TransForm: A Tenacious Advocate for Sustainable Transportation and Smart Land Use

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

Advocacy is a core part of our history and our ongoing work to create great, walkable communities and world-class public transportation for all.

See below for more information on our current Bay Area Transportation Advocacy, Bay Area Land Use Advocacy, and California and Federal Advocacy. Or, learn about Past TransForm Campaigns.

Bay Area Transportation Advocacy

The Bay Area deserves a world class transportation system with fast, frequent, reliable and affordable transit and safe walking and biking access to give all residents quality transportation choices. Achieving a robut transportation network will ensure access to those who need it most, help keep the Bay Area affordable for working families, give everyone more time by reducing congestion, and it will move the region forward in achieving healthier air and a protected climate.

To achieve world-class transportation in the Bay Area, TransForm is working in these priority areas:

Bay Area Land Use Advocacy

For the past 50 years, poorly planned growth has led to an almost complete reliance on cars and the loss of some of the region’s best farmland and most beautiful landscapes. The long distances between housing, services, and workplaces have left many people living in areas with grinding commutes, polluted air, and untenable transportation costs. Walkable communities near transit, with a mix of housing for all income levels, shops, offices, community facilities, and parks can make a world of difference for our health, quality of life, and environment.

TransForm’s land use advocacy focuses on two key strategies for achieving walkable neighborhoods around transit:

California and Federal Advocacy

California has adopted ground-breaking laws that call for reducing global warming pollution through changing our approach to land use, housing, and transportation. But, entrenched interests and long-held policies threaten to undermine these tremendous opportunities. TransForm is working with partners at the state-level and across the country to ensure that California and the Bay Area have the tools we need to meet our climate change goals and create world class transportation and walkable communities.

To do this, we're pursuing the following areas:

Past TransForm Campaigns

Since TransForm’s founding in 1997, we’ve made incredible strides in winning billions of dollars and groundbreaking policies that together have moved the region forward.

Learn more about past TransForm campaigns:

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

Bay Area Transportation Advocacy

The Bay Area deserves a world class transportation system with fast, frequent, reliable and affordable transit and safe routes for walking and biking. Achieving a robust network of choices will ensure that the nearly two million residents who don’t drive can meet their daily needs. A cost-effective and reliable transportation system will help to keep the Bay Area affordable for working families as they’re able to put more money in the bank, not the gas tank. Quality travel options will give everyone, including people in cars, more time by reducing congestion. And, a world-class transit system will help us all breathe cleaner air and will push back on a changing climate.

To achieve world-class transportation in the Bay Area, TransForm is pursuing these priorities:

Bay Area’s Sustainable Communities Strategy/Regional Transportation Plan—SB 375: TransForm is working with a coalition of partners to ensure that MTC’s next Regional Transportation Plan is a model of transparency, performance, equity, and that it achieves regional goals that will make the Bay Area a better place to live now and for the next 25 years.

Securing New Funds for Public Transit: TransForm is working on increasing the share of existing funds that go to transit, and to raise new funds at the local and regional level.

High Occupancy/Toll Lanes: TransForm is working to ensure that a regional High-Occupancy/Toll (HOT) lane network will expand transportation access for low-income individuals, provide greater transportation choices for all travelers, and help carpools and buses avoid congestion.

Bus Rapid Transit: TransForm is working to engage local communities in shaping Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) routes in the East Bay and South Bay to create model cost-effective, world-class transit options that may be replicated throughout the region and beyond.

For more information, contact Jeff Hobson.

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

Sustainable Communities Strategy - Bay Area

Why the SCS matters:

The final Plan Bay Area is our region’s first-ever plan for how to cut greenhouse gas emissions by reducing driving. If implemented well, Plan Bay Area can bring more affordable, walkable communities to the Bay Area while reducing greenhouse gas pollution and meeting other equity, health, and safety targets.  Click here to download a PDF showing how well the plan meets its performance targets.

TransForm worked with allies to ensure broad community input and accurate modeling were involved in every stage of the planning process.  Together, we were able to win stronger policies for transportation choices, health, and equity that will curb climate pollution and shape our region's future for decades to come. Going forward, we'll follow the implementation of the plan to make sure it lives up to that groundbreaking potential. 

Latest updates:

  • July 2013:  MTC & ABAG approved the final Plan Bay Area with a few amendments that made the plan even stronger.  Read our blog post here about the meeting and the outcomes.

  • June 2013: MTC & ABAG staff present a report to key regional agency committees summarizing what they heard during the public comment period, including preliminary recommendations. The committees and ABAG Executive Board discussed these potential changes to the draft report in their regularly scheduled meetings and made motions generally in support of staff recommendations.

  • May 2013: TransForm submits specific comments urging MTC & ABAG for a more balanced, cost-effective, and equitable express lanes, or High-Occupancy Toll (HOT), network. TransForm also releases our hot-off-the-press white paper entitled Moving People, Not Just Cars: Ensuring Choice, Equity & Innovation in MTC’s Express Lane Network. Together with over 25 ally organizations, we submit a final version of the sign-on comment letter providing policy suggestions from the EEJ Scenario to be incorporated into the final Plan Bay Area. TransForm supporters submitted 125 individual written comments and spoke at nearly every one of the nine public meetings over the past two months. Comment letters by many partner organizations and government agencies can be seen on our blog post about our final comments.

  • April 2013: TransForm's first analysis of the draft plan shows that while the draft Plan Bay Area is headed in the right direction, there are still several critical aspects of the plan that the agencies should improve to truly meet the future needs of our region. On April 30, Transform and 20 of our regional partners from various environmental, labor, health, equity, housing, and grassroots organizations submits a letter urging MTC & ABAG to incorporate of the best elements of the Equity Environment and Jobs Scenario into the Plan Bay Area.

  • March 2013: Regional agencies release draft Plan Bay Area, draft Environmental Impact Report, Equity Analysis of draft plan, and several other related documents, and schedule workshops and public hearings to gather public input.  Public comments on all documents are due in May. 
  • February 2013: OBAG success! When some counties proposed One Bay Area Grant (OBAG) criteria that failed to include affordable housing and other key criteria, TransForm and our partners around the Bay joined together to change that. Working with Greenbelt Alliance, Urban Habitat, and other allies, our successes include getting Santa Clara County to triple the importance of a city’s record in creating jobs and homes near transit – including affordable homes, and getting Alameda County to more heavily weight the benefits of affordable homes when making grant decisions.
  • September 2012: County congestion management agencies (CMAs) began developing their criteria for distributing One Bay Area Grant (OBAG) program funds, meant to support focused growth in areas well-served by public transportation. TransForm and nearly twenty other groups sent a letter to every county agency to start a dialogue about how to make sure the county's implementation of the OBAG program follows the intent of the program.

  • July 2012: Plan Bay Area moves forward with five alternative strategies for the Environmental Impact Report.

  • June 2012: The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) begin work on a Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for Plan Bay Area. TransForm submits scoping recommendations.

  • May 2012: Bay Area agencies approve preferred land use scenario and Transportation Investment Strategy. Major Milestone in the Bay Area’s Sustainable Community Strategy as well as a victory for Climate Innovative Grants.

  • April 2012: TransForm submits letter to MTC Planning committee with our Transportation Investment Strategy recomendations. 

  • February 2012: based on a revised Project Performance Assessment (PPA), TransForm recommends projects to include and exclude from the RTP. MTC adopts guidelines for using the PPA that keep a focus on performance instead of politics.

  • December 2011: When agencies analyze five different transportation-land use scenarios, NONE of them meet the greenhouse gas targets! See the agencies' analysis.

  • November 2011: MTC releases a first draft of the groundbreaking Project Performance Assessment of 80 of the largest projects being considered for inclusion in the 2013 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). (see February 2012 notes for further action!)

  • July 2011: Agencies release first draft of a One Bay Area Grant program, to use transportation funds to reward cities that do the most to plan and deliver sustainable and equitable development near transit. A program like this was one of the recommendations of TransForm's Strategic Investments for a Better Bay Area platform. See our comments on the draft program.

  • April 2011: MTC adopts "committed projects" policy that will reconsider many projects that would have previously been included without any further review. The final decision on this "committed projects policy" was much better than in previous years, even though it was not as good as we had hoped (see our blog posts for some history)

  • March 2011: Agencies release "Initial Vision Scenario" as starting point for conversations with local governments and Bay Area residents about about where new development should occur and how new long-term transportation investments can serve this new growth.

  • January 2011: Agencies adopts a strong set of performance targets.

More than any other region, the Bay Area's Sustainable Communities Strategy creates a model for other regions, and eventually other states, to emulate.


The passage of SB 375 in 2008 created an unprecedented opportunity to fundamentally change the paradigm of growth away from sprawl and towards walkable communities. The law’s centerpiece is the development of a “Sustainable Communities Strategy” (SCS), a regional blueprint for transportation, housing and land use that is focused on reducing driving and associated greenhouse gas emissions. This “SCS” incorporates the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) that TransForm has influenced many times in the past. In our region, this is called "Plan Bay Area."

TransForm successfully worked with a host of partners to make sure the region will achieve at least a 15% reduction in per-capita CO2 emissions. Combined with cleaner fuels and vehicles, this will help California meet AB 32 climate targets.

The SCS is also a chance to meet other key regional goals: providing housing for people of all incomes, improving health through more physical activity, reducing the cost of transportation, and preserving open space.

While the opportunity is tremendous, there are also daunting challenges such as:

  • a $25-plus billion shortfall just to operate and maintain our existing transit system;
  • local governments that need funds to protect open space and focus growth around our existing infrastructure; and
  • transportation models that are not sensitive to many critical strategies, like making walking or cycling safer.

The SCS contains some great tools to move our region forward - now it's time to make sure the vision becomes reality.


For more information or to get involved, contact TransForm Staff:

  • For Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco counties: Joel Ramos
  • For Santa Clara and San Mateo counties: Chris Lepe
  • For region-wide issues or Marin, Sonoma, Solano, and Napa counties: Jeff Hobson


OneBayArea Grants (OBAG)

A New Funding Approach: The OneBayArea Grant Program (OBAG)

The four-year, $320 million OneBayArea Grant (OBAG) Program is a new funding approach that better integrates the region’s federal transportation program with California’s climate law (Senate Bill 375, Steinberg, 2008) and the Sustainable Communities Strategy. Funding is targeted toward achieving local land-use and housing policies by:

  • Rewarding jurisdictions that accept housing allocations through the Regional Housing Need Allocation (RHNA) process.
  • Supporting the Sustainable Communities Strategy for the Bay Area by promoting transportation investments in Priority Development Areas (PDAs)
  • Initiating a pilot program that will support open space preservation in Priority Conservation Areas (PCA).
  • The OBAG program allows flexibility to invest in transportation categories such as Transportation for Livable Communities, bicycle and pedestrian improvements, local streets and roads preservation, and planning activities, while also providing specific funding opportunities for Safe Routes to School (SR2S) and Priority Conservation Areas.

For more information see MTC OBAG Fact Sheet.

Victory: Incorporating affordable housing into OneBayArea Grants, February 2013

Last fall, county congestion management agencies (CMAs) began developing their criteria for distributing the OneBayArea Grants, meant to support focused growth in areas well-served by public transportation.  But the counties of Santa Clara and Alameda proposed criteria that failed to include affordable housing and other key criteria, so TransForm and our partners around the Bay joined together to change that.  

Working with Greenbelt Alliance, Urban Habitat, and other allies, our successes include:

  • Santa Clara County tripled the importance of a city’s record in creating jobs and homes near transit, including affordable homes. Thanks to our efforts, the county added four new criteria categories: Jobs Density, Housing Density, Affordable Housing and/or Senior/Disabled-Serving Facilities, and Proximity to Transit Station.  You can read the full final criteria in this document, on page 187, and compare to the original criteria on page 6 of this document.
  • Alameda County more heavily weighted the benefits of affordable homes when making grant decisions.  The top two comments that county officials reported back before finalizing the criteria were "Support transportation investment in low income areas without displacing affordable housing" and "Increase the weighting given to the 'Affordable Housing Creation and Preservation' criteria."  You can read the full final criteria in this slideshow, beginning on page 31.

The Santa Clara VTA also incorporated an unusual and welcome degree of public outreach into its grantmaking with a brochure explaining the grantsand inviting residents to suggest transportation improvements in their communities.

The next step for these two counties is project selection in the spring of 2013, and TransForm will continue to meet with CMAs to keep land use issues front and center during the process. For information on our efforts and how you can help,contact Chris Lepein the South Bay or Joel Ramos in the East Bay.

RTP/SCS Platform: Strategic Investments for a Better Bay Area

The product of conversations among dozens of nonprofit advocacy groups, this “Strategic Investments for a Better Bay Area” platform is a set of policy recommendations to influence the transportation investments in “Plan Bay Area.” That's the name of the Bay Area's Regional Transportation Plan this time around, and it will be part of our region’s first Sustainable Communities Strategy. This “SCS” will be a comprehensive transportation and land use strategy to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from cars, pickups, and SUVs. This plan is happening because of California’s ground-breaking climate change legislation, SB 375.

For more information on what’s at stake, progress to date, and how to get involved in shaping Plan Bay Area, see our main page about the effort.

We are seeking organizational endorsements of this platform, to build on the work by dozens of organizations during the past several months.

What you can do

For more information, contact Jeff Hobson by email or by calling 510-740-3150 ext 312

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

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Save BART!

Keeping BART fast, reliable, and affordable

What You Can Do:

Latest Updates

  • February 27, 2014: BART Board of Directors met  to conduct their environmental review process. We urged them to consider ways to expand service to Livermore while keeping all options on the table to get the best public transportation for our precious transportation dollars, and they agreed! A robust BRT alternative will be analyzed and included among the proposals as an affordable option to choose from within the requisite Environmental Impact Study / Report. The report will be completed in 2015.  To learn more see our UPDATED blog post: "More BART trains, or better service? TransForm says both".
  • February 4, 2014: As BART Board of Directors meet this month to conduct their environmental review process, we urge them to consider ways to expand service to Livermore while keeping all options on the table to get the best public transportation for our precious transportation dollars. To learn more and take action, see our blog post: "More BART trains, or better service? TransForm says both".
  • September 12, 2013: BART Board discusses staff update on the Metro Vision process. Directors generally support direction, continue to back priorities discussed in April Metro Vision presentation.
  • June 13, 2013: BART's FY2014 budget was approved with a small amount of funding for extension studies - only $100,000 out of the full $1,600,000,000 budget - and a commitment to incorporate the studies into the Metro Vision Plan process already underway.  Get the details in our blog post "BART budget stays true to vision - mostly."
  • May 22, 2013: TransForm urges BART to focus FY2014 budget on passenger needs, maintaining and improving the existing system, rather than heedlessly promising extensions at the edges of the region. For more info, see our post "Protect BART at Upcoming Budget Hearings."
  • May 9, 2013: At initial BART budget hearing, staff presents budget and justification for it, including a chilling graph detailing how badly BART needs to invest in SoGR. Directors Fang and Mallett propose to dedicate funds to study new extensions. For details, see TransForm’s May 22 blog post.
  • May 2013: After two largely uneventful trial runs, BART is proposing to fully lift the commute-hour “blackout” for bikes. For details, see pages by the East Bay Bicycle Coalition and SF Bike Coalition and the staff proposal on the May 23 Board meeting agenda.
  • April 25, 2013: BART staff presents latest update on their “Future BART”, or "BART Metro" study process. BART Metro is a concept of making the system more flexible, with more frequent service in the core areas, and it requires a strong focus on maintaining the existing system. For more information, see the Future BART page and Future BART FAQs on BART's website.
  •  April 11, 2013: BART releases preliminary budget, showing focus on passenger service needs: new rail cars, cleaner stations, and investments in an updated train control system that can allow trains to run more frequently.
  • March 7, 2012: A BART produced video (right) highlights the system's aging fleet and states: "BART needs State and Federal support to keep one of the nations most important public transportation systems in a state of good repair." The video makes clear the tough financial facts presented to the BART Board by their staff (see reports below) on November 11, 2011.
  • March 7, 2012: TransForm releases analysis of Alameda County's proposed increase and extension of the Measure B transportation sales tax. The analysis lays out problems with the Livermore project in detail and what BART and MTC need to do to take a rational approach to keep BART fast, reliable, and affordable while also planning better service for Livermore.
  • February 9, 2012: BART Board takes several steps to protect the overall system while going forward with an alternatives analysis for a Livermore project. The Board directs staff to ensure the Livermore analysis considers a wide range of alternatives. Now BART needs to make sure it is the lead agency for the environmental review! See our blog post for details, including two letters from TransForm to the BART Board.
  • January 26, 2012: Alameda County Transportation Commission adopts a final spending plan for the proposed increase and extension of the Measure B transportation sales tax. The plan includes some funding for BART's core system and $400 million towards BART to Livermore, with language specifying that the project needs to be the most effective and efficient technology. See our Measure B page for background.
  • November 4, 2011: BART Board hears presentations by BART staff on the State of Good Repair:


Looming problems for BART

BART has huge unfunded shortfalls to maintain the existing system. Built in the 60s and 70s, it is getting old and needs major upgrades. BART cars are already packed at rush hour. The recent forward progress on the car replacement program is important. But it is only part of the story -- BART must follow up with progress on other fronts. More and more people want to ride, but BART can't handle the increase without major investment to fix it first. Without those investments, trains would move much slower and could carry as few as half as many riders at commute hours. BART needs major investments in its "State of Good Repair" (SGR).

See two presentations to the BART Board; one with details of the looming problem and another report about what could happen if the problems aren't solved.

Promised extensions will add to problems

BART already has 3 unfinished extensions on the books -- to San Jose, Oakland Airport, and Eastern Contra Costa County. BART's needs will get bigger when additional riders from new extensions get on board, . BART needs to focus on saving the existing BART system, not promising more extensions.

Livermore needs real transit solutions now, not false promises

There has been increasing pressure for BART to promise another extension to Livermore. Residents of Livermore understandably want better rapid transit connections to the BART system and key job centers, and to make connections to key destinations such as Livermore Labs, Las Positas College, and downtown Livermore. Extending BART to downtown Livermore, or the I-580 exit close to downtown, would cost over $3 billion, an amount everyone recognizes is unrealistic.

Recently, project proponents have been talking about a one-station extension, taking BART just five miles down the road to Isabel Avenue for $1.2 billion. But promising to extend BART's traditional technology to Livermore is a recipe for another decade of disappointment for Livermore, forcing the county to scramble to find money that isn't there for an overly expensive project. Further, the city wants stations in the freeway median, while BART policy describes freeway median stations as 'low quality' as they do not support transit-oriented development and degrade the riders' experience (see BART System Expansion Policy, page 19 for description of Station Context) .  BART, Livermore, and Alameda County need to focus on figuring out the most cost-effective and realistic way to connect Livermore to the BART system and job centers – in a few years instead of a few decades – taking advantage of HOV lanes recently built or coming in the next 3 years. 


Express/HOT Lanes

Express lanes, or High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes, are carpool lanes that allow solo drivers to pay to use them when there is excess capacity. TransForm is leading an effort with environmental and social justice partners to ensure that HOT lanes create more transportation choices and support access for low-income residents.

The Bay Area could have a regional roadway network with transit and high-occupancy vehicle lanes seamlessly connecting the region’s jobs centers, providing convenient and swift transit connections through the Bay Area. Planned as a transit system, one that sells excess system capacity to non-carpool vehicles, we could meet our region’s goals, the SCS targets, while providing new transportation choices. In fact, even Los Angeles is already planning such a network.

Express Lanes, particularly if done through the conversion of existing carpool and all-purpose highway lanes, may be a good step towards equitable road pricing. A HOT network focused on getting the most out of our highways through conversions of existing carpool or general purpose lanes to express lanes, enables agencies to generate net revenues sooner and prevents costly highway expansion and associated environmental impacts. This approach, "Optimized HOT," can move more people with less traffic with revenues generated to fund transit and low-income mitigations.

Through the Plan Bay Area process, we successfully advocated that our regional agencies start moving away from trying to build our way out of congestion.  MTC committed to studying innovative approaches to HOT network implementation, the first step in realizing any cost savings that could go to low-income mitigations and increased transit options. However there is a lot of devil in the details. We will need to be satisfied on a range of equity, transportation and transportation funding issues before we could support a final project.

Campaign Updates

  • February 13, 2014: At their monthly meeting, several board members of the San Mateo City/County Association of Governments (C/CAG) called for the agency to study TransForm's proposal for Optimized HOT. Three board members spoke out to say that Optimized HOT offers the potential to alleviate congestion on 101 and provide new choices to a broader range of people, all within our existing infrastructure.
  • February 10, 2014: the California Air Resources Board proposed a first update to our state's AB 32  Climate Change Scoping Plan. The revised scoping plan identifies an additional climate strategy to "improve the efficiency and throughput of existing transportation systems."  
  • February 4, 2014: A new and improved Caltrans may be on the horizon. The California State Transportation Agency released a third party assessment of Caltrans. The review offers a host of critical reforms. Caltrans' focus on old standards that favor expanding roads over all else must end. The report recommends that Caltrans avoid "inducing new demand for single occupancy vehicle (SOV) travel."
  • December 16, 2013: TransForm is proposes that San Mateo County study an innovative strategy for express lanes on Highway 101 that will make the best use of highway lanes and simultaneously fund transportation choices to truly reduce congestion.  Our new report, Innovation Required: Moving More People with Less Traffic, shows that a new approach we're calling "Optimized HOT" would move nearly twice as many people as the county's current proposal, but have less traffic for everyone.  Learn more on our blog here.
  • July 18, 2013: A little past midnight MTC and ABAG approved the following language into the final Plan Bay Area: "all project-level environmental clearances will comply with applicable requirements for environmental justice, and focused outreach will be conducted with low-income communities as part of the express lane network development and implementation. Furthermore, MTC will study the potential benefits and impacts of converting general purpose lanes to express lanes in order to inform implementation of the express lane network." 
  • June 14, 2013: In response to the public comment period, where TransForm urged MTC for a better Express Lane Network, staff presented a report that includes recommendation to study the benefits and impacts of converting general purpose lanes to Express Lanes. Such analysis would inform implementation of the network and future long-range plans. We continue to advocate for a more equitable network that includes revenues for transit.
  • May 16, 2013: Read TransForm's recently released white paper entitled Moving People, Not Just Cars: Ensuring Choice, Equity & Innovation in MTC’s Express Lane Network. At a projected cost of $6.7 billion, the proposed Network is the largest highway project and the second-largest project overall in Plan Bay Area.  We thought it merited some closer scrutiny. We’ve been concerned about MTC’s Express Lane Network for awhile. This paper goes much more in-depth to analyze the plan and provide detailed recommendations about how to improve it.
  • September 28, 2011: MTC moves forward with CTC application for Bay Area Express Lane network, seeking authorization for express lanes on 270 lane-miles of regional highways as part of a larger network. This will be a key input into the 2013 Sustainable Communities Strategy and Regional Transportation PlanTransForm releases independent analysis critiquing the plan's climate impact and lack of equity analysis. For details read our blog post here: MTC Express Lanes: Flawed Plan, Needs Public Planning.


