Vision Map Purpose & Development Process


The Vision Map is a work in progress.  Its primary purpose is to be a communication tool and visualization of what the Bay Area’s transportation network could look like if the region approached planning from a network and customer perspective instead of from that of individual transit operators and transportation planning jurisdictions.  It is intended to galvanize public interest in the topic of transportation governance, planning, and investment, and help members of the public draw the connection between the poor transportation outcomes in our region and the shortcomings of our existing institutions.   Its primary purpose is not to propose a particular set of transportation improvements.

This is admittedly a difficult balance to strike and the process for creating the map has been a mixture of art and science.  While many existing reports and studies have been reviewed to develop the preliminary map and list of projects, we believe that many potentially valuable transportation projects have never been studied in depth because of not falling squarely within the mandate or boundaries of existing transportation authorities or jurisdictions.  In the process of mapping projects across the region, we aimed to create as much of an interconnected network as possible, and in the process identified several new projects that have may have never been previously studied, but which may offer significant network benefits.   

Transit Categories


Each color on the map corresponds to a different type of transit service, summarized in the table below.  Because there are no service standards for transit in the Bay Area, we had to standardize the definition all of the various types of transit in the region into a few simple categories.  Only rapid and regional lines are shown on this map; local and/or less frequent transit lines would still exist but are not displayed.

General principles used by Seamless Bay Area to develop the map

  • Create an interconnected frequent transit network

  • Maximize connections between major transit corridors, especially rail

  • Utilize existing infrastructure where possible

  • Provide transit service for a range of new growth centers throughout the region

  • Support coordination of transit service with land use

  • Create redundancy and flexibility in the network

  • Ensure local and regional networks work together in harmony; for certain corridors, allow a combination of regional and local service

 The following assumptions were are also made with respect to the Vision Map:

  • Land use will continue to evolve over time, and with an improved higher quality transit network, there will be increasing popular support for concentrating density near transit.  Existing zoning is assumed not to be static.

  • A seamless customer experience is central to the Vision Map and promoting multi-part trips on transit;  components of a seamless customer experience include:

    • Regionally integrated fare structure

    • Seamless, integrated payment options

    • Universal wayfinding, including regionally reconciled and simplified line naming, numbering, coloring, and other conventions for customer information

    • A single overarching transit brand 

    • Vastly improved information for pedestrian, bicycle, and other first mile/last mile connections throughout the region.

  • Specific new and upgraded transportation capital and service projects would eventually need to be assessed to determine the level of priority and phasing, with projects exhibiting high benefit-cost ratios generally prioritized over lower benefit-cost projects 

  • No assumptions have been made about the particular operational concept (private vs. public) for transit service or the project delivery method for capital improvements; however all corridors are assumed to be regulated by the single transportation governance entity established as part of Seamless Bay Area’s Vision.

  • Climate change and rising sea level has not specifically been taken into account, though it is assumed that any future investments would take into consideration sea level rise and potential mitigation strategies.

Questions or comments about the map? Email us at