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Comprehensive Transportation Projects

Urban Area Transit Strategy

SANDAG is working to craft a new vision for public transit as part of its 2050 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). This vision of creating a world-class transit system is taking shape now, as SANDAG develops the Urban Area Transit Strategy, an innovative transit network within the San Diego region.

The goals of the transit strategy are twofold: first, maximize transit ridership in the greater urbanized area of the region; and second, test the role of the transit network to reduce vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions. The second goal will help SANDAG comply with Senate Bill 375, which mandates that Metropolitan Planning Organizations develop a Sustainable Communities Strategy to align their transportation, housing, and regional land-use plans with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Earlier this year, three distinct network alternatives (see below) were developed to test the advantages and disadvantages of different transit approaches. The alternatives varied in geographic coverage, mode, and other characteristics, and were informed by the projected housing and employment densities for the year 2050. The advantages and disadvantages of each network alternative were then reviewed, and now, based on the performance of the networks and public feedback, staff has prepared a 'hybrid' uncontrained network, incorporating a combination of elements from each alternative.

This recent report to the SANDAG Board of Directors summarizes the status of the project and discusses the transit goals for key corridors within the Urban Area. Below is a subway style map of the 'hybrid' unconstrained transit network.

Hybrid Transit MapHybrid Unconstrained Transit Map

This network alternative improves the current transit network in communities that already have strong transit/land use integration, establishes 10-minute all-day frequencies on most local bus routes, expands high-frequency Rapid Bus services into smart growth areas, interconnects the most urbanized areas to major employment areas, and emphasizes improvements to the pedestrian and biking environment around station areas. Here are more detailed transit maps for North County, Mid-County, and South County.

Take a few minutes and tell us what you think of the hybrid unconstrained transit scenario. We welcome your thoughts. Please e-mail your comments to Staff will use routes included in the hybrid map to develop several revenue-constrained transit scenarios for discussion this fall.

Below are descriptions and conceptual sketches of the three initial transit network alternatives. Also available below are the initial maps and an earlier report to the SANDAG Board of Directors.


Transit PropensityTransit Propensity (Initial Alternative #1)

This network alternative focused on increasing transit service in areas where there is already transit infrastructure in place and a high rate of transit use. These are the region’s most urbanized areas and feature many interconnecting streets in close proximity to each other, which makes providing transit services easier. Major investments included streetcars/circulators, expanded light rail, and enhanced bike and pedestrian access.


Commuter Point-to-PointCommuter Point-to-Point (Initial Alternative #2)

This network alternative focused on making the work commute faster and more efficient. A system of few transfers provides high speed, reliable commute options during peak periods. Major investments included managed freeway lanes with in-line stations, park and ride lots, new fixed guideways, and some rail expansion.



Many CentersMany Centers (Initial Alternative #3)

This network alternative supported San Diego’s local commitments to smart growth and consisted of a transit system serving the region’s larger-scale smart growth areas and major activity centers. Transit services were oriented toward these defined transit centers and supported with frequent connections between the centers. Major investments circulators included expanded light rail, enhanced transit centers, shuttles and streetcars connecting to the transit centers, and enhanced bike and pedestrian access.


Initial Maps

Urban Area Transit Strategy Study Area
Transit Service Definitions

Transit Propensity - Subway-style Map
Transit Propensity - Regional Scale
Transit Propensity - North County
Transit Propensity - Mid County
Transit Propensity - South County
Transit Propensity Network Characteristics

Commuter Point-to-Point - Subway-style Map
Commuter Point-to-Point - Regional Scale
Commuter Point-to-Point - North County
Commuter Point-to-Point - Mid County
Commuter Point-to-Point - South County
Commuter Point-to-Point Network Characteristics

Many Centers - Subway-style Map
Many Centers - Regional Scale
Many Centers - North County
Many Centers - Mid County
Many Centers - South County
Many Centers Network Characteristics