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Mobility: Public Transit

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Why is this a Climate Smart indicator?

  • Transportation creates most of our city’s greenhouse gas emissions. If more people commute by public transit, this would help reduce our emissions. It would also reduce traffic, air and stormwater pollution and crashes.
  • One of our Bold Goals is to reduce the number of drive-alone commute trips to only 40 percent of all commute trips by 2040. This is only achievable if other ways of commuting, such as public transit, become more common.

What is the City doing to make progress on this indicator?


  • Adopt the San José Complete Streets Design Standards & Guidelines, describing a vision and best available practices for designing streets that are comfortable, safe and welcoming for all modes of travel.
  • Adopt the Transportation Analysis Policy to shift the focus of developments’ transportation improvements to pedestrian, bicycle and transit facilities.
  • Implement the Sustainable Commute Incentive Pilot program to test the effectiveness of various incentive strategies for reducing drive-alone automobile trips.
  • Implement the Smart Moves San José program that encourages residents to increase their walking, biking and public transit trips. Outcomes from this program are now being evaluated.
  • Adopt the Vision Zero Action Plan and Quick Build team. 

In Progress / Ongoing

  • Implement the Vision Zero Action Plan.  
  • Advance long-range transit projects that serve growth areas by developing plans and implementing them in conjunction with the VTA and other cities. 
  • Promote Transit Oriented Developments (TOD) through implementation of the Envision San José 2040 General Plan and urban village plans. 
  • Develop Multi-modal transportation improvement plans (MTIPs) for multi-modal focus areas such as Berryessa BART, The Western Urban Villages, and the urban villages around the future 28th St./ Little Portugal BART station. 
  • Partner with regional agencies on regional transportation solutions. 
  • Develop the Diridon Integration Station Concept plan with regional partners.  
  • Develop the Access and Mobility Plan for San José. 
  • Evaluate changes to parking requirements near transit to encourage increased use of public transit and to allow for greater densities.


  • Use big data and advanced analytics to develop innovative transport solutions.
  • Evaluate changes to the City’s Transportation Demand Management requirements.


  • Consider increasing minimum acceptable densities so that land resources are not locked in to low-density patterns of development.
  • Regulate to get the most benefits from autonomous vehicles (AVs) by making driving alone in AVs more expensive.
  • Explore discounted or free transit for students, seniors and lower income residents.

About the data


The percentage of commute journeys by public transit was obtained from the American Community Survey, a yearly survey providing detailed population and housing information including commuting data: where people work (including working from home), when their trip starts, how they get there, and how long their trip takes. The data shown here come from 5-year estimates for Commuting Characteristics by Sex.


Margins of Error (MOE) are provided for every American Community Survey estimate. MOEs measure the possible variation of the estimate around the population value, with a confidence level defined by the Census Bureau (standard – 90 percent). Due to the nature of San José’s incorporated boundary and overlapping ZIP codes with other cities, there may be data inaccuracies, but these would not significantly impact the data presented here.

Last updated

March 2020