  • TransForm's report, Innovation Required: Moving More People with Less Traffic, proposes that San Mateo County study Optimized HOT lanes as a strategy on Highway 101 that will make the best use of highway lanes, reduce traffic, and fund an expansion of public transit, vanpools, and other transit alternatives that are affordable and accessible to all. With state approval, an Optimized HOT lane network would not only address San Mateo County’s traffic problem, but also set an important model for the entire Bay Area to follow.
    • The report's accompanying infographic offers a synthesized version of the proposal. Click here to view the Optimized HOT Lanes Infographic
  • TransForm's report, World-Class Transportation for the Bay Area, outlined TransForm’s support for well-designed express lanes that invest funds generated by the lanes to expand transportation access for low-income individuals, provide greater transportation choices for all travelers in the corridor, and maintain the ability of carpools and buses to avoid congestion.
  • For more information contact Jeff Hobson.

Sign up here to receive Optimized HOT campaign updates.

Express lanes (High Occupancy Toll lanes) allow solo drivers into carpool lanes when there is space, but for a fee. TransForm is working to ensure that express lanes create more transportation choices and support access for low-income residents.


Securing New Funds

The Bay Area must raise at least $18 billion over the next 25 years just to operate and maintain our existing public transit system. Even more funding is needed for key improvements and expansions to make transit work better and serve for more people. TransForm is working with diverse sets of partners on increasing the share of existing funds that go to transit, and to raise new funds at the local and regional level.

TransForm is working to identify and pass new funding sources that would:

  • Create a significant amount of funding
  • Provide a stable and secure source of revenue
  • Be eligible for use for transit operations
  • Minimize any disproportionate financial or other impacts on vulnerable populations
  • Be winnable in the next several years

We're looking at a variety of opportunities to create new revenue for transit, including:

  • High-Occupancy/Toll (HOT) lanes, which could provide funding for transit throughout the region. To learn more, contact Jeff Hobson
  • Several options surfacing to save Caltrain, which is facing massive cuts despite growing ridership. While Caltrain, county agencies, and MTC are scrambling to craft a short-term fix, long-term cuts are looming. TransForm is collaborating with Friends of Caltrain, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group's Save Caltrain effort, and others. To learn more, contact Chris Lepe.
  • A new regional funding measure to support transit, affordable housing, and open space in order to implement the Bay Area's Sustainable Communities Strategy.
  • State policy reforms to increase state-level investments in transit and provide communities and regions with more tools for establishing additional local and regional funding sources.

The passage of Proposition 26 in 2010 makes it tremendously difficult to create new streams of funding for transportation through impact and pollution mitigation fees. TransForm’s Sacramento team is working with diverse stakeholders to figure out just what this means for future Bay Area efforts to generate new funding.


MTC’s 2009 Annual Report provides details about the dismal state of transportation funding in the Bay Area.

Read about the critical connection between transit funding and the potential for transit oriented development in TransForm's article for the Federal Reserve Bank

TransForm has been successful in shaping and passing literally billions in new transportation funding in the Bay Area. Learn about some of our past successful funding campaigns.

For more information, contact Jeff Hobson.

Transit Sustainability Project

The Bay Area’s transit operators, transportation funding and policy agencies, and stakeholders like TransForm are coming together to address the dire reality facing public transit—there’s not enough funding to sustain the system that exists, not to mention expand service to meet growing demands or support regional goals of providing more choices for more people.

The MTC-led Transit Sustainability Study is possibly the best opportunity to move forward on making the existing system work better and identifying ways to stabilize costs and service. TransForm is one of six public interest organizations that MTC invited to sit on their Transit Sustainability Steering Committee.

TransForm is working with partners from the social justice, business, and labor community to shape the Transit Sustainability Study so that it provides a useful, implementable plan that will significantly improve Bay Area transit service, making it more reliable, cost-effective, and will stabilize costs and service. 

The outcomes of the Transit Sustainability Study will feed into the Bay Area’s 2013 Sustainable Communities Strategy and Regional Transportation Plan.


MTC's page on the Transit Sustainability Study.

Muni's Transit Effectiveness Program and VTA's Transit Sustainability Policy provide some approaches to transit sustainability.

MTC’s Transit Connectivity Plan identified a host of strategies to improve transit riders’ experience in using multiple transit systems.

For more information, contact Jeff Hobson.

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

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:

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:
  • 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:

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.
  • 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. 

Learn more and get engaged

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.

Learn more and get engaged

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


Fact sheet:
PPT presentation:
Notice of preparation:

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.

Learn more and get engaged

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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.

Bay Area Health in Transportation Collaborative (BAHT)

Safe Routes to School Bay Area Region LOGO

Powerful New Collaboration Kicks Off in the Bay Area

TransForm and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership  kicked off a powerful new collaboration of advocates, community members, health professionals, and planning experts from across the Bay Area. 

for our email list!

Marty Martinez of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership (415) 637-6488 or Chris Lepe from TransForm at (408) 406-8074

If you want to learn about and shape key transportation decisions so they yield healthy outcomes for all, get plugged in now!

Sign up now!

Bay Area Land Use Advocacy

For the past 50 years, poorly planned growth has led to an almost complete reliance on cars and the loss of some of the region’s best farmland and most beautiful landscapes. The long distances between housing, services, and workplaces have left many people living in areas with grinding commutes, polluted air, and untenable transportation costs.

Walkable communities near transit, with a mix of housing for all income levels, shops, offices, community facilities, and parks can make a world of difference for our health, quality of life, and environment.

To achieve great walkable neighborhoods around transit TransForm's land use advocacy focuses on two key strategies:

Through the Great Communities Collaborative, TransForm is engaging people in planning for and creating great communities near transit throughout the region.

Our cutting-edge Green TRIP certification program works with developers and cities to support residential in-fill development projects that integrate comprehensive strategies to reduce traffic and greenhouse gas emissions.

For more information, contact Clarrissa Cabansagan.

California Advocacy

California Advocacy

To create world class transportation and walkable communities in the Bay Area and beyond, we need state and federal policies to support these goals. To unlock some of the barriers to success facing California, TransForm:

Leads efforts to increase funding for public transportation.

Shapes and advocates for state legislation that supports world-class public transportation and walkable communities, and to oppose efforts that work against these goals.

Helps to lead ClimatePlan, a partnership of California's leading non-profit organizations that we co-founded that is advancing policies and programs to address the relationship between land use policy and climate change at the state level.

For more information, contact Josh Stark.

Transportation Choices Campaign

KEY CAMPAIGN UPDATE: California Senate President pro tem Darrell Steinberg announces long-term strategy for investing cap-and-trade proceeds in real transportation and housing choices.

On April 14th TransForm joined California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg along with other partners and allies as he unveiled his promising long-term investment strategy for cap-and-trade auction proceeds that could begin addressing this need. SB 1156 proposes significant and sustained investments in many of the priorities TransForm and our partners in the Sustainable Communities for All Coalition have advocated for:  expanded and efficient public transit, affordable homes near transit, and increased biking and walking.

While there is room for improvement this proposal, if adopted, would represent a major increase in funding for these priorities beginning next year through 2020 and possibly beyond. TransForm will work to strengthen this bill in the weeks ahead. Click here to read a full analysis of SB 1156 on our blog.

It’s not the only proposal on the table however. Governor Brown’s January 10th budget proposal is still just as much in play as it was the day it was proposed and will play a role in this year’s plan for investing cap-and-trade auction proceeds this year as the well as years ahead. Learn more about his proposal and what we want to improve.

Uniting California to improve transportation

California has long been known as the car capital, for good reason. We drive enough that transportation is now nearly 20% of family expenses and is the largest contributor of dangerous air pollution and climate change.

But California is also a place where we value choices, health, and prosperity. And that is why Californians are embracing choices in how they get around -- demanding fast, affordable public transportation, safe walking and bicycling, shuttles and vanpools, and more.

Join with thousands of Californians to demand real transportation choices

Cap-and-Trade Funding

Cap-and-Trade: A win-win strategy to curb emissions and invest in real transportation choices


Read our response to Darrell Steinberg's long-term strategy to invest cap-and-trade auction proceeds in real transportation and housing choices.


By building strong partnerships with stakeholders throughout California, TransForm continues to be a key leader in the cap-and-trade conversation.

Although California cities have ambitious plans to expand public transportation, biking and walking infrastructure, affordable homes near transit, and urban green space to reduce greenhouse gases, they face billions of dollars in funding shortfalls. But with revenues from the state’s landmark cap-and-trade auction projected to reach up to $5 billion annually by 2018, cap-and-trade revenues represent a significant new source of funding.
Along with our allies, TransForm developed the Sustainable Communities for All Platform to show how cap-and-trade revenues could tackle both the climate crisis as well as our state's desperate need for real transportation choices and affordable homes.  
Two major proposals are on the table to govern the allocation of cap-and-trade auction proceeds. 
On April 14th California Senate President pro tem Darrell Steinberg announced a long-term strategy for investing cap-and-trade proceeds in the form of SB 1156 that would potentially allocate billions beginning in 2015 through at least 2020 in public transit, affordable homes near transit, biking and walking, and urban parks and green space. While it needs work it is a promising proposal. Learn more about this proposal here.
The other came in January when Governor Brown unveiled his 2014 - 2015 budget proposal for investing $850 million in cap-and-trade proceeds. It includes funding for many of our transportation and housing priorities but falls short in a few areas, including the amount dedicated to investing in sustainable communities and having no funding for transit operations. Click here to read a full analysis of the Governor’s budget proposal.

Help us make sure our state's climate funds are put to work reducing greenhouse gases and investing in real transportation choices as soon as possible:

Cap-and-Transit Map

Communities throughout California are clamoring for real transportation choices to revive the economy, improve public health, and protect the environment. Our interactive map of innovative "cap-and transit" opportunities will show the statewide demand for resources to address California's transportation crisis - a demand that can be met through smart allocation of cap-and-trade auction revenues.

