Pedestrian Program

Walking is the most fundamental form of transportation and is a vital for transit access.

VTA’s Pedestrian Program works to make walking a safer, more comfortable option for Santa Clara County residents and visitors. A safe and comfortable walking environment is important for everyone, but particularly important for transit riders and people with mobility impairments.

The Pedestrian Program supports walking through countywide planning, development of pedestrian design guidelines and best practices, and focused studies.

In Santa Clara County, 71 percent of VTA transit customers walk to their...

Walking is the most fundamental form of transportation and is a vital for transit access.

VTA’s Pedestrian Program works to make walking a safer, more comfortable option for Santa Clara County residents and visitors. A safe and comfortable walking environment is important for everyone, but particularly important for transit riders and people with mobility impairments.

The Pedestrian Program supports walking through countywide planning, development of pedestrian design guidelines and best practices, and focused studies.

In Santa Clara County, 71 percent of VTA transit customers walk to their bus stop or light rail station. To fully support walking and transit as viable, everyday modes of transportation, it is important to have a safe, high-quality, pedestrian network, connected at the regional level by transit.

VTA efforts have focused on developing design guidelines for vibrant, safe, comfortable pedestrian environments. The VTA Pedestrian Program will take a greater role in planning for and funding specific pedestrian infrastructure projects, including pedestrian bridges and tunnels, and pedestrian access to transit.

Guidelines and Manuals

VTA has developed two manuals that assist local agencies in designing high-quality pedestrian environments.

  1. Pedestrian Technical Guidelines (2003). In 2003, VTA adopted the Pedestrian Technical Guidelines, which provide cities and the County with guidance around planning and designing great pedestrian spaces
  2. Community Design and Transportation Manual of Best Practices for Integrating Transportation and Land Use (2003). This manual presents guidelines for local jurisdictions to use when planning for and designing new development and redevelopment near transit. It includes guidelines for designing vibrant pedestrian spaces that support transit. This manual is supported by the Community Design and Transportation Program, which is a competitive grant program that funds the design and construction of transit-and pedestrian-friendly projects in the vicinity of transit facilities, and core areas such as downtowns.

In addition to these guidelines that directly relate to walking, VTA has developed several studies and plans that address components of the pedestrian environment, particularly pedestrian access to transit. These include Community-Based Transportation Plans, Transit Center Studies, and the in-progress Transit Waiting Environments Study.

Pedestrian Access to Transit Plan

The Pedestrian Access to Transit Plan (the Plan) is the first-ever look at pedestrian conditions for VTA’s customers in Santa Clara County and is one component of a larger effort to strengthen and expand VTA's pedestrian program. VTA’s on-board passenger surveys show that a majority of VTA customers walk to their transit stops. The safety and quality of the walk to the transit stop is as important as the ride itself and it could potentially increase the transit usage and ridership in the county.

The Plan was adopted by the VTA Board of Directors in fall 2017 Pedestrial Access to Transit Plan-Final

Summary of the Plan

The Plan identifies twelve Focus Areas in Santa Clara County- areas with high VTA bus ridership and high need for pedestrian infrastructure improvements- and 165 capital projects that can improve pedestrian access to transit in these Focus Areas. 

Access the online interactive map that shows location and description of the 165 proposed projects.

The Plan also prioritizes the 165 proposed projects and describes implementation goals and objectives that will guide VTA staff actions over the next several years. While the responsibility for implementing most projects lies with local agencies, the Plan identifies a handful of projects for VTA to take a more proactive role in advancing. Also, this plan provides the foundation for a continual effort to improve access to transit through VTA’s service area.

Community Involvement

During the planning process, VTA worked with community members and stakeholders to identify projects. VTA convened a Task Force whose members represented different stakeholder groups, including transportation advocacy groups, transit riders, seniors, people with disabilities, and academics. The Task Force also included staff from the City of San Jose and the Santa Clara County Roads and Airports Department. The Task Force provided input into the overall plan approach, outreach strategies, criteria used to identify Focus Areas, and proposed projects.

In summer 2015, VTA asked customers how their walk to the bus or train could be improved. VTA distributed mail-in surveys on several bus routes, advertised an online survey, and provided printed surveys at the Downtown Customer Service Center. Materials were provided in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese. VTA received over 400 responses, which were used to guide project recommendations. View responses on this online map.

Staff updated several VTA committees throughout the Plan, including Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, Committee for Transportation Mobility & Accessibility and Technical Advisory Committee. 

2018 Analysis of Criteria

Staff updated the geographic analysis done for the Plan with 2018 data. The updated analysis could be used by Member Agencies, developers, various VTA’s departments to inform the pedestrian improvement needs around a land use development project or a capitol project. Access the online interactive map of 2018 Analysis.