreds of local construction jobs, improve air quality, allow for the purchase of better designed, cleaner vehicles, make streets safer for pedestrians and bicyclists, while at the same time creating a truly reliable transit system that people can truly depend on to come frequently and reliably.

Bringing Bus Rapid Transit to Life

For the past six years, TransForm has worked in Berkeley, Oakland and San Leandro to build community awareness of AC Transit's proposed East Bay Bus Rapid Transit project with the goal of supporting the cities and AC Transit in ensuring that the East Bay gets a model BRT system that delivers world-class transit service and meets the community's needs.

Traveling along Telegraph Avenue, International Boulevard, and East 14th Street, BRT is proposed to reduce current trip times along this corridor by 30%, and will attract over 9,000 new daily passengers.  AC Transit's BRT service will also reduce operating costs while increasing ridership, enabling the transit agency to better support the rest of the system.

Some of the reasons why residents who we have spoken to support BRT are as follows:

Transit Improvements:

  • Level boarding eliminates need for lifts or ramps for wheelchairs and or for people with disabilities or traveling with strollers or carts. Boarding will be exactly like boarding BART. This makes boarding for people in wheelchairs much faster and safer.
  • Dedicated lanes keep buses out of traffic, running on time, and prevents bus bunching, which helps to reduce operations cost, allowing for more service and less cuts
  • BRT buses will come every 5 minutes all day long (not just during peak hours!)
  • Traffic Signal Priority systems will hold green lights longer for approaching BRT vehicles, minimizing the amount of time that BRT stops for anything other than passengers
  • All-Door Boarding will legally allow passengers to board through any door tagging their Clipper Cards to scanners located at each door. This eliminates crowding at the front of the vehicle, and speeds up boarding.
  • BRT Stations will all have seating, lighting, shelter, state-of-the art Information systems, and public art. BRT stations will be placed no more than 1/3 of a mile apart, at key destinations and where transfers happen along the route.
  • Center boarding stations allow passengers to wait together (safety in numbers) regardless of the direction they are heading. Center-running, platform stations also make it easier for passengers to navigate, and change direction if needed.

Safety from Crime:

  • Increased lighting at stations makes waiting for transit much safer;
  • Emergency phones at stations provide direct links to police or sheriff;
  • Cameras at stations will act as crime deterrents;
  • Fare inspection officers also increase presence of authority, and can act as "eyes and ears" of police or sheriff;
  • Higher concentrations of passengers at stations (rather than scattered along at stops) increase overall "eyes on the street" and decrease isolation of potential victims waiting for a bus alone on the side of the road, in the dark;
  • Higher frequency of bus arrival times (every 5 minutes during the day -all day-), and improved reliability significantly decrease time spent waiting for the bus, and exposing one's self as a potential target for crime.

Safety from Traffic:

  • Dedicated lanes calm car traffic to safer speeds
  • Bike lanes calm car traffic to safer speeds, and get bikes off of sidewalks;
  • New traffic signals make it safer to cross the street;
  • Improved crosswalks and bulb-outs increase visibility of pedestrians;
  • Increased street lighting increases visibility of pedestrians;
  • BRT Stations also act as pedestrian refuges, even for those who simply wan to cross the street.

Health Benefits:

  • Improved ambulance and fire response times by giving emergency vehicles access to a traffic-free dedicated bus lane while maintaining access to senior facilities from the street;
  • Creates bike lanes, which encourage biking which has been proven to improve health;
  • By offering greener choices for transportation, BRT reduces asthma and other respiratory problems by reducing air pollution;
  • Reduces obesity and health problems by creating safe, accessible and walkable communities. BRT would create pleasant transit stops and safer streets and sidewalks;
  • Provides more frequent, reliable transit to health and medical centers along the corridor.

Economic Benefits:

  • Turns a 45 minute bus ride into a 30 minute bus ride, saving time and money for riders;
  • By offering people a competitive, reliable alternative to a private vehicle, household transportation costs can be reduced, thereby freeing up more resources for other necessities such as housing and healthcare;
  • BRT creates hundreds of local jobs (construction and support jobs);
  • Invests $180M into Oakland and San Leandro from Regional, State and Federal sources;
  • Acts as a catalyst for the implementation of the International Blvd. TOD Plan, which has allowed already brought Oakland over $1M in planning efforts (see page 3 of this PDF: http://www.sgc.ca.gov/meetings/20120510/PlanningGrantsRound2-corrected.pdf
  • Attracts private investment (BRT in Cleveland attracted some $4.3B of investment into it's struggling economy); 
  • Reduces the cost of transit operations to allow for more frequent service (5 minute headways all day).

Environmental Benefits:

  • Reduces GHG's by 1,900 tons per year by attracting more riders and with new, state-of-the-art hybrid buses that reduce travel times by 30%
  • Cleaner, greener buses (made in the USA) means improved air quality and reducing air pollution that causes asthma and other respiratory illnesses;
  • Saves 210,000 gallons of gas from being burned per year in Alameda Co.

AC Transit Releases the Final Environmental Impact Report for their East Bay Bus Rapid Transit Project!

In compliance with CEQA guidelines, AC Transit has worked with community stakeholders to address comments made to them about the East Bay BRT project as defined in the DRAFT Environmental Impact Report, released around this time last year.

The Final Environmental Impact Report (or FEIR) includes a project that runs from Oakland to San Leandro BART, bringing bike lanes, new stations with lower impacts to parking, more landscaped median and other changes that we feel are for the better for local stakeholders, and which reduces the total cost of the project to reflect the funding that is currently available.

AC Transit recently held seven community meetings along the route and will now take the project to the AC Transit Board of Directors and the City Councils of Oakland and San Leandro over the next several weeks, seeking their approval to continue on with the final engineering of the project.

Response to Frequently Asked Questions (BRT FAQ's)

Distance between stops: BRT stations combine local service and Rapid service, and will be spaced 1/3rd of a mile apart, on average;

BRT Stations will be closer together than "1R" stops but spaced further apart than then "1" stops today.  The BRT stations will be located where transfers to other lines happen, and where 90% of current passengers take transit from now. However, about 10% of passengers may need to walk to a different place where a new BRT station will be located nearby. On average BRT stations will be less than 1/3 of a mile apart. If right between two BRT stations, one may need to walk about 1/6th of a mile, equivalant to 880 feet, which is the distance one must walk now to get to City Hall from the currently existing 1/1R bus stop on Broadway between 13th and 14th Streets (see the Google map here: http://g.co/maps/kj4ur)

Curbside BRT:  Some people are calling for "Curbside BRT", which would have BRT lanes running down the side of the street, with BRT stopping at "bulbout stations". This idea was not supported by AC Transit because it has several fatal flaws;

1. Curbside BRT still gets stuck behind double parked-cars, cars making right-hand turns or parallel parking, as the Silver line does in Boston and as BRT gets stuck behind traffic in Santiago Chile, losing much of the time-saving benefits gained by level, all-door boarding. The SFMTA recently decided against this model of BRT on Van Ness for this very reason.

2. Curbside BRT is less safe for passengers and pedestrians. whereas one would be required to cross the full width (at least two lanes of mixed flow traffic) of the street twice to get to any destination and back. Center running BRT, with platforms in the middle of the street require passengers to cross only one lane of mixed flow traffic at a time (at signalized crosswalks, of course) to get to the platforms or pedestrian refuges. It also becomes safter to change direction mid-route, eliminating the need to cross any streets if simply going the other direction (if one misses their stop or decides to reverse direction).

3. Curbside BRT removes the potential for platforms to serve as pedestrian refuges, as tney would in Center-Running BRT, where pedestrians, particularily people who need more time to cross the street, can pause at the BRT platform in the middle of the street and safely wait for the next signal phase before they cross the rest of the street (see graphic attached below)

4. Curbside BRT stations are proposed by some to be 1/2 mile apart (w/ less local service between stations), and would require higher operating costs along the corridor to provide service.