This month, the California Air Resources Board is holding cap-and-trade workshops around the state to hear from the public where to invest revenues from the state’s landmark greenhouse gas cap-and-trade auction. This new funding source offers an incredible opportunity to expand funding for transportation choices for California communities.  We need your help to show our leaders where communities are planning innovative transportation projects and programs to expand transit ridership, increase biking and walking, and ensuring affordable, accessible housing.

Anyone can add projects and programs to the map with just a few clicks.  Can you help us by adding a project to the map now?  Click here to get started.

Click on the markers to view the projects. Click on the project titles for more information.

Javascript is required to view this map.

Here’s how to add your own project:

  1. Click on on of the links below to add a transit project, bike project or pedestrian project
    1. Add Transit Project
    2. Add Bike Project
    3. Add Pedestrian Project
  2. Enter the title of your project under "Title."
  3. Add a description of your project in the project info section.
    1. You can add links using the   icon.
    2. You can add pictures using the image upload field (must be 200px x 75px or smaller).
  4. Use either the address fields or click a point on the map to add a location.
  5. Click "save"
  6. Projects may take 5-10 minutes to appear on the map!

Click here to see a list of all the submitted projects

State Advocacy Blog

To the relief of those who care about the people of California, and the future of the planet, Caltrans has a dramatically new mission.  
The old “Caltrans Improves Mobility Across California” mission statement often put it on a path of destruction, literally.  Just look at their decision to destroy over 300 homes and 120 commercial properties in Bakersfield for a $500 million highway connector.
But Caltrans’ new mission is great. Catalyzed by an incredibly productive critique of the agency by State Smart Transportation Initiative (SSTI), it shows Secretary Brian Kelly and Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty are ready for change.  The new Caltrans will “provide a safe, sustainable, integrated and efficient transportation...

Past Entries

Title Posted Date
Caltrans has a new Mission - here’s what we have to say about it. 04/02/2014
Report calls for radical reform of Caltrans A new report calls for dramatic changes to Caltrans 02/04/2014
Governor's new budget makes transportation and environment priorities 01/16/2014
Fifth cap-and-trade auction moves ahead today after legal affirmation Cap-and-trade auctions should fund clean transportation 11/19/2013
Transportation and equity in focus this week Transportation and Equity in the Bay Area Rapid Transit System 11/08/2013
The 2013 Legislative Season: A Mixed Bag for Transportation 11/01/2013
A win for active transportation, a win for California Kids Using Active Transit 09/27/2013
Here comes PARK(ing) Day! PARK(ing) Day in Chattanooga, TN - 2012 09/17/2013
The end (of the 2013 legislative session) is near End of the legislative session ahead 09/12/2013
Timing is critical for Safe Routes California Advocacy Day Kids participating in Safe Routes to School programs 08/15/2013
A big day ahead for state transportation policy California Homes & Jobs Act 08/06/2013
State Legislative Update: Spotlight on the CTC California Transportation Commission 07/31/2013
Getting youth on transit cuts climate pollution for an entire generation 07/23/2013
State hits pause on funding for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure 06/26/2013
State budget misses the mark on climate change and transportation 06/13/2013
Safe Routes Fellows travel to Sacramento 06/04/2013
All eyes on the conference committee for climate funding decision 06/03/2013
400 ppm and the Governor is loaning away climate funds? 05/15/2013
Impact of Advocacy Day already visible in key bill’s approval by Assembly committee 05/01/2013
Transportation Choices Summit ignites advocates to spark change 04/24/2013
CARB calls for transforming California’s transportation system – really! CARB 04/17/2013
California’s cap-and-trade program: An opportunity to invest in community health Community Health 04/09/2013
AB 1051: Assemblyman Bocanegra calls for Sustainable Communities for All Assemblymember Bocanegra 03/27/2013
On Cap-and-Trade: Together, our voices are being heard. 03/12/2013
Transportation advocates turn out in force for final cap-and-trade workshop Cap-and-Trade Hearing in Los Angeles 02/28/2013
Transportation and affordable housing take center stage at California’s first cap-and-trade workshop Jerry Brown 02/21/2013
What happened at the first auction of cap and trade 12/04/2012
Governor signs AB 1532 and SB 535... but what does cap and trade mean for public transportation? 10/26/2012
2012 Legislative Round-Up 09/04/2012
TransForm’s 2012 Ballot Initiative Endorsements 08/30/2012
Historic Vote Kicks off Real Journey for High Speed Rail 07/10/2012
Transportation Choices Summit Gets Statewide Movement Off to a Running Start 05/03/2012
Let the marathon begin: San Diego adopts California's first SCS 10/30/2011

Transportation Choices State Summit & Advocacy Day 2014

04/22/2014 10:00 am
America/Los Angeles
Regional Meeting: 
Google Map URL:

Click here to register!

2014 is a year of tremendous opportunity for California’s communities. With millions of new cap-and-trade revenues coming in, YOU have the opportunity to tell legislators how this money can and should make a difference. Join us at the Summit and optional Advocacy Day, as we learn, build networks, and work together to promote a transportation system that provides access for all, protects our environment and is the cornerstone for sustainable, equitable communities.

Monday, April 21 – Pre-Summit Mobile Bike Tours

Join us for a bicycle tour of the Sacramento region, on both sides of the river!  See how the region is transforming its streets, providing new housing options and addressing issues of sustainability. This is a great opportunity to get to know your colleagues from around the state.  Please note that tours will leave from a new location: Crocker Park, 211 O Street, Sacramento. Bikes are available to borrow or bring your own bike!  Tours are hosted by Jim Brown of the Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates (SABA). Bring your own helmet, and please arrive 15 minutes early if you will be borrowing a bike.


1:30* -- West Sacramento:  West Sacramento, the small city on the west side of the Sacramento river, is setting the bar for bike-friendly streets in the Sacramento region. With the support of a bike-positive mayor who rides everywhere and cares strongly about matters of equity, the city has developed a new bicycle master plan that includes the active development of low-car neighborhoods. 
3:30* -- Sacramento In-fill Housing: Central Sacramento is putting in new, sustainable in-fill housing, with one big problem: bike access isn't always part of the decision-making. We will visit 3 in-fill developments and discuss issues of access and connectivity with the surrounding region.
* Timing is tentative at this point and may shift by as much as 30 min.


Tuesday, April 22nd – Transportation Choices State Summit

At this year's Summit you will:

  • Connect with community leaders from your region and across the state. The Summit draws activists and community leaders from throughout California and every issue area (labor, disability rights, seniors, social justice, environment, health, bike/pedestrian, transit, and more). 
  • Hear from inspiring, innovative speakers, including Senator Kevin de León, a champion of equitable climate solutions and Kate White, the new Deputy Secretary for the California State Transportation Agency (and founder of City Carshare).
  • Learn and strategize about a huge range of topics. The day will include breakout sessions on active transportation, cap-and-trade funds, clean vehicles, affordable homes, CalTrans reform, and much more. 

Unwind and mingle at a post-Summit reception for advocates and legislative leaders, held alongside the beautiful Sacramento River and golden Tower Bridge. 

Click here to view the agenda.

Click here to learn more about our speakers.

Click here for detailed travel information.

Wednesday, April 23
rd – Transportation Choices Advocacy Day

Your voice is unique, and California’s leaders need to hear it!  Join over 100 community and organizational representatives as we walk through the Capitol building, visiting legislative offices, during the 3rd annual Transportation Choices Advocacy Day.   

  • Meet with legislators and legislative staff from around the State.
  • Speak out and tell your representatives why transportation choices are critical in your life and for the health of our State.
  • Represent your community and your region, making your voice heard in support of biking, walking, transit, and homes affordable and accessible to all!

Advocacy Day begins with an early morning workshop on both basic and advanced advocacy skills. Then we will form teams and head to meetings with legislative offices. 

The Summit will help prepare you for the Advocacy Day, but it is also possible to just attend this April 23 event.   Advocacy Day is optional.  This FREE event requires pre-registration.


Registration Fees

Summit registration is sliding scale, with rates from $25 to 100. Pay what you can afford. A limited number of $25 and $60 tickets are available -- register now!  Your registration fee covers the Summit itself, lunch, and the evening reception. The April 23rd Advocacy Day is optional, available to all, and free to participants, but advance registration is required. Click here to register.

If you are visually impaired and/or have any trouble filling out the registration form, please call Danielle Fodor at 916.706.2035 x 303 .



The generosity of our sponsors empowers regional advocates and our statewide movement through scholarships for those who would otherwise be unable to attend.  Please consider sponsoring the event todaySign up to sponsor online or contact Danielle Fodor for more details:


Thank you to our Steering Committee Members for 2014!

Bonnie Holmes-Gen, American Lung Association in California
Chanell Fletcher, Climate Plan
Chione Flegal, PolicyLink
Dave Snyder, California Bicycle Coalition
Denny Zane,  Move LA
Elyse Lowe, Move San Diego
Jeff Thom, California Council of the Blind
Josh Shaw, California Transit Association
Katelyn Roedner, Catholic Charities of Stockton
Martin Martinez, Safe Routes to Schools National Partnership
Max Baumhefner, Natural Resources Defence Council
Rebecca Saltzman, California League of Conservation Voters
Ruben Cantu, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network 
Sarah de Guia, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network
Tove Beatty, Legislative Consultant
Tracy Delaney, Public Health Alliance of Southern California
Rick Theis, TransForm Board Member
Warren Cushman, California Council for the Blind
Will Barrett, American Lung Association of California


Thank you to our generous sponsors!

Overall Support for TransForm's State Policy & Engagement ProgramFord Foundation    

Surdna Foundation     Irvine



2014 Transportation Choices State Summit Sponsors:




The California Wellness Foundation




     TCE        Silicon Valley Community Foundation

San Diego Foundation                     Policy Link




    CA Community Foundation         NRDC


     BART     Circulate SD     






       Capitol CorridorCalifornia League of Conservation Voters  Council of Infill Builders


     City CarShare       Zipcar    CPEHN

DTB Strategic Consulting



Location Title: 
Embassy Suites
100 Capitol Mall

About The Campaign

The Transportation Choices Campaign was launched in 2012 to ensure all Californians gain this access and independence through better walking, biking, public transportation, and affordable housing. Expanding transportation choices for Californians will allow us to save billions of dollars per year on transportation, invest in local jobs instead of foreign oil, and breathe healthier air and get more physically active -- all while providing access to jobs, housing and education for people of every age and income.

2013 promises tremendous opportunities, but these will only be realized if we come together: as individuals, as organizations, as communities, as California.

Our top priority is to ensure significant funding for transportation choices from California’s new program to reduce climate pollution, known as “cap-and-trade”.

We will also be working to make it easier for local governments to raise desperately needed funds by allowing voters to support more transportation choices with a 55% supermajority, instead of the current 66.67%.

For more information about the campaign and how to get involved, contact Joshua Stark, State Campaign Director.

State Legislation

Click here to sign up for updates on state legislation and our Transportation Choices Campaign.

The 2013 legislative session ended on Friday, September 13.  The Governor was asked to sign several bills that TransForm supported in this legislative session, and while results were mixed, we did see a significant victory with AB 1371 and the adoption of the Active Transportation Program. (See below for those that didn't make it through the Legislature, some of which will be considered in the 2014 legislative session.)

AB 1290 (Speaker Pérez): California Transportation Commission

This bill makes a host of changes to better align the California Transportation Commission’s structure and direction to support more integrated land use and transportation efforts, such as SB 375 implementation (click here for bill text). TransForm and NRDC have been working with a number of allies to support this important legislation.  For more information, please contact Joshua Stark, TransForm’s State Policy Director.

This bill was vetoed by the Governor.  Read the veto message.

AB 1371 (Bradford): Three-foot passing rule for bicycles

This bill would promote safety by establishing a three-foot buffer for motor vehicles passing cyclists. It has been introduced in past years only to be vetoed by the Governor (click here for bill text).

This bill was signed by the Governor on September 23, 2013.  Nearly 5,000 people emailed the Governor to urge his support for this bill.  THANK YOU to everyone who took action.

AB 1229 (Atkins): Provide local authority for affordable housing

AB 1229 would authorize the legislative local and regional governments to adopt ordinances regulating zoning and require affordable housing policies as a condition of development (click here for bill text).

AB 1229 was vetoed by the Governor.  Read the veto message.

SB 811 (Senator Lara): I-710 Corridor Improvements

This bill would require additional mitigation measures including transit, bicycle and pedestrian, and zero-emissions improvements to offset the negative impacts of the I-710 project. Unfortunately it has been watered down to require only a report to the legislature identifying mitigation measures to be undertaken as part of the EIR (click here for bill text).

This bill was vetoed by the Governor.  Read the veto message.

Bills that will be considered in 2014

The next set of bills are referred to as “two-year” bills, because they have been held by their author or a committee, and are not moving forward during the first half of the two-year session. Often, two-year status means that a bill is dead; however, there are more than a few occasions where the idea of the bill lives on in another bill number, or begins moving again during the second half of the session.

SB 391 (Desaulnier): the California Homes and Jobs Act

Our allies at Housing California are sponsoring Senator DeSaulnier’s bill, which would create thousands of jobs building affordable housing. The bill would add a $75 recording fee to non-residential real estate transactions, raising $500 million annually for state investment in affordable home production and leveraging an additional $2.78 billion in federal, local, and bank investment in homes and jobs for Californians. Check out their informative website here. TransForm supports this great bill (click here for bill language).

This bill will remain on the Assembly Appropriations Committee’s calendar while work is done to strengthen the bill and move it forward early in the new year.

AB 1330 (Speaker Pérez): Environmental Justice

This bill would address the disproportionate impacts from pollution on low income communities and communities of color in a number of ways, among them: require time for translation services not be counted as total time in public hearings; require the California EPA (Cal/EPA) to identify a list of environmental justice communities; require that fines for pollution in these areas are doubled; require that enforcement actions within these communities be prioritized; require that Cal/EPA maintain a public database of complaints and enforcement cases for each of its boards, departments and agencies.  Click here for bill language and information.

AB 1330 was held by its author and is now a two-year bill.  Read TransForm's letter of support for AB 1330.

SB 1 (Steinberg): Resurrecting redevelopment agencies

Based in large part on last year’s SB 1156, this bill is Senator Steinberg’s proposal to remake some of the powers of Redevelopment Agencies, but to streamline the process, foster cooperation between cities and counties, protect school funding, support affordable homes and refocus investment in transit-oriented areas. (Click here for bill language and information).

SB 1 was held by Senator Steinberg.

SCA 4, SCA 8, SCA 11: Empowering democracy by lowering the voter threshold

Our current system for approving local tax measures effectively gives each “no” vote the same power as two “yes” votes by requiring a two-thirds threshold (66.67%) for approval. Last November in Los Angeles, over 1.9 million voters said yes to more transportation choices but lost to the 970,000 that said no. In Alameda County the margin was even closer – over 66.5% said yes – but the measure still lost.

Many legislators recognize that, though a new, local tax measure should be popular, today’s draconian requirement simply runs counter to our democratic form of government. No fewer than seven bills currently propose lowering the voter threshold for local projects - and three of them, SCA 4(Liu), SCA 8(Corbett), and SCA 11(Hancock), would do so for transportation.

TransForm supports these efforts to empower the overwhelming majority of Californians through the democratic process.

These pieces of legislation have a longer two-year time-frame for passing and will continue to be considered going forward.

AB 431 (Assemblymember Mullin): Funding Sustainable Communities

Local governments are currently struggling to fund the implementation of SB 375, California’s landmark law which integrates land-use and transportation planning in ways that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This bill, which TransForm is co-sponsoring with our allies the Nonprofit Housing Association of Northern California and Greenbelt Alliance, would authorize Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to put before voters funding measures that implement their Sustainable Communities Strategies. As shown in our Windfall for All materials, transportation choices can save residents billions per year, and this bill empowers our local government representatives (who sit on the MPO boards) and voters by letting them decide to fund their region’s work to improve their infrastructure in effective and equitable ways (click here for bill language).

It passed out of Assembly Local Government and has become a two-year bill.

AB 1193 (Ting): Bike design flexibility

Current law requires local governments to adhere to the Highway Design Manual for bicycle design on roads. This bill would allow local governments to use bicycle designs that meet specified safety standards through means beyond those specified by the Highway Design Manual (click here for bill text).

This bill is currently in the Assembly Local Government Committee.

AB 1051 (Assemblymember Bocanegra): Directing cap-and-trade funds to transportation choices and affordable homes

Last year’s first greenhouse gas emissions auction netted the state significant revenues for fighting climate change in a new and innovative way: putting a price on greenhouse gas pollution. Companies paid the state for allowances to emit these gasses, and even the small number of allowances auctioned resulted in over $285 million in revenues.

Auction revenues must be used for projects and programs that reduce greenhouse gasses and help mitigate the impacts of climate change. With nearly 40% of our state's greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation, investments in transportation choices offers an opportunity to significantly reduce emissions while also improving health, equity, the economy and the environment.

 Assemblymember Bocanegra’s AB 1051 recognizes that bicycle and pedestrian facilities, affordable homes near transit, transit capital operations that prioritize equity and greenhouse gas emission reductions, and energy efficiency upgrades for low-income Californians are important priorities. TransForm fully supports AB 1051 (for bill text, click here).

For more ways you can help, (including talking to State leaders in-person), check out our Transportation Choices Campaign site.

AB 1051 passed through numerous Assembly committees but was then put on suspense. The budget was approved in June with a $500 million loan from cap-and-trade revenues to the general fund. Read more on our blog here.

AB 1002 (Bloom): Funding Sustainable Communities

This bill adds $6 to vehicle registration to fund programs and projects consistent with Sustainable Communities strategies.

The bill author has held this bill and intends to pursue it as a two-year bill.

AB 229 (Speaker Pérez): Funding local infrastructure

This bill authorizes “Infrastructure and revitalization finance districts” for purposes of raising funds for public infrastructure such as transportation, sewage, watersheds, libraries, child care facilities, parks, and others (click here for bill text).

The bill authors have held this bill and intend to pursue it as a two-year bill.

You can look up the latest bill information here.

SB 628 (Beall): Infrastructure Financing for Transit Priority Projects

This bill would eliminate the voter requirement for the creation of infrastructure financing districts for transit priority projects, and it would require that at least 25% of the revenues raised be used for, "increasing, improving and preserving" low- and moderate-income housing availability. 

This bill was held in the Assembly.

 AB 1179 (Bocanegra):  Regional Transportation Plan: Sustainable Communities Strategy:  School sites

This bill would require sustainable communities strategy to identify, in consultation with each local educational agency in the region, how the sustainable communities strategy may impact school enrollments and capacities and the need for new schoolsites or expansion or modernization of existing school sites. 

This bill is currently in the Assembly Local Government Committee.


Bills that are no longer relevant

SB 731 (Steinberg): CEQA reform

This bill would update the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in order to ensure this landmark environmental law continues to protect people and the environment while also adapting to the needs of our changing state.  Included are changes that would support transportation choices in urban in-fill developments, better aligning the environmental review process with long-term goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and achieving other environmental benefits through less car-centric community design. It also contains provisions to address displacement of vulnerable communities when new developments are proposed near public transportation.  Read a more complete overview of this bill on ClimatePlan's blog here.

Read a coalition letter with an overview of our principles and priorities, submitted July 19, 2013.
Read TransForm’s comment letter from September 6, 2013.

Much of SB 731 was incorporated into Senator Steinberg's SB 743, which modified CEQA while exempting the Sacramento King's arena."  Add a paragraph to AB 1194 that says, "The deal struck to create the Active Transportation Program rendered this bill no longer necessary.

AB 1194 (Ammiano, Pérez, Alejo, Levine, Pan): Safe Routes to Schools

This bill has been amended: though it still states the intentions of the State to protect the Safe Routes to Schools program, the guaranteed revenues for the program were removed. TransForm supports this effort to maintain Safe Routes to Schools (click here for bill text).

Although passing out of the Assembly with only 2 votes against it, this bill has been held by Mr. Ammiano while the Legislature and the Governor come to an agreement on the Active Transportation Program.


For more information or to get active please make sure you sign up for e-mail and follow us on Twitter or Facebook. You can always contact Josh Stark for more information.

2012 in Review

State Legislation:  2012 in Review

California’s legislature runs in two-year cycles. The final two months of this cycle – the end of legislative session in August then waiting for the Governor’s decision on several bills in September –  made for an exciting and, at times, nail-biting 60 days.  

Here is a run-down of the bills that TransForm and so many of our allies worked hard all of 2012 to pass.
These represent the nine bills TransForm dedicated the most time to, including bringing over 100 advocates for a full day of lobbying on these bills in Sacramento – reaching every office in the capitol.  
The final score? 5 signed by the Governor, 2 vetoed, and 2 failed to pass the Legislature.  

