Connecting Communities 2019

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Transportation and housing are two of the biggest challenges facing the Bay Area. How can we meet these challenges in ways that also address climate change and social and economic inequity? This work is already underway locally, and there are inspiring lessons to be learned from other regions. Find out more about the connections between housing, transportation, climate, and equity, and what you can do to make the Bay Area and your community more just, sustainable, and livable.

These free events took place online and around the Bay Area in October and November 2019. Bookmark this page and check back for more details including additional speakers, dates and locations, and how to watch online, or just contact us.

The Connecting Communities series is produced by TransForm with an incredible team of co-hosts. We are currently seeking financial sponsorships for the series; please contact Dave Severy to learn more about perks and sponsorship levels

How is Housing Policy Climate Policy? 

Photo of a rendering housing development.

There are many different state and local policies targeting climate action, but are they overlooking the critical connections between housing and climate change? The truth is that many current housing policies work to undermine our ability to reduce transportation emissions — the biggest source of climate pollution in California. 

Come learn about these connections, and how you can help support housing policy that moves us toward climate solutions and justice.


  • Chris Jones will discuss the GHG benefits of infill housing, based on his recent studies highlighted in the Coolclimate tool and this New York Times op-ed.
  • Bruce Nilles of the Rocky Mountain Institute will discuss the importance of building electrification and linkages with housing policy. See his op-ed in the New York Times.
  • Nina Rizzo manages GreenTRIP certification at TransForm and will discuss how multi-family housing can reduce traffic, parking, and GHG emissions while improving affordability and transportation options.
  • Moderator: David Garcia, Policy Director at the Terner Center at UC Berkeley.

Co-Hosts: Urban Environmentalists, Bay Area Housing Action Coalition, SPUR

See the slides for Nina Rizzo and Chris Jones.

Watch the livestream of the event:

A More Coordinated Transit Network: Learning from other regions

Photo showing the Bay Area from an aerial or distant view in the evening

How have other regions brought fragmented, disconnected transit systems together to create a more customer-focused network? How can this make transit easier and faster for all, and create major climate and equity benefits? The Bay Area can learn from both US and international examples.

Speakers from Germany, Nordic countries, and other North American regions who have dealt with similar challenges will share what’s possible. Organizers, transit advocates, and practitioners who are daunted by the institutional change that is necessary will come away motivated and inspired.


  • Ian Griffiths - Seamless Bay Area
  • Elias Arnestrand - Nordic Innovation House
  • Wiebke Geldmacher - DB Engineering & Consulting
  • Rick Ramacier - County Connection
  • Arielle Fleisher - SPUR

Co-hosts: Seamless Bay Area, Friends of Caltrain, SPUR

Watch the livestream of the event:

Webinar: Saving Local Transit in the Bay Area and Beyond

 An Opinionated Atlas of US Transit"

Transportation is one of the biggest challenges facing the Bay Area today. To build good transit, the discussion needs to focus on what matters—quality of service, all kinds of transit riders, the role of buildings, streets and sidewalks, and, above all, getting transit in the right places.

Join Island Press and TransForm for a webinar on improving local transit in the Bay Area and beyond, part of the Connecting Communities series this fall. Christof Spieler, author of "Trains, Buses, People: An Opinionated Atlas of US Transit," will discuss how to strengthen local transit, putting the Bay Area’s challenges in context with other regions around the country. Christy Wegener of SamTrans will share what this local agency is doing to increase ridership.


  • Christof Spieler, author of "Trains, Buses, People: An Opinionated Atlas of US Transit"
  • Christy Wegener, Project Manager for the San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans)
  • Chris Lepe, Regional Policy Director, TransForm

Watch the webinar recording

APA AICP CM credits pending.

Getting Downtowns Moving with Convenient and Sustainable Access

Photo displaying people walking in downtown Walnut Creek at Broadway Plaza

Many downtowns in the Bay Area are facing some version of this challenge: Customers and workers, residents and visitors all need to be able to get downtown, and parking can be a barrier.  In this session, experts will discuss a variety of strategies to improve downtown access that also help reduce congestion and improve the environment.


  • Billy Riggs, University of San Francisco
  • Ozzy Arce, Associate Transportation Planner, City of Walnut Creek
  • Christian Hammack, City of Redwood
  • Karen Camacho, Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County
  • Steve Raney, Palo Alto Transportation Management Association

Watch the livestream of the event:

Co-hosts:  APA Emerging Planners Group and Friends of Caltrain

How Public Policy Can Improve Your Commute

In-car view of traffic on the interstate going toward downtown San Francisco

There’s a lot we can do to decrease congestion and improve commutes in the Bay Area without building expensive new roads and infrastructure. Toll lanes and other pricing strategies, carpooling and vanpools, trip caps, and employer-based programs can all make an impact. Come learn what’s already happening in the Bay Area, what’s working elsewhere, and what to watch and advocate for so commuting gets better in the future, not worse.


  • Moderator: Jessica Alba, Stanford University
  • Kim Comstock, Commuter Programs Manager for
  • Michelle Poche Flaherty, Deputy City Manager, Palo Alto
  • Peter Engel, Director of Programs for the Contra Costa Transportation Authority

Watch the livestream of the event:

Co-hosts: Association for Commuter Transportation Northern CA chapter, Prospect Silicon Valley

Webinar: How can congestion pricing advance transportation equity?

Cities around the country are starting to plan for and seriously consider congestion pricing —charging people to drive in busy places at busy times — as a remedy for traffic and climate pollution. Done wrong, congestion pricing can have a disproportionately negative impact on low-income people and communities. But done right, congestion pricing can open up exciting possibilities for transportation equity and justice.

Come learn how road pricing can advance equity, discuss the challenges and risks, hear about plans for congestion pricing in New York, DC, California, and Oregon, and strategize with other mobility justice advocates about how to steer pricing policies in the right direction.


  • Chris Lepe, TransForm
  • Caitlin Rogger, Greater Greater Washington
  • Kate Slevin, Regional Plan Association
  • Moderator: Rio Oxas, People for Mobility Justice 

Co-hosts: People for Mobility Justice, PolicyLink, TransForm

Assessing Big Transportation Ideas for the Bay Area

In an innovative region like the Bay Area, there are lots of creative ideas about how to make our transportation system more affordable, sustainable, and effective. With more than 100 ideas in the mix — including 12 public submissions from non-profits and individuals across the nine-county region — MTC is exploring how these ideas perform through the Horizon/Plan Bay Area 2050 project-level analysis to craft a long-range plan for the region.

From a next-generation regional express bus network running on highway express lanes to integrated fares and transfers across all transit systems to bicycle superhighways alongside major Bay Area freeways, we’ll dig into how these ideas and others fared. In addition to discussing the projects and their performance, we’ll hear from some of those who submitted ideas into the process and discuss where the region should go from here.


  • Presenter: Anup Tapase, MTC
  • Arielle Fleisher, SPUR
  • Chris Lepe, TransForm
  • Ian Griffiths, Seamless Bay Area

See the full Draft Project Performance Assessment

See Anup Tapase's slides

Watch the livestream of the event:

Co-hosts: TransForm, MTC, SPUR, Seamless Bay Area  

Thanks to our generous sponsors for their financial support. 

Association for Commuter Transportation Northern California Chapter
American Planning Association Northern California Chapter
Commute with Enterprise
EAH Housing
Eden Housing 
San Mateo Office of Sustainability
Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Spare the Air Resource Teams


Connecting Communities Co-Hosting organizations: