San Jose and Silicon Valley: Follow our VTA “Next Network” Project

VTA3One of our big projects this year is a Transit Ridership Improvement Program for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, which serves San Jose and Silicon Valley in California.  A key piece of that will be the “Next Network,” to be implemented in 2017 with the opening of the BART extension into San Jose.  The Next Network is about more than accommodating BART.  It’s also a chance for citizens to help the agency think about its network design priorities.

I’m happy to announce that the project website is now live, and that our first report, called a Choices Report, can be downloaded here.

A Choices Report is our preferred term for what is often called, tediously, an “existing conditions” report.  (Has anyone ever looked forward to reading about “existing conditions”?)  The report does cover existing conditions — the performance of the transit service in relation to the markets it serves — but with an eye toward revealing insights that lead to a better understanding of the real choices an agency faces.

The Choices Report will form the background for a series of three network alternatives that will be shared with the public over the summer.  The whole point of those alternatives is to encourage you to think about different paths VTA could take.  A final network plan is expected near the end of this year, to be implemented when BART opens in July 2017.

The public conversation in this project is not a thing we do on the side.  It’s the whole point of the study.  We need robust public participation in this project to help sift the alternatives and make sure we’re heading in a direction that the community can support.  So please, if you live in the region, bookmark the project page, and watch for updates there and here.

2 Responses to San Jose and Silicon Valley: Follow our VTA “Next Network” Project

  1. Ming Iu March 23, 2016 at 8:52 am #

    At a minimum, your report should also acknowledge the effect of private transit. Many of the employers in Silicon Valley, most notably Google, but also Facebook, Stanford, Apple, and others all offer very extensive private transit services. There’s also a small fleet of free shuttles operated as part of Caltrain, AC Transit, etc. In some areas, the service offered by private buses is several orders of magnitude greater than the service offered by public transit.

    I doubt that there’s anything useful that your report can say about those services, since the companies involved are notoriously secretive and are mostly outside the jurisdiction of local government, but your report should acknowledge their presence at least.

    It would be a amazing if you could actually measure the scale of private transit and assess the willingness of the companies involved to support public transit instead, but that’s probably a pipe dream.

  2. Thomas Yiu February 12, 2017 at 9:52 pm #

    Thank you Jarrett for helping us in Santa Clara Valley who have endured poor transit service for many years. For several years, out of ideology rather than practicality, I chose to take VTA to work, thereby increasing my one-way 10 mile commute from 30 minutes (even with traffic) to 1 hour 15 minutes, even though I literally live next to a “high frequency route” bus stop and my work is also next to a medium frequency stop.

    I got the Human Transit book and became an avid reader of your blog for awhile, thereby learning all the basic best practices for good transit planning, and seeing how none of it was applied where I lived. I came to Portland a couple times and could only marvel at how well done transit is over there, and secretly wished that you would help us.

    After my child was born, it simply became infeasible to take transit anymore, so I stopped taking VTA for a couple years, and only today did I find out about the Next Network revamp. I was blown away by what I’m seeing. All the biggest complaints I had about the network, they were addressed perfectly. Having read your book, I knew you were behind all this even before I saw “Jarrett Walker Associates” on the draft map. Thank you so much! You’re a godsend to us. Lately I have been worrying more about the increasing traffic congestion in my work commute, and I can see how the new network can really do some relieve. For me at least, I can now take VTA to work with a single ride (as opposed to 2 transfers with current network) and I know there are tons of folks who live and work near me.