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Transit Sustainability Policy (TSP)

In February of 2007, the VTA Board of Directors adopted the Transit Sustainability Policy, which states:

It is the policy of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) to have an efficient transit system that is responsive to market needs, seeks the highest and best use of funds, obtains maximum benefit for each dollar spent, increases transit usage per capita, and enhances Santa Clara Valley’s environment and quality of life. Accordingly, all potential transit projects and services will undergo a study prior to funding approvals to understand the full range of alternatives available for providing service, the costs and benefits, and the effects proposed services will have on system ridership and operations.

The Transit Sustainability Policy (TSP) is a ridership-based policy that provides a framework for the efficient and effective expenditure of transit funds, and for realizing the highest return on investment in terms of public good and ridership productivity. It is intended to assist the Board of Directors with its decision-making process by making available the most complete information possible regarding options, cost, benefits, and trade-offs of various transit projects and service proposals prior to a selection of mode and funding decisions. The TSP was developed to help deliver successful, cost-effective projects and services, not to screen out particular services, projects or modes. It provides a common process for improving transit service that can be applied to any project or service regardless of mode or location. Moreover, the TSP provides a methodology for developing partnerships with local governments and for engaging them in the planning, design, delivery and long-term success of the transit system.  Lastly, the TSP is designed to work toward achieving the Board-adopted goal of a systemwide farebox recovery ratio of 20-25%, as well as the TSP goals and core principles discussed in the attached report.

  • TSP (PDF 289 KB)


The Service Design Guidelines (SDG) were developed as a supplement to the Transit Sustainability Policy  (TSP) process to evaluate, design, implement and monitor VTA transit services. The guidelines provide linkage between local support of transit service, construction and operational feasibility, overall operational efficiency and ridership. They outline the conditions and provide a roadmap of the actions necessary to effectively operate all modes of transit service available in Santa Clara County from Community Bus to Heavy Rail (e.g., Caltrain and future BART) systems.

Download the Service Design Guidelines by chapter below
SDG Modal Summary (PDF 2MB)
SDG Community Bus (PDF 1.5MB)
SDG Local Bus (PDF 2.7MB)
SDG Express Service (PDF 734 KB)
SDG BRT Service (PDF 13MB)
SDG Light Rail Service (PDF 2.4MB)
SDG Station Area (PDF 1.1 KB)