One of our big projects this year is a Transit Ridership Improvement Program for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, which serves San Jose and Silicon Valley in California. A key piece of that will be the “Next Network,” to be implemented in 2017 with the opening of the BART extension into San Jose. The Next Network is about more than accommodating BART. It’s also a chance for citizens to help the agency think about its network design priorities.
I’m happy to announce that the project website is now live, and that our first report, called a Choices Report, can be downloaded here.
A Choices Report is our preferred term for what is often called, tediously, an “existing conditions” report. (Has anyone ever looked forward to reading about “existing conditions”?) The report does cover existing conditions — the performance of the transit service in relation to the markets it serves — but with an eye toward revealing insights that lead to a better understanding of the real choices an agency faces.
The Choices Report will form the background for a series of three network alternatives that will be shared with the public over the summer. The whole point of those alternatives is to encourage you to think about different paths VTA could take. A final network plan is expected near the end of this year, to be implemented when BART opens in July 2017.
The public conversation in this project is not a thing we do on the side. It’s the whole point of the study. We need robust public participation in this project to help sift the alternatives and make sure we’re heading in a direction that the community can support. So please, if you live in the region, bookmark the project page, and watch for updates there and here.