Signed by the Governor

AB 441 (Monning) – Including health and equity in regional transportation planning (a TransForm co-sponsored bill)
On September 19, Governor Brown signed AB 441 into law. This law requires the California Transportation Commission -- in their next update of the Regional Transportation Plan guidelines -- to include a summary of projects, policies and programs that successfully promote better health and health equity.
TransForm is proud to have co-sponsored this bill with CPEHN, the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, and to have worked with the bill’s author, Assemblyman Bill Monning.  Together we showed how so many of the strategies outlined in our recent report Creating Healthy Regional Transportation Plans, can provide great access for people of every age, income race and ability while making the transportation system even more efficient.  From Safe Routes to Schools to providing vanpools for migrant workers we can promote safety, reduce congestion and air pollution, and save families money.
But AB 441 is just the first step.  TransForm and many of our allies are dedicated to making healthy, safe, and efficient transportation a top priority at the local, regional and state levels.  A victory like this is important in providing real information to planners and agencies, as well as advancing our efforts to build coalitions advocating for future improvements.  This is one more step in guaranteeing "Health in All Policies".
Thank you to everyone who visited Sacramento with us or contacted the legislature or Governor.  Read the full text of the new law you helped to pass.
SB 1339 (Yee) – Expanding commuter benefits programs across the Bay Area
Governor Brown signed SB 1339 on September 30th, authorizing a pilot program through 2016 in the San Francisco Bay Area that allows the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (Air District) to jointly adopt an ordinance requiring employers with 50 or more full-time employees to offer certain employees commute benefits.  In return, these businesses receive reductions in their payroll taxes.
It is estimated that SB 1339 will save commuters up to 40% on commuting costs and save employers about 9% on payroll taxes as employers can deduct the costs of the program from their payroll tax burden.
AB 1446 (Feuer) – Extending ½ cent sales tax in L.A. County
Governor Brown signed AB 1446 into law on September 30th, authorizing the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Agency (LA Metro) to place on an LA County ballot the permanent extension of an existing county-wide ½ cent sales and use tax, which currently sunsets in 30 years. Revenue from the existing ½ cent tax, known as “Measure R,” is dedicated to construction and operation of rail, highway and bus projects in Metro’s Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), as well as local initiatives such as street and signal improvements, bicycle and pedestrian projects, and more.
Assembly Bill 1446 will give LA County voters the opportunity to extend the duration of this important local source of funding for an ambitious program of transportation infrastructure projects that will transform the Los Angeles region.  The anticipated new revenue can be bonded against to build project sooner.
“I am thrilled that with Governor Brown’s signature on AB 1446, Measure J can go before LA County voters in November,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “If we pass Measure J, we can…..complete light rail and subway projects in one decade instead of three.”
For more information please see:
AB 1532 (Pérez) & SB 535 (deLeon) – Processes for allocating carbon cap & trade auction revenue
On September 30th, Governor Brown signed AB 1532 and SB 535 into law.  These two bills set up a process and guidelines for allocating revenues collected by the state from its cap & trade carbon auction. AB 1532 develops the process, with illustrative (but not exhaustive) language around the possible uses for this revenue – specifically mentioning public transportation and housing, among others.  
SB 535 clearly states that at least 25% of cap and trade auction revenues must be spent on projects and programs that positively impact disadvantaged communities, and at least 10% of all revenues must be spent within disadvantaged communities.  Both bills help to offset the impacts of climate change and other pollutants on all Californians.
TransForm applauds the leadership of Governor Brown, Speaker Pérez, and Senator deLeon in maintaining momentum and providing clear direction for California’s future through these two laws. TransForm will continue to build support for significant funding for public transit, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, and affordable homes near transit.  Read TransForm's and allies' proposal for cap and trade auction revenue

Vetoed by the Governor

SB 1156 (Steinberg) – Establishing a Sustainable Communities Investment Authority
This bill was intended to authorize cities and counties to form Community Development and Housing Joint Powers Authorities (JPAs) for the purpose of administering ongoing economic development and affordable housing programs while reducing vehicle miles traveled.  The Governor vetoed the bill, expressing hope that he and stakeholders would work closely in the future on new proposals, “… once the winding down of redevelopment is complete and General Fund savings are achieved.”  
TransForm commends the work of Senator Steinberg and looks forward to working with our allies who helped lead on this bill such as the Natural Resources Defense Council, to support redevelopment that meets Californians’ needs and provides real transportation choices.
SB 1464 (Lowenthal) – Creating a 3-foot safety zone to protect bicyclists from motor vehicles
This was a priority bill for TransForm, and sadly vetoed by the Governor.  In his veto message, the Governor claims that the bill does not adequately protect the State from lawsuits brought by drivers who felt they must cross a double yellow line and became involved in head-on collisions or other accidents as a result.  
This concern was not brought up during the legislative session by any other interested party, including the Attorney General’s office, nor the CHP.  TransForm is greatly disappointed that bicyclists must continue to use unsafe roadways due to the Governor’s concern over lawsuits (California’s bicycle and pedestrian roadway fatalities are roughly twice the national average).

Did Not Pass the Legislature

AB 485 (Ma) – TIF for TOD
Assemblywoman Ma authored language intending to ease the use of tax increment financing (TIF) to fund transit-oriented development (TOD).  The bill would have made it easier for local governments to raise funds for TOD’s as long as they met certain requirements – such as dedicating 20% of revenues to affordable homes.  The bill met stiff resistance from the Governor’s office, and was pulled from consideration by the author.  TransForm looks forward to working with the assemblymember and the bill’s sponsor, BART, to further the important goals of this bill.
SB 1572 (Pavley) – Cap and trade auction revenue allocation for 2013
This bill would have allocated revenues from California’s first cap and trade carbon auction – scheduled for November of 2012 – to specific projects and programs.  TransForm and Housing California worked closely with senate staff and met with Senator Pavley to show the benefits of a proposal that included transit and affordable homes.  
Some of TransForm’s ideas for ensuring affordable homes near transit actually pushed the envelope on being low-traffic and thus would be able to stand up to a legal next test, were put in as part of her bill (e.g., prioritizing projects that offer free transit passes and carsharing).
The bill, which received stiff resistance, was pulled from consideration by the author.
In all, TransForm had a good year in the legislature.  The passage of AB 441, AB 1532 and SB 535, in particular, set a course for California’s transportation and urban planning and development that give us reason to be optimistic about our future.  

Need More Information?

For the most up-to-date information on the status of California bills go to

Have questions? Contact Joshua Stark, State Campaign Director.

Want to submit a piece of legislation for TransForm to take a position on? Fill out the request form.

SB 375 & ClimatePlan

SB 375's Potential for Reforming Transportation and Land Use

For the past 50 years, poorly planned growth has led to an almost complete reliance on cars and  transportation is now the largest and fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in California

California's groundbreaking 2008 law, SB 375, has created an incredible window of opportunity to reduce emissions, clean our air, reduce traffic and save families money.  

In September 2010, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) adopted greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets from transportation for each of the state's 18 major regions.  These targets are emissions reductions per capita.

Region 2020 2035
SCAG (Southern CA) 8% 13% (or more)
MTC (Bay Area) 7% 15%
SANDAG (San Diego) 7% 13%
SACOG (Sacramento) 7% 16%
San Joaquin Valley 5%

10% (to be revisited in 2012)

Now, each region is working on their strategy to implement meet these targets through Sustainable Communities Strategies (SCS's). Under SB 375, a region should achieve an SCS by aligning long-term land use blueprints, regional plans for housing all residents of all incomes, and transportation investment plans.

The first region to complete an SCS was San Diego (available as part of their SANDAG 2050 Regional Transportation Plan). TransForm's Executive Director provided strategic policy support for non-profit groups in the region, and submitted his detailed commnets to the agency: Recommendations for Improving SANDAG’s 2050 RTP and for Post-RTP Actions.   While several were accepted, such as $700 million for a Safe Routes to Transit program, the plan had a host of weaknesses. For a full assessment of San Diego's SCS please download the report, San Diego and SB 375: Lessons from California's First Sustainable Communities Strategy, by TransForm and ClimatePlan.  It includes great lessons for stakeholders in any region.

TransForm is also helping lead efforts to make the Bay Area's SCS a model for sustainability and equity.

Learn more about SB 375 and how regions throughout the state are implementing it by visiting ClimatePlan, a collaboration of environmental, social equity, health and other organizations.   TransForm co-founded, fiscally sponsors and provides programmatic support for ClimatePlan.


Download TransForm's SB 375 fact sheet.

Read TransForm's Windfall for All  report that outlines how the policies that SB 375 calls for can dramatically reduce households' costs and reduce expenses for strapped local governments at the same time as they promote healthier neighborhoods and protect our climate.

Read CARB's full report on the targets: Regional Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Targets for Automobiles and Light Trucks Pursuant to Senate Bill 375

Find out about TransForm's work to make the Bay Area's Sustainable Communities Strategy a model for the state. 

For more information, contact Stuart Cohen.

SB 375 provides an historic opportunity to create sustainable communities that reduce the amount we have to drive, clean our air and reduce costs to families.

Past Campaigns

Since TransForm’s founding in 1997, we’ve made incredible strides in winning billions of dollars and groundbreaking policies that together have moved the region forward.

Learn more about our past campaigns:

Alameda County's Measure B (2012): TransForm worked to support Measure B, which would have raised nearly $8 billion by doubling the transportation sales tax and extending it in perpetuity.

Transit Sustainability Study (2012): TransForm worked to shape MTC’s Transit Sustainability Study so that it provides a useful, implementable plan that will significantly improve Bay Area transit service, making it more reliable, cost-effective, and will stabilize costs and service.

SMART Train (2012):  Hundreds of people celebrated the groundbreaking of the Sonoma-Marin train and accompanying bike/ped pathway (SMART) on February 24, 2012.

County Vehicle Registration Fees (2010): TransForm helped shape and win new funding in counties across the region that will support a range of transportation needs.

Oakland Airport Connector (2009-2010): TransForm’s epic battle against the bloated $500 million airport connector highlighted significant issues with how regional planning is done and kicked off a call for fundamental change in how we plan transportation.

Regional Climate Initiative (2007-2010): TransForm’s regional coalition conceived of and won the creation of and funding for a host of innovative programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. This program is now funding a host of innovations such as Safe Routes to Schools, bike sharing, employer-based transportation incentives, and more.

Past Regional Transportation Plans (1998, 2001, 2005. 2009): After decades of tenacious advocacy by TransForm’s regional coalition, the Bay Area’s Regional Transportation Plan now supports many projects and programs that will make the region a better place for us all to live.

Measure VV: AC Transit Parcel Tax (2008): page coming soon: TransForm, along with environmental and social justice partners, crafted and helped to pass a parcel tax to help protect senior and youth fares in the AC Transit District.

Regional Measure 2 Bridge Toll Increase (2004) page coming soon: TransForm's regional coalition played a leading role in developing and helping pass Regional Measure 2, the one-dollar bridge toll increase to fund public transit.

Contra Costa Measure J Transportation Sales Tax (2002-2004) page coming soon: TransForm brought together 39 groups around the passage of Contra Costa County's transportation sales tax proposal, winning significant funds for a smart growth and affordable housing incentive program (the first of its kind!), plus a Safe Transportation for Children program.

Alameda County Measure B Transportation Sales Tax (1998-2000) page coming soon: TransForm brought together partners in Alameda County and won a transportation sales tax that dedicates 80% of funds to public transit, paratransit, and bicycle/pedestrian safety, and we helped pass the sales tax with an 81% vote of approval.

See a detailed history of TransForm's work since 1997.

For more information, contact Jeff Hobson.

2010 County Vehicle Registration Fees

Voters Support User Fees for Transportation

In November 2010, voters in five Bay Area counties - Alameda, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara County approved a $10 vehicle registration fee to help pay for a range of transportation purposes.  TransForm supported all of these measures, which will support a range of purposes from transit to repaving.

  • Alameda County Measure F: Yes, passed with 62% of the vote
  • Marin Measure B:Yes, passed with 62%
  • Santa Clara Measure B: Yes, passed with 52%
  • San Mateo County Measure M: Yes, passed with 54%
  • San Francisco Measure AA: Yes, passed with 59%

Similar measures failed in Sonoma and Contra Costa counties.  Sonoma County Measure W only received 42% of the vote and Measure O in Contra Costa received only 46% of the vote. 

TransForm Strongly Supports User Fees Like Vehicle Registration Fees

TransForm endorsed each of these measures and supported the passage of SB 83 in 2009, which gave counties across the state the ability to levy a $10 vehicle registration fee (VRF) to fund transportation with voter approval.  TransForm has long supported user fees, such as VRFs, as ways to pay for transportation.  In this case, vehicle owners are being asked to pay for use of and impacts on the transportation system (as compared with other mechanisms such as sales taxes).

Fees Are Likely to Withstand Legal Challenges from Proposition 26

Bay Area Vehicle Registration Fee Measures aim to create new transportation funding despite Prop 26

With regard to the Vehicle Registration Fee (VRF) initiatives supported by TransForm and passed by voters in five Bay Area counties on November 2 to fund a range of local transportation needs, it appears likely that at least some of these measures will survive potential challenges based on Prop 26.

There is no language in Prop 26 specifically regarding local fee increases enacted the same day as Prop 26.  As the courts tend to narrowly construe initiatives, it seems unlikely that a judge would read into the initiative language that voids local measures enacted on the same day.  Further, the retroactivity language in Prop 26 only appears in the section dealing with state-level fees.  Again, a court would probably be unlikely to construe the retroactivity provision as also having effect in the section of the initiative where it does not appear that deals with requirements for enacting local fees.

At least one and possibly several of the counties that ran VRF add-on initiatives included language intended to give their measure effect immediately upon the certification of the vote on November 2, whereas the default is that initiatives passed by voters are not certified and thus do not become operative until several days after the vote has been certified.  Whether this creative language inserted into one or more of the local initiatives will ultimately protect them from challenges based on Prop 26 is not certain but it at least appears to be the case that the local measures would have a decent chance of surviving potential challenges.

More Resources

Click here for a matrix that outlines how the revenues from these funds will be used in each county, and how much revenue is anticipated to be raised.

For more information, contact Manolo Gonzalez-Estay.

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

2010_vrf_summary_matrix.pdf35.1 KB

Alameda County’s Measure B 1

Alameda County's elected officials have been working to put a measure on the November 2012 ballot to ask voters to double the existing transportation sales tax, extend it forever, and approve a $7.7 Billion plan for the next 30 years of transportation spending. The stakes have never been higher for transportation in Alameda County!

Latest Updates:

  • The official campaign is now called Alameda County Measure B1 and the website is available at
  • Join the numerous groups and individuals who have endorsed Measure B1, see all of them here.
  • May 23 2012: Transform offers its support of the proposed reauthorization, increase, and extension of Alameda County’s transportation sales tax, often known as “Measure B”.  See letter of support submitted to ACTC Board. For more details please read our blog about our announcement.  
  • March 7, 2012: TransForm publishes our comprehensive analysis of the Measure B plan. For the one-page Executive Summary, see the first page of the analysis or read our blog post (which also has a link to the full analysis).
  • February 9, 2012: The BART Board passes a Motion by President McPartland to advance the proposed BART to Livermore Project to the next level of project development, including environmental review. To read the entire motion please go to the BART board meeting minutes
  • January 26, 2012: The Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC) adopted a final expenditure plan. The final plan is an improvement from where the Commission started, but it also lacks some taxpayer safeguards that TransForm and others recommended. As the plan moves forward to approvals at individual cities, TransForm will weigh the pros and cons of the full package, look for opportunities to secure the necessary safeguards in other forums, and seek input from our constituents before taking a formal position.

    We want to take a moment to thank the hundreds of people who emailed ACTC, numerous public interest groups who worked for months to improve the plan, and the elected officials who engaged in the tough work of trying to craft a solution. Working together in the coalition behind the “Community Vision Platform” is what created the pressure to make the real improvements in the plan. Thank you!

What’s next?

During February-May, ACTC will proceed to each city, the county Board of Supervisors, BART, and AC Transit to present the plan and seek the cities’ approval to place the measure on the ballot. In June or July, ACTC will ask the Board of Supervisors to officially place the measure on the ballot.

  1. Share TransForm's comprehensive analysis of the Measure B package  by pointing people to our blog post
  2. To share your comments, suggestions, and corrections about all the facts and opinions presented in our analysis, or to tell us what you think about the final spending plan and whether you plan to support Measure B in November, contact Manolo González-Estay.
  3. See here for a calendar of dates and times when ACTC will present to City Councils.

Past Meeting & Event Summaries

Thursday, January 26 ACTC Steering Committee Meeting and ACTC Board Meeting

ACTC held two meetings. First the Steering Committee took extensive public comment and discussed the TEP. Several Commissioners echoed the concerns of TransForm and others with the coalition, and Chair Mark Green accepted some small changes. The Steering Committee voted to forward the plan to the full Board, with three abstentions (Kaplan, Atkin, Harper).

Then the full ACTC Board again took extensive public comment. Several more Commissioners echoed coalition concerns. The Chair formalized two changes to the plan’s language, and the full Board voted to send the plan to the cities, with 22 votes in favor and 2 against (from Supervisor Carson who is counted for two votes).

See news coverage by the Contra Costa Times and ABC-7.

For the final version of the ACTC Transportation Expenditure Plan click here.

Tuesday, January 24 Community Vision Platform Press Conference

Several public interest groups stood together to express concerns about the expenditure plan, including speakers from the League of Women Voters, ATU Locals 192 and 1555, Urban Habitat, TransForm, Genesis, East Bay Bicycle Coalition, and Greenbelt Alliance.

Listen to what our coalition allies said: click here for a video.

See news coverage by the Contra Costa Times and a related article in the New York Times.

Friday, December 16th ACTC’s Annual Board Retreat
No vote was taken to adopt any draft, but staff were given input from Alameda Commissioners to have something ready to vote on for their January 26th meeting. Over a dozen people from our coalition showed up and spoke out in support of our Community Vision Platform, yet a majority of Board members agreed that the staff draft was getting very close to what they wanted to see in the final expenditure plan. Many speakers also showed up in support of BART to Livermore.

Much hope is being pinned on a negotiation meeting to be held with members of our coalition by an ad hoc committee of the TEP Steering committee (including Chair Mayor Green, Supervisor Haggerty, Councilmember Kaplan, Councilmember Henson, Supervisor Miley, and Councilmember Worthington). The hope is that a compromise can be reached over the things we are asking for (flexible language for Livermore to BART, a youth bus-pass program, programmatic funding for TOD, local streets and roads, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, and increased funding for transit operations that will not just MAINTAIN existing service, but will RESTORE a bit of what has been lost). 

The Board will meet again to vote on a plan on January 26th.  

Thursday, December 15th BART Board of Directors Meeting7 of 17 of the speakers (more than 1/3!) spoke out against supporting the existing draft of the TEP. No action was taken, but consensus was reached regarding the need for any language about BART to LIvermore on the 2012 ballot conveying that it is just a portion of the funding needed. BART Directors and staff also acknowledged that they do not know where the rest of the funding would come from. TransForm staff distributed suggested alternative language for a rapid transit connection for Livermore residents to the Dublin-Pleasanton BART station.



In 2000, Alameda County voters approved the second "Measure B", reauthorizing the county's ½¢ transportation sales tax through 2022 and approving a $1.4 billion spending plan. TransForm played a key role in shaping and helping to pass that measure, which received over 81% of the vote. That came after a 1998 measure failed to gain consensus support and failed at the ballot box.

Recent polls found that there is strong community support to focus spending on: saving BART from its pending fiscal crisis; expanding transit service after years of cuts; fixing local streets; keeping transit affordable, especially for youth; and fully funding the Countywide Bicycle Plan.

In early November 2011, the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC) released a "Preliminary Draft Expenditure Plan" less than 48 hours before asking their Community Advisory Working Group to comment on the plan, and without a clear explanation of the basis for the specific elements in the plan. Community response was largely negative.

Key Issues

Save BART! BART has huge unfunded shortfalls to maintain its existing system. Built in the 60s and 70s, it is getting old and needs major upgrades. BART cars are already packed at rush hour. More and more people want to ride, but BART can't handle the increase without major investment to fix it first. Without those investments, trains would move much slower and could carry as few as half as many riders at commute hours. The situation will get worse if additional riders from new extensions get on board, and there are already 3 unfinished extensions on the books. Alameda County needs to invest in saving the existing BART system, not promising more extensions. See two presentations to the BART Board; one with details of the looming problem and another report about what could happen if the problems aren't solved.

Livermore needs real transit solutions now, not false promises. Extending BART to downtown Livermore, or the I-580 exit close to downtown, would cost over $3 billion. Recently, project proponents have been talking about a one-station extension, taking BART just five miles down the road to Isabel Avenue for $1.2 billion. But promising "BART to Livermore" is a recipe for another decade of disappointment for Livermore residents, forcing the county to scramble to find money that isn't there for an overly expensive project.  ACTC, BART, and Livermore need to focus on figuring out the most cost-effective and realistic way to connect Livermore to the BART system and job centers – in a few years instead of a few decades – taking advantage of HOV lanes recently built or coming in the next 3 years. See a related article in the New York Times.

Respond to the "Measure B Community Vision Platform". TransForm signed on to a 4-page platform of recommendations (see attachment below), with details on specific funding recommendations. The platform asked the county to create a Measure B that would:

  • Fix it First
  • Help meet state and regional climate change targets
  • Improve mobility and health for all communities
  • Achieve geographic equity
  • Uphold high standards for planning
  • Protect the county from skyrocketing project costs
SAVE BART! factsheet245.96 KB
Measure B Summary Sheet116.6 KB
BART State of Good Repair Regional Impacts Report468.56 KB
BART State of Good Repair Presentation1.25 MB
InteliBART Alternatives704.96 KB
actc_calendar_of_city_presentations.pdf30.53 KB
transform_msrb_analysis.pdf173.48 KB

Oakland Airport Connector

Boondoggle moves forward, regional planning changing for the better

Imagine a world, where convenient, sustainable transportation was the norm, instead of the exception. If the Bay Area is going to simultaneously combat global-warming, create an equitable transportation system, and provide more convenient, easier to use transit, something has to change. And the Oakland Airport Connector (OAC) is a shining example of the problems our region faces.

The OAC is a $500 million dollar people mover that will average 23mph between the Oakland Coliseum BART and the Oakland Airport. It will require luggage toting passengers to navigate more escalators and walk further than the current AirBART shuttle. All while paying a likely $6 fee, on top of the regular BART fare, for the privilege. The system will require BART to take on more than $110 million in new debt, a serious risk to the core-system financial stability at BART.

While the OAC boondoggle is moving forward at a cost of over half-a-billion dollars, and growing, transit advocates changed the conversation about how planning in our region takes place. The OAC may very well stand as a monument to the balkanized transportation planning of the past. As TransForm's pivotal report shows, airport travelers and East Oakland residents would all benefit from a cheaper, quicker alternative that frees up money for other priority regional projects.

