Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

land use - planning, mode - rail


Zoning, Transportation policy, Transit boards, System expansion, Strategies, Strategic planning, Stakeholders, Sketch planning, San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District, San Francisco Bay Area, Rapid transit, Priorities, Objectives, Land use, Heavy rail transit, Goals


In 1999, the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) District Board, in California, adopted a policy creating a framework for BART system expansion that placed new emphasis on cost-effectiveness, ridership generation, multimodal access, transit-oriented development, local partnerships, and the use of appropriate transit technologies. The board directed staff to develop criteria and a detailed process for implementing these goals. The resulting expansion planning process and criteria for the BART system, adopted by the BART board in December 2002, are described along with the method used to develop the criteria and process. Some of the implementation issues that have arisen are assessed. The process uses a strategic opportunities assessment as an initial sketch-planning evaluation tool and then applies criteria and a rating system to evaluate preliminary proposals as well as project alternatives that proceed to environmental review and beyond. The rating system also indicates to local jurisdictions the kinds of access and land development that would support a BART investment. As part of the process, localities are encouraged to prepare a ridership development plan that puts in place transit-supportive plans, zoning, infrastructure, and services. Extensive consultation with the board and other stakeholders helped build understanding of the issues and solid board support for the new planning process and criteria. Application of the new process has led to transit-supportive plans and zoning changes in several local jurisdictions. Some jurisdictions are not prepared to make the land use changes needed for a "high" project rating and are considering lower-cost transit alternatives.