5. Curbside BRT stations would be more narrow in width, making it more difficult for wheelchairs to pass each other on the platforms. Even though the stations would be built parallel to the sidewalk, to be level with the floor of the buses, they would need to be elevated from the sidewalk itself or at a sloped angle that may be difficult to negotiate for people with limited mobility.

Why not use BRT Funding for improvements throughout the system instead?

The funding that has been earmarked for BRT is available for captial projects only. By law, it cannot be used for operations. The funding that  was possibly availble for operations (CMAQ funds) has already been shifted away from the project to reduce service cuts two years ago. If AC Transit does not use this money for BRT, it will lose the great majority of it. Some of it (previous Regional Measure 2 funds) would still be available for operations and maintenance of Rapid Bus lines (like the 1R and the 72R).

Funding Sources

  1. Regional Measure 2 (RM-2) – $43.4 million for Construction. RM-2 includes $3 million annually to operate the system.
  2. Alameda County Measure B, – $5.5 million for construction.
  3. Federal Small Starts – $75 Million (Anticipated).
  4. State Transportation Improvement Program – $40.0 Million
  5. Federal Section 5309 Bus - $3.1 million for construction
  6. AC Transit bus procurement program funds - $4.9 million for vehicles

East Bay BRT Status: City by City

In May 2010, San Leandro and Oakland supported the study of creating dedicated BRT lanes.  This gave the green light for AC Transit to move forward in looking at the impacts and benefits of a full BRT system with dedicated lanes, stations, proof-of-payment system, and other amenities that will greatly improve service along the heavily used 1/1R line.

TransForm applauds Oakland and San Leandro's City Councils for their efforts to help find a way to improve the comfort, safety, frequency, reliability, and affordability of bus service.

Check out the details on the 2010 decisions made in each city:

Ongoing Community Planning

TransForm is currently reaching out to community groups, residents, businesses and other stakeholders in an effort to ensure that their concerns about BRT are being addressed by AC Transit by time the final proposal. So far, our efforts have resulted in better parking mitigations, station location, and pedestrian infrastructure improvements.

Additionally, BRT will be the catalyst in the International Blvd. Transit-Oriented Development Plan, which creates more walkable communities along International Blvd.


Learn more about the project during this three-minute AC Transit video and at AC Transit's BRT website.

Questions about TransForm's work to shape and win Bus Rapid Transit in the East Bay?  Want to get involved?  Contact Joel Ramos.

You can make TransForm an even stronger advocate in 2013 by donating now.

East Bay BRT illustrations courtesy of FMG Architects and Cambridge Systematics.




































Curbside versus Center-Lane BRT26.57 KB
BRT Talking Points.pdf60.88 KB

Berkeley Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)

Berkeley City Council Kills BRT in Berkeley

Despite endorsements from the Sierra Club, TransForm, the Building Trades Council, UNITE-HERE Local 2850, Livable Berkeley, and others to study a Full-Build BRT alternative, Councilmembers Jesse Arreguin, Gordon Wozniak, Susan Wengraff, and Kris Worthington would only vote to study an alternative that had not yet been considered.

The alternative that was approved would be like existing 1R service service, but with bulb-outs, proof-of-payment systems, and traffic signal priority but no dedicated lanes as the build alternative.

A genuine interest on the part of Mayor Tom Bates and Councilmembers Linda Maio, Laurie Capitelli and Daryl Moore to study dedicated lanes as part of a "Full-Build" alternative could not win a fifth vote.

Councilmember Max Anderson was absent.

The East Bay BRT project is now no longer being planed to serve Berkeley, and will instead terminate at 20th St. in downtown Oakland.

For more information, contact Joel Ramos.

You can make TransForm an even stronger advocate in 2011 by donating now.

Oakland Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)

July 10th, 2012: East Bay BRT Passes Through Oakland Public Works Committee, On to Full City Council Tuesday, July 17th @ 5PM!

With 21 ferverent supporters, 4 opponents and one neutral speaker, BRT has just passed through the Oakland Public Works Committee with Councilmembers Nadel, Schaaf and Kaplan in support. Councilmember Larry Reid abstained from the vote. 