It wasn't just TransForm and our allies saying so, Steve Kinsey, Chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC)'s Programs and Allocations Committee, and took a strong stand against our region's status quo planning efforts

“We’re going to have to understand the greenhouse gas, the land use, the social equity and the transportation efficiency aspects of our investments. …(the OAC) was backward technology, not forward technology, was the loss of an economic development opportunity to a lifeline community because the stops were eliminated, and had high operating subsidies and high cost fares. All in all, over time, this is going to be a continuing challenge for BART….. we (at MTC) are going to have a harder time making decisions going forward.  We aren’t going to be able to just say it’s too big, it’s been in the pipeline so long. We’re going to have to really evaluate those things.... we cannot afford to be cost-inefficient as we go forward.”

For more information contact John Knox White.

BART and MTC are pushing forward with the Oakland Airport Connector, a project that could end up causing fare increases and/or service cuts for the rest of BART riders due to its exorbitant cost and reliance on BART accruing $150 million in new debt.

Title VI complaint filed 9-1-2009200.87 KB
Presentation to Oakland City Council on project info3.14 MB
Letter to MTC re: RapidBART report106.06 KB

Oakland Airport Connector Options Analysis

Resource Type: 
TransForm with Kittelson & Associates, Inc.
Year Published: 
This report provides an updated and expanded analysis of options for the Oakland Airport Connector. The intent of this report is to inform current discussions on the Oakland Airport Connector through a valid comparison of the four key modal options.

Download Final Report (6.5MB)
Download the four-page summary

This report providers an updated and expanded analysis of options for the Oakland Airport Connector. The options studied consist of No Action (retain existing AirBART service), Rapid Bus, Full Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), and Automated Guideway Transit (AGT). The Rapid Bus and Full BRT configurations analyzed in this report have not been studied previously and incorporate information about BRT service that was not available at the time the Final Environmental Impact Report/Final Environment Impact Statement (FEIR/FEIS) for the Oakland Airport Connector was completed in 2002. In addition, the report updates information for the No Action and AGT options based on the most up-to-date data available.

The intent of this report is to inform current discussions on the Oakland Airport Connector through a valid comparison of the four key modal options. Subsequent to the certification of the FEIR/FEIS, there has been a considerable drop in airline passenger volumes at Oakland International Airport, the shift of some flights to San Francisco International Airport, a significant reduction in projections of future airline passenger volumes at the airport, and other factors. This report uses BART's most recent passenger volume forecasts for 2013 (assumed year of project opening) and 2030, and also looks at ridership under conditions when the airport has reached the maximum number of annual passengers it can serve (approximately 30 million annual passengers). The report also uses the most up-to-date information on road conditions and analysis using BART's selected AGT option. Compared to the AGT option in the 2002 FEIR/FEIS, the AGT Project selected by BART has a top speed of 31 MPH instead of 45 MPH, has longer walk distances, and does not include the two intermediate stops.

MEDIA: Image Library

Click on any image to download print-ready art. Credit: Kittelson & Associates, Inc./TransForm

Regional Climate Initiative

First-in-the-Nation Regional Grants Program Will Fight Climate Change by Funding Innovative Strategies to Reduce Driving

After more than two years of advocacy by TransForm and our coalition partners, the Bay Area's 2009 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) included a number of our top recommendations, including: the creation of a regional program to fund innovative ways to reduce emissions from transportation

In December 2009, MTC allocated $80 million to this program for the next three years.  A portion of these funds will support Safe Routes to Schools programs in all nine counties, SFgo transit priority pilot project, education and outreach, and evalution of all programs. Also included in MTC's Transportation Climate Action Campaign is an innovative grant program.

MTC awarded initial funds for the Innovative Climate Grants program in October 2010. Grants will support:

  • New Safe Routes to Schools innovations including mobile bike repair in Alameda County, route mapping in Solano County, social marketing for the program in Marin County, and new curriculum and incentives across multiple counties.
  • A bike-sharing pilot project between San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties.
  • A shore power initiative to reduce emissions from boats serving the Port of Oakland.
  • Parking management in Berkeley commercial districts that combines pricing, GreenTRIP certification, enforcement and incentives.
  • Transportation demand management programs including dynamic ridesharing in Marin, Sonoma, and Contra Costa counties, an employer group to manage parking cash-out and Muni shuttles in San Francisco, and TDM strategies along Grand Boulevard and in Santa Rosa.
  • Clean electric vehicles for car-sharing and taxis and infrastructure to support electric vehicles.

Investing in these types of efforts is imperative so we can quickly understand what is effective at reducing vehicle travel and therefore fighting climate change.  By 2012 we will be looking to take successful approaches to scale in order to achieve significant greenhouse gas reductions as called for by California's new law, SB 375.

This program funds demonstraions that curb global warming and improve our quality of life at the same time.


Learn more about the projects funded and MTC's process.

Read more about TransForm's work to shape the Bay Area's Regional Transportation Plan.

For more information, contact Manolo Gonzalez-Estay.

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

Sonoma Marin Train Breaks Ground!

Hundreds of people celebrated the groundbreaking of the Sonoma-Marin train and accompanying bike/ped pathway (SMART) on February 24, 2012 as reported on in the Press Democrat

One of TransForm's Board members, Rick Theis, was at the celebration and took these photos:

SMART General Manager Farhad Mansourian spoke to an estimated crowd of 400 in Petaluma, CA. SMART General Manager Farhad Mansourian
The crowd stretches out along the Petaluma Station. Crowd gathers for SMART groundbreaking in Petaluma, CA
Former Sonoma County Supervisor and long-time rail advocate Bill Kortum, former Congressman Doug Bosco, Climate Protection Campaign Executive Director Ann Hancock Former Sonoma County Supervisor and long-time rail advocate Bill Kortum, former Congressman Doug Bosco, Climate Protection Campaign Executive Director Ann Hancock
Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma. "We simply can't meet our transportation needs by building roads. It's not cost-effective. It is not smart." Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma. 'We simply can't meet our transportation needs by building roads. It's not cost-effective. It is not smart.'
Steve Heminger , Executive Director of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). Steve Heminger , Executive Director of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC).
Last minute instructions on shoveling dirt from SMART General Manager Farhad Mansourian to State Senator Noreen Evans D-Santa Rosa, Congressman Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, SMART Chair Sonoma Supervisor Valerie Brown. Last minute instructions on shoveling dirt from SMART General Manager Farhad Mansourian to State Senator Noreen Evans D-Santa Rosa, Congressman Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, SMART Chair Sonoma Supervisor Valerie Brown.
Left to right: State Senator Noreen Evans D-Santa Rosa, Congressman Mike Thompson D-St. Helena, Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey D-Petaluma, SMART Chair Sonoma Count Supervisor Valerie Brown, State Senator Mark Leno D-San Francisco/Marin, Assembly Member Mike Allen D-Santa Rosa.  State Senator Noreen Evans D-Santa Rosa, Congressman Mike Thompson D-St. Helena, Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey D-Petaluma, SMART Chair Sonoma Count Supervisor Valerie Brown, State Senator Mark Leno D-San Francisco/Marin, Assembly Member Mike Allen D-Santa Rosa.
"Wow. We did it!" said Tanya Narath, center right, Executive Director of the Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy and past chair of Friends of SMART, next to SMART General Manager Farhad Mansourian, right." "Wow.  We did it." Tanya Narath, center right, Executive Director of the Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy and past chair of Friends of SMART, next to SMART General Manager Farhad Mansourian, right.

Our History in Shaping Regional Transportation Plans

Hundreds of Millions of Dollars Shifted Towards World-Class Public Transportation and Walkable Communities

Since TransForm's founding, we have worked tenaciously with our regional coalition to shape the Bay Area's Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), which is updated about every four years. Because the RTP is a $200+ billion, 25-year transportation plan it is a huge opportunity to shape the future of the nine-country region and our quality of life.

TransForm has had a dramatic impact on the Regional Transportation Plan since our founding (RTP's are updated every three to four years). We have shifted hundreds of millions of dollars towards transit services that connect low-income communities with jobs and healthcare, programs and projects that make it safer to walk and bike, and assistance to cities that focus new housing near transit.

The chart below illustrates key wins over the past five RTPs.

It All Began in 1998, When TransForm Brought Together an Unstoppable Coalition

In 1998, soon after TransForm's founding, the Bay Area's new transportation plan was proposing $10 billion in funding for highways, leaving four public transportation agencies deep in the red.

TransForm brought together diverse groups to identify solutions that would yield social, environmental, and economic benefits. Packed public hearings for the plan had testimonies from moms on welfare, long-time Sierra Club leaders, and labor union representatives all united in asking for full funding for public transportation. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission rejected their staff's proposed plan and, for the first time ever, voted unanimously for the alternative TransForm had brought together. 


Learn about our 2009 RTP campaign and wins.

Learn about our plan for the 2013 RTP and Sustainable Communities Strategy.


For more information, contact Carli Paine.

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

The 2009 Regional Transportation Plan

Results of the 2009 Regional Transportation Plan Campaign

After more than two years of advocacy by TransForm and the work of a wide range of organizations and activists, MTC took a number of important steps towards creating a region of walkable communities and world-class public transportation when they adopted the 2009 RTP. Yet, in many ways, it also came up short.

On the bright side, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission adopted specific goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing transportation affordability, and improving public health.

The 2009 RTP also included unprecedented levels of funding from uncommitted sources for: maintaining public transit; creating better transit connections between low-income communities and key destinations; walking and bicycling safety and infrastructure; promoting smart growth; and fighting climate change.

TransForm's coalition successfully won the following exciting investments:

  • Doubling funding for MTC's smart growth program: the Transportation for Livable Communities program will grow from $27 million/year to $60 million/year.
  • Doubling funding for Lifeline, MTC's program that provides improved transit for low-income communities from $300 million to $700 million.
  • Dramatically more funding for the Safe Routes to Transit program, which funds projects improving the safety and convenience of walking and bicycling to transit. MTC committed an additional $10 million/year (over and above the current $2 million/year).
  • $10 million/year for a new Safe Routes to Schools grant program. See TransForm's Bringing Safe Routes to Scale report, which was key in building support for these funds.
  • A new climate protection grant program, which includes funding for transit efficiency and public education.
  • Full funding - $1 billion - to complete the Regional Bicycle Network (with the exception of the bridges)!

But the RTP is still not what it needs to be: an outcomes-based plan. TransForm continues to watchdog MTC's allocation process to ensure that funding actually flows to the RTP's priorities. And, looking forward, even MTC recognizes that these investments, once you consider the long list of "committed" projects, are not enough to meet their adopted goals.

We deeply thank our activists and regional coalition member organizations, especially Greenbelt Alliance, the Sierra Club, Urban Habitat and the Bay Area Bicycle Coalition for their efforts. More than 100 activists and organizations helped develop the RTP platform, Fighting Climate Change and Winning a Better Bay Area, that guided our campaign.

Review a comparison of what we asked for in the platform versus what we won.

For more information, contact Manolo Gonzalez-Estay.

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

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