2021 Board of Directors Workshop Reference Materials
Workshop Dates and Times
To view and download the workshop agenda and presentation slides, please follow the links below:
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) is committed to building an effective, equitable, and sustainable transportation system. To meet these goals we need to build on our existing system, recover transit service, and expand the overall transportation network, all while working towards a more resilient future.
1. Building on What We Have
The transportation system needs to work. The SFMTA needs to function well and provide infrastructure that works as designed.
State of Good Repair to 3.3 Score
Investments in core transportation infrastructure results in uninterrupted, reliable transit service and more sustainable and resilient transit system for the future. This requires investments in maintenance, targeted capital improvements, improved project delivery, and increased core infrastructure funding. Ongoing investments in State of Good Repair mean the transportation network will be better equipped to accommodate growth and expansion across the network. Without funding, critical infrastructure will continue to degrade and will not be able to support expansion and will negatively affect service reliability. The current transportation infrastructure replacement backlog at $3.24 billion, with an average condition score of 3.18, a decline from 3.30 from 2016. No asset class should be below 3.0; dedicated funding must increase by $237 million per year to keep the backlog from growing. See the SFMTA State of Good Repair Report.
Subway Renewal Program (subway SGR, reliability, and CBTC)
The State of Good Repair related Subway Renewal Program will deliver comprehensive system-wide improvements targeting system vulnerabilities with a multidisciplinary dedicated delivery team looking at the function of the rail and subway system as a whole, rather than responding to specific parts or issues as they arise. This program is partial funded and requires a permanent dedicated team. This was a recommendation in the 2019 Muni Reliability Working Group. Loss of funding could compromise subway reliability.
Communication-Based Train Control System
The most complex piece of the Subway Renewal Program is addressing the aging Advanced Train Control System; frequently responsible for Muni Metro subway slowdowns. The subway needs the latest state of the art technology (Communication- Based Train Control) to reduce subway delays, enable frequent service, and deliver faster, more reliable service in subway and on surface streets. A re-doubling of effort is needed with a fully staffed team and full funding plan per 2019 Muni Reliability Working Group recommendation. Without this investment, full train control will be limited to the subway, reliant on old technology.
Customer Information System
Launched in 2001, the NextBus Customer Information System is at the end of its useful life and needs to be replaced. The Next Generation Customer Information System provides riders with more accurate and real-time information during their trip helping customers take transit to their destinations quickly and reliably. The project needs to be delivered on-time and on budget, otherwise the SFMTA will be relying on 20-year old technology.
Fleet Mid-Life Overhauls
Muni fleet mid-life vehicle overhauls increase service reliability, reduce breakdowns and reduce the cost of future more costly repairs. Priorities include ensuring that funds for this program are secured and available and that a path to long term funding sustainability is identified. While substantial funds are committed to the overhauls from the FTA, there is not enough available to complete the program.
Building Progress/Yards Modernization
Muni facilities are a key area of system vulnerability. Two maintenance yards are over 100-years old. Old technologies and designs do not support current maintenance practices. The $1.4 billion Building Progress Program has been established to upgrade these yards and other facilities. Delivery of the Muni Metro East Expansion and construction of the Potrero Yard modernization are key first projects to be delivered. The program must be fully funded to ensure safe and efficient vehicle maintenance at the yards, increase service reliability, and to provide a safe work environment for our employees.
Implement Equity Framework Phase I
The SFMTA Racial Equity Action Plan (REAP) supports the agency’s prioritization of racial equity within its workplace. This includes the hiring of the Race, Equity and Inclusion Officer and the staffing of the Office of Race, Equity, and Inclusion and well as the resources necessary to implement the commitments in the Racial Equity Action Plan Phase I. What’s needed for next 18 months?
2. Recovering and Expanding
As we build back, the SFMTA will do so equitably ensuring the transportation is safer and more accessible to those who need it most.
