Transportation Planning and Studies

The Life of a Plan fact sheet imageThe goal of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority is to provide a community-minded, proactive voice for transportation planning and management in San Francisco, and create a sustainable vision for the City's future transportation needs. We provide project oversight for many transportation improvements, and lead studies for future projects identified in the San Francisco Transportation Plan. We also work with multiple agencies to coordinate efforts on other transportation enhancements citywide and within the region.

The Transportation Authority develops transportation plans to improve access and safety for everyone. Those plans range from transformational infrastructure projects to smaller, neighborhood-scale efforts. While every plan is unique, download The Life of a Transportation Plan PDF to learn about some of the major elements that go into every plan.

See Project Oversight and Projects and Studies for details on specific projects.

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The 2013 San Francisco Transportation Plan (SFTP) is the City’s 30-year plan to identify goals, needs, and investment priorities for our transportation system. It will help shape the next generation of transportation projects and enhancements to improve the way people travel in and around San Francisco.

The first plan (the Countywide Transportation Plan) was adopted by the Authority Board in July 2004, and established the City's investment strategy and policy initiatives for the sector through a technical and community-based planning process. Today the city faces many challenges—how best to grow chief among them. The decisions that we make today about investing in our transportation system will have a significant effect on helping to maintain San Francisco’s vitality and quality of life well into the future. The SFTP update will guide our city's investment strategy, and input into key regional and statewide planning efforts, so that we can preserve the city's livability, and improve mobility and accessibility in ways that keep San Francisco vibrant.


The Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) is a 25-year plan that establishes the nine-county Bay Area region’s vision for transportation with supporting policies and investment strategies, including a list of specific projects and programs. Inclusion of projects and programs in the RTP is a prerequisite for receiving state and federal transportation grants, as well as a requirement for expanding projects that may have air quality impacts. In July 2013, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) adopted Plan Bay Area. Plan Bay Area is the first RTP subject to the requirements of California Senate Bill 375, which requires the RTP to be much more tightly woven with regional housing, jobs, and land use projections via inclusion of a Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS). Together, the RTP and SCS in Plan Bay Area form a long-range plan that demonstrates how the transportation network and land use development can work together to reduce GHG emissions and create more complete, livable, sustainable communities with sufficient affordable housing, more transportation choices, and easier access to vital services and amenities, such as public transit, shopping, schools, parks, recreation, health care, and more. Plan Bay Area is the successor to Transportation 2035, the long-range plan adopted by MTC in 2009. The Transportation Authority coordinated San Francisco’s inputs into the 2013 RTP.

Among other initiatives Plan Bay Area:

  • Provides a strategy for meeting 80 percent of the region’s future housing needs in Priority Development Areas (PDAs) around the region (see more information on San Francisco PDAs).
  • Commits over $14.5 billion through 2040 to MTC’s OneBayArea Grant Program to help achieve better integration of transportation and housing at a local scale
  • Specifies that nearly 87 percent of the anticipated $292 billion in federal, state, and local funds received through 2040 will be spent to maintain and operation the existing transportation network to preserve a state of good repair
  • Adds approximately $800 million through 2040 in discretionary funding for MTC’s Lifeline Transportation Program that addresses the mobility and accessibility needs of seniors, persons with disabilities, and residents in low-income communities throughout the region
  • Creates a new $500 million Transit Performance Initiative grant program

Other wins for San Francisco in Plan Bay Area included:

  • Seven San Francisco projects were included in the list of the 13 highest-performing projects in the region
  • The downtown extension of Caltrain and Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit were named as new regional FTA New Starts and Small Starts priorities

The 2017 RTP update process, known as Plan Bay Area 2040, is now underway. For Plan Bay Area 2040, MTC and ABAG have asked the SFCTA to set San Francisco’s project priorities. As such, the SFCTA is managing the Plan Bay Area 2040: San Francisco Call for Projects. Input to Plan Bay Area 2040 will be based on input from agency and public stakeholders and the SFCTA’s 2013 San Francisco Transportation Plan (SFTP). We are also working to update the SFTP, with this call for projects serving as the first phase of this update.