Most of the speakers were transit riders who reflected on how sorely needed and long over-due this project is. Two opponents expressed concerns about the impacts of construction on small businesses, and two other opponents (who were also transit riders) were just not confident in the proposed improvements.

Special thanks goes to Oakland's First Unitarian Universalist Church, The Alameda County Building Trades Council, Walk Oakland Bike Oakland (WOBO), Oakland Community Organizations (OCO), the East Bay Young DemocratsNew Voices Are Rising, and the National Association for Minority Contractors  for turning folks out!

Please plan on joining us in getting BRT over the final and most important hurdles, at the City Council hearings listed above. WE NEED YOUR VOICE TO HELP FIGHT FOR BETTER TRANSIT. As one speaker said at the Public Works Committee Hearing, "We deserve better."

For a handy sheet of talking points for next Tuesday's meeting, please see the attachment below near the bottom of this webpage.

Oakland takes a step closer towards World-Class Transit Service!

In April 2010, Oakland's City Council voted unanimously in support of  BRT. The next step is moving forward with a Final Environmental Impact Statement.  Over a dozen Oakland residents spoke in favor of the project.  Most of the councilmembers on the committee voiced their enthusiasm for the project to be studied with dedicated lanes and stations.

TransForm would like to thank the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Urban Habitat, The Sierra Club (Northern Alameda County Chapter), UNITE-HERE Local 2850, The Alameda County Building Trades Council, the East Bay Asian Youth Center, The East Bay Bicycle Coalition, Walk-Oakland / Bike Oakland (WOBO), Oakland Community Organizations (OCO), and the Oakland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee for joining us in supporting BRT and helping to win this important victory!

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) could dramatically improve bus service for the 20,000 current daily riders on AC Transit’s 1/1R routes, giving better access to 1/3 of all the housing and 1/2 of all the jobs in Oakland.  BRT (with dedicated lanes, state-of-the-art buses, and other key features) is an affordable way to make bus service much faster and more reliable.

This May,  we will need your support when the Oakland City Council votes one last time to adopt the final project as proposed by AC Transit. Until then, TransForm will continue to do outreach to the community, helping AC Transit and the City of Oakland to identify solutions to the impacts anticipated on parking, traffic, and bus stop consolidation. We're confident we will find a way to make transit faster, more reliable, and more frequent, while helping the communities along the corridor to become safer for bicyclsts, pedestrians, transit riders, and car drivers alike.


To see a short, 3 minute video-simulation of how this would look in Oakland, go to our BRT page.

Learn more about the proposal for BRT in Oakland studied in a Final Environmental Impact Report.

If you would like to learn more about TransForm's role in advocating for Bus Rapid Transit in the East Bay, contact Joel Ramos.

You can make TransForm an even stronger advocate in 2011 by donating now.

BRT Talking Points.pdf60.88 KB

San Leandro Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)


Thanks to public input on the draft environmental document and comments made during recent community meetings, the City of San Leandro has refined AC Transit's BRT plan to run BRT to San Leandro BART, create new traffic signals, and to even implement "queue jump lanes" that would reduce the delays to BRT caused by traffic at intersections. 

Speakers were about evenly divided at the last City Council meeting were BRT was discussed, which resulted in the council voting in favor of the newly revised proposal. While Councilmember Bill Stephens was the only one to conclude that he was not "for" dedicated lanes (with or without a study), most of the councilmembers all agreed that it would be a better idea to at least study them first, before making a decision in the Fall. Councilmember Jim Prola stated that he had recieved dozens of letters about the project, and even read one from a San Leandro resident that had previously oppossed the project, but was now in favor.

For questions about BRT in the East Bay, contact TransForm staff Joel Ramos.

Sign up to receive e-updates and be aware of the next steps needed to win BRT in San Leandro!

You can make TransForm an even stronger advocate in 2011 by donating now.

Santa Clara County Bus Rapid Transit

A reliable, comfortable, and convenient transportation option is coming to Santa Clara County

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is revolutionizing bus service around the world with its dedicated transit lanes, state-of-the-art buses, and rail-like stations. Now, Bus Rapid Transit is coming to Santa Clara County, with over 30 miles of BRT projects  planned along the Valley's most heavily utilized transit corridors.

