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Mobility: Walking and Biking

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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 walking or biking, this would help reduce our emissions. It would also reduce traffic, air and stormwater pollution and crashes.
  • People who live in walkable and bike-friendly neighborhoods tend to be healthier. 
  • Living in walkable and bike-friendly neighborhoods can reduce transportation costs for households.
  • 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 walking and biking, 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.
  • Adopt an ordinance and permit system to address safety and operational issues of e-scooters while facilitating their growth. The ordinance and permit system will be reviewed, and possibly updated, nine and 12 months after adoption.
  • 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

  • Develop Better Bike Plan 2025 with a focus on strategies to increase bicycle usage. 
  • Implement the Vision Zero Action Plan. 
  • Finalize design and implement the Downtown Better BikewaySJ Network. 
  • 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. 
  • Develop the Emerging Mobility Plan that specifies policies, programs and pilots the City will pursue to leverage emerging mobility options. 
  • Partner with regional agencies on cross-jurisdictional active transportation projects. 
  • Develop the Diridon Integration Station Concept plan with regional partners. 
  • Develop the Access and Mobility Plan for San José. 
  • Evaluate changes to the City’s parking requirements near transit to encourage increased biking and walking and to allow for greater densities. 
  • Expand existing public bike share system (82 existing stations, 870 bikes) to 83 stations with 1000 bikes, including dockless and electric-assist bikes. 


  • Use big data and advanced analytics to develop innovative and effective 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.
  • Prioritize active transportation projects to leverage local and regional funding opportunities.

About the data


The percentage of commute journeys by walking and cycling 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