Optimizing our Highways

Better use of existing roads can reduce traffic and advance transportation equity

Transportation in California has reached a crisis point. There is grinding congestion on our roads. Buses, vanpools, shuttles, and carpool are stuck in the same traffic when there are no carpool lanes. Even the carpool lanes are bogged down in traffic.

We know what doesn’t work because California has been doing it for years: widening highways and building new roads. This only lures more drivers onto the roads, which will ultimately worsen traffic, pollution, and all their associated problems.

TransForm has been developing and advocating for smarter alternatives for years — real solutions that can move more people with less driving. We’ve finally reached a turning point where state and local governments, agencies, and leaders seem ready to try new approaches.

We’re advancing three strategies that can optimize the use of existing infrastructure to improve mobility, equity, climate action, and health.

Regional Express (ReX) Transit Network 

Our ReX proposal, combined with one from SPUR to connect express lanes across the Bay Area, was one of six Transformative Transportation Projects chosen by MTC for study and potential inclusion in Plan Bay Area 2050.

Regional Express (ReX) Transit Network would use a seamless network of regional express lanes to create a convenient, sustainable, and affordable rapid transportation option that is faster than solo driving at peak times. Learn more. 


Equitable Congestion Pricing

Our ground-breaking report, Pricing Roads, Advancing Equity, showed how congestion pricing can dramatically advance equity, mobility, and sustainability. The report has been cited in the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and several other media outlets, and is already helping shape nascent congestion pricing plans in Los Angeles, Seattle, and Oregon.

TransForm authored an equity white paper as part of Seattle’s congestion pricing study, the first of its kind in the United States. We’re bringing a similar approach to other jurisdictions looking to implement road pricing plans that advance equity.

US-101 Mobility Action Plan (MAP) 

TransForm helped catalyze a joint effort with seven public agencies to significantly increase vehicle occupancy and reduce congestion on Highway 101 between San Jose and San Francisco. The US-101 MAP will be a comprehensive set of evidence-based strategies to improve equity, reliability, and high-capacity mobility options, and foster healthy and sustainable communities along the corridor.

We hope this approach will result in meaningful benefits for residents and commuters along the corridor and serve as a national model for an effective alternative to highway widening.

Learn More