TransForm is engaging community leaders and other stakeholders to ensure that BRT in the Valley provides a high quality transportation option while meeting community needs and improving safety for all users, including bicyclists and pedestrians.

For more information and to get involved, contact Chris Lepe.

Benefits Bus Rapid Transit can bring to Santa Clara County 

  • Fast and frequent transit service: Each BRT line will operate at a minimum of ten minute frequencies and run at least 30% faster service than local buses. BRT vehicles will have traffic signal priority and dedicated bus lanes in some areas. valleyrapid.org
  • Fewer cars on the road and a lower carbon footprint: Local bus service running along the planned Alum Rock, El Camino, and Stevens Creek BRT corridors already serves one out of every five VTA bus riders, and BRT is expected to result in 40% more transit use along these routes. 4,555 metric tons of greenhouse gases will be removed annually just along the El Camino corridor due to a reduction in over 5,000 vehicles miles traveled per year.
  • Safer streets for pedestrians and cyclists: In areas where bus-only lanes are adopted, VTA can include pedestrian improvements such as bulb-outs (sidewalk extensions), additional signalized intersections, and bicycle safety improvements such as painted bike lanes.
  • Job creation and access: BRT has been shown to spur economic development and job growth, and VTA estimates that the El Camino Rapid could generate 4,780 jobs if exclusive bus lanes are pursued. Furthermore, BRT will speed up the commute for VTA’s existing transit riders, resulting in greater access to economic opportunity for all, including low-income families and students. 
  • Modern and innovative transit facilities: BRT will include more functional transit stations with real-time bus arrival information and ticket vending machines. New low-floor vehicles with diesel-electric hybrid technology will feature wireless internet access and comfortable seating configurations.

What we're doing to shape Bus Rapid Transit in Santa Clara County

  • TransForm is engaging businesses, neighborhood groups, and other stakeholders so that VTA's Bus Rapid Transit plans are truly rapid and integrate community preferences and priorities. 
  • We are also partnering with pedestrian and bicycle advocates to ensure that BRT plans integrate best practices in bicycle and pedestrian safety and that safe routes to the future BRT stations are planned for and financed. Whole Foods South Bay

Learn more and get engaged

South Bay Transit - Current News and Actions

Santa Clara-Alum Rock Bus Rapid Transit Groundbreaking

Start: 03/21/2014 2:00 pm
Come celebrate the first Bus Rapid Transit project in the Bay Area!
After over a decade of planning and design, the Santa Clara-Alum Rock Bus Rapid Transit project is about a year away from commencing service! The community is invited to the groundbreaking of the seven mile BRT project on Friday, March 21, at the School of Arts and Culture at the Mexican Heritage Plaza (1700 Alum Rock Avenue, San Jose), 2:00 p.m. 
The event will be held outside the front entrance of the School of Arts and Culture at the Mexican Heritage Plaza on the corner of Alum Rock Avenue and King Road. Parking will be available at the event location and access via King Road and Eastgate Avenue. Directional signage will be available.
Bus lines served at this location: 23 and 522

Santa Clara/Alum Rock Bus Rapid Transit Project

The Santa Clara/Alum Rock Bus Rapid Transit project (SC/AR BRT, currently VTA line 522) will bring fast, convenient, and reliable transit service to the most heavily utilized transit corridor in Santa Clara County starting in 2015! The SC/AR BRT project, the first of its kind in Northern California, will connect important destinations such as Eastridge Shopping Center, the School of Arts and Culture at the Mexican Heritage Plaza, the Roosevelt Community Center, downtown San Jose, and the Diridon Caltrain Station.

After more than a decade of planning and design, the SC/AR BRT project broke ground on March 21, 2014 at the School of Arts and Culture at the Mexican Heritage Plaza in San Jose! 

Bus Stop

Since 2003, TransForm has worked with community members and organizations, businesses, VTA, and the City of San Jose to ensure the Alum Rock BRT project reflects neighborhood preferences and meets the needs of all users, including bicyclists and pedestrians. For example, in 2011, TransForm conducted an Alum Rock BRT pedestrian and bicycle injury analysis that found a disproportionate number of bicycle and pedestrian injuries in the City of San Jose located on the Alum Rock corridor. According to the analysis, youth and Latinos are much more likely to be injured compared to other groups citywide and along the corridor. These findings reinforced a Safe Routes to Transit Study TransForm conducted in 2005 in the Mayfair Community that identified traffic safety as a key community issue and found that the vast majority of residents would like slower auto traffic speeds, and more crosswalks, lighting, and bike paths.

Once the SC/AR BRT project in finalized, it will bring about a safer environment for pedestrians, including enhanced crosswalks, additional signalized crossings, and sidewalk extensions (bulb-outs) at key intersections along Alum Rock Ave. In addition, since the publication of our 2011 analysis, the City of San Jose received a grant to expand bike lanes to key streets in East San Jose, including several that run parallel and intersect with the BRT corridor, creating a safer environment for cyclists as well!


Another important stakeholder that TransForm engaged over the planning process was the small business community along Alum Rock Ave and Santa Clara Street. In 2010, TransForm conducted a survey of merchants along the corridor and found that most merchants support the SC/AR BRT project under the assumption that it will bring about more foot traffic to the area. Some concerns raised by merchants included construction and parking removal impacts, and the report provides a detailed list of policy recommendations for the City of San Jose and VTA to deal with these concerns.  

SC/AR will serve as an important case study for future BRT extensions in Silicon Valley and beyond. We look forward to working with the community, VTA, and the City of San Jose as the project progresses through final design, construction, and implementation to ensure maximum community benefits. 

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Alum Rock BRT - Current News and Actions

El Camino Corridor Bus Rapid Transit

The El Camino corridor Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project will introduce rapid transit service between HP Pavilion in Downtown San Jose to the Palo Alto Intermodal Center along The Alameda and El Camino Real. The corridor is currently served by bus lines 22 and 522 which together carry one fifth of the bus riders in Santa Clara County. The El Camino corridor BRT project will serve important destinations such as Santa Clara and Stanford Universities, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale’s government offices, downtown Mountain View and Palo Alto, and Stanford Shopping Center.

The extent to which BRT is effective, to a large degree rests on how much of the project has its own exclusive lanes so that buses can bypass traffic. Exclusive bus lanes will become even more critical in the future as our population is expected to grow considerably over the coming decades. Cities along the corridor will have an opportunity to decide whether to incorporate exclusive bus lanes, bike lanes, and pedestrian improvements within their boundaries in 2012. A more complete-street will help pave the way for the vision of The Grand Boulevard Initiative, help reduce traffic, decrease our dependence on foreign oil, help curb climate change, and reduce household transportation costs

TransForm has formed the El Camino For All Coalition with South Bay organizations, community groups, and community leaders to ensure that the proposed El Camino BRT project meets local community needs while improving conditions for all roadway users.

El Camino

BRT service along the corridor is planned to start in 2016, and funding is expected to come from a combination of Santa Clara County’s Measure A sales tax, federal funds, and a portion of funds designated for the Palo Alto Intermodal Center.

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El Camino BRT - Current News and Actions

Take action by this Friday, March 8th to support efficient, reliable, and convenient public transportation along El Camino Real!

Click here to email the VTA now!

The El Camino Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project has entered the scoping period of the environmental review process. The scoping period is an important part of the project development process because all comments made by the public are retained as part of the public record and because the responsible agency (VTA) must respond to any comments or questions raised during the process. We need to show that there is a constituency that supports world-class public transportation along El Camino Real, in particular the study of option 5 - dedicated lanes from Santa Clara to Mountain View. TransForm supports Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) along El Camino Real because it will:

What you can do:

Click here to email the VTA now!

Submit a letter or email to VTA highlighting your perspective and what you would like to see studied in the Environmental Impact Report by Friday, March 8th:

Mailing address:
VTA Environmental Programs and Resources Management,
Attn: Christina Jaworski
3331 N. First Street, Building B-2
San Jose, CA 95134

Email: ECRBRT@vta.org

Fact sheet: http://www.vta.org/brt/pdf/ecr_rt_factsheet%20091511.pdf
PPT presentation: http://www.vta.org/brt/pdf/Environmental_Scoping_Meetings.pdf
Notice of preparation: http://www.vta.org/brt/pdf/ECRBRT_NOP_012813%20Final.pdf

Attend Upcoming Public Meetings on Bringing Bus Rapid Transit & Bike/Ped Improvements to El Camino Real

Support High-Quality Rapid Transit on El Camino Real and the Alameda

The El Camino Real Rapid Transit Project spans from Palo Alto to San Jose along VTA’s most popular bus route. The project will dramatically improve bus service through the conversion of general-use lanes to bus-only lanes and street improvements for better bicycle and pedestrian access and safety. Come to one of the following public meetings to provide your input on this important project:

  • Thursday, February 21, 2013 at Santa Clara City Council Chambers at 1500 Warburton Avenue, Santa Clara, CA 95050 from 8:30 am – 10:30 am (Presentation begins at 8:45am) and from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm (Presentation begins at 5:45 pm).
  • Thursday, February 28, 2013 at Mountain View City Council Chambers 500 Castro Street, Second Floor Mountain View, CA 94041 from 8:30 am – 10:30 am (Presentation begins at 8:45am) and from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm (Presentation begins at 5:45 pm)

Please contact Chris Lepe, TransForm's Community Planner  in Silicon Valley, to find out about upcoming Bus Rapid Transit meetings and other opportunities to get involved.

Stevens Creek Corridor

The Stevens Creek corridor Bus Rapid Transit project (523) will travel between east San Jose and downtown San Jose to De Anza College in Cupertino along San Carlos Street and Stevens Creek Boulevard. The 523 will bring rapid transit service to an area that is only served by local bus service but carries one out of every ten bus riders in Santa Clara County.


The Stevens Creek Rapid will serve important destinations such as Valley Fair and Cupertino Square malls, Santana Row, and the City of Cupertino’s government offices.

Rapid Transit service on Stevens Creek Blvd and San Carlos St will occur in three phases. VTA plans to introduce the 323 limited stop bus in October 2012, followed by the first phase of BRT in 2014 which will likely contain a combination of limited stop service, headway based schedules, and signal priority. The final phase of the BRT project will include transit stations with ample shelter and seating, real time bus arrival information, level-boarding platforms, ticket vending machines, and other amenities, plus bus only lanes and pedestrian improvements.

Construction of the Stevens Creek Rapid is expected to be completed in 2017. The majority of the funding for the project is expected to come from Santa Clara County’s Measure A sales tax and Prop 1B state funds.

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Stevens Creek BRT - Current News and Actions

A Map of Proposed South Bay BRT

View Santa Clara County Proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Corridors in a larger map

Merchant Perspectives on Bus Rapid Transit

Survey results from San Jose’s Alum Rock Corridor
Resource Type: 
Year Published: 
Chris Lepe
In the spring of 2010, TransForm surveyed 217 merchants along the Alum Rock corridor about the proposed BRT service. This report summarizes our findings.

Download the Executive Summary

Download the full report

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a set of improvements that allow buses to achieve the speed, reliability, and convenience of rail but at a much lower cost. One of the first BRT projects in the Bay Area is being planned along the Alum Rock corridor in San Jose.

In the spring of 2010, TransForm surveyed 217 merchants along the corridor about the proposed BRT service. TransForm strongly believes that merchants are critical stakeholders to involve in the planning of BRT because they have a deep understanding of the communities in which they do business, and the way that the project is designed will directly impact their businesses. TransForm’s survey examined perceived parking availability, desired corridor improvements, perspectives regarding bicycle and pedestrian safety and the proposed BRT project, preferences related to BRT station design, and other topics. The following are the key survey findings and TransForm’s recommendations to the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) and the City of San Jose.