Muni Forward: Fast-Frequent Transit Network
The SFMTA looks to connect neighborhoods citywide, offering more frequent and reliable service along a core network of routes, protected by transit priority infrastructure. The goal is to only stop at transit stops. This would be a next step after implementing recommendations from the 2019 Muni Reliability Working Group.
Restore Muni Service
Over the course of San Francisco’s recovery, SFMTA has restored service to coincide with increase in demand and economic activity. Our ability to increase Muni service as public health restrictions are lifted depends on our ability to minimize health risk, staff availability and sufficient budget to do so. Consistent with the Muni Equity Strategy and recommendations made by the 2019 Muni Reliability Working Group, we aim to restore service with a focus on our values.
Expand Muni Service
Beyond restoring service, we envision increasing service up to 120% of Pre-COVID levels. Expanded service would be comprised of 5-Minute core service combined with cross-town and hill-top connections. Delivering expanded service requires significant investment in our operations and transit management. This initiative will be consistent with the Muni Equity Strategy, along with our sustainability and economic priorities.
Employee Development/Apprentice Programs
As the economy recovers and the City progresses through future phases of opening and beyond, we need continued investment in the future of our operations and maintenance, including growing new apprenticeship programs and hiring the hardest to fill specialized crafts and maintenance positions that require significant on-the-job training to be proficient. Additionally, we need to look for internal opportunities to provide employee development and training programs to address succession planning and ensure long-term resiliency of our workforce, operations and leadership.
Muni Forward: Legislate Temporary Transit Only Lanes
The temporary emergency transit lanes (TETLs) create dedicated transit space to facilitate higher frequency, more efficient transit service in order to support transit operations and improve the customer experience. These lanes enhance transit reliability, shorten transit travel times, and improve safety conditions in light of reduced capacity on Muni buses. As appropriate, based on evaluation of the TETL impacts, these lanes will progress through the permanent legislation process. Significant staffing resources are necessary to manage the outreach and legislative process.
Transition to Permanent Slow Streets
The Slow Streets program limits through traffic on certain residential streets and allows them to be used as shared spaces for people traveling by foot and by bicycle. The goal of the Slow Streets program is to provide more space for socially distant active transportation during the COVID-19 pandemic and make city streets more welcoming and accessible to the full array of neighborhood demographics—including children, older adults, people with disabilities and people of color. Staffing resources are required to implement and maintain Slow Streets using interim materials.
Transition to Permanent Shared Spaces
Businesses can apply for Shared Spaces, a new program for more flexible use of sidewalks, streets, and other outdoor spaces. The agency plans to adopt new city legislation to make the Shared Spaces program permanent, requiring revising program requirements and permitting that involve changes to City code and internal processes.
Vision Zero will build a safe transportation system and create a culture that prioritizes traffic safety to ensure that mistakes on our roadways don’t result in serious injuries or death. Half of the High Injury Network are low-income communities, communities of color, seniors and people who rely on walking and transit as their primary means of transportation, which are prioritized by this program. Achieving Vision Zero requires staffing a capital resources for redesigning streets, as well as an inter-departmental focus on building a culture of safety.
Secure Authorization to Use of Speed Safety Cameras
Speed safety cameras are a proven tool to slow speeds and save lives. San Francisco is working with other cities to pursue State legislation that would secure authorization to implement an equity-focused, data-driven speed safety camera pilot program. Vision Zero Action Strategy.
Legislate Protected Bikeways
Physically protected bikeways are critical to making biking and micromobility safe and comfortable options for as many people as possible.
Expand Red Light and Illegal Turn Camera Program
SFMTA uses a network of automated cameras to enforce illegal red-light running and illegal right turns. These cameras are proven tools in reducing traffic fatalities and injuries. Vision Zero Action Strategy.
Implement Equity Framework Phase II
The second phase of our Racial Equity Action Plan in 2021 will coordinate all our service and project equity efforts behind a cohesive vision and approach. We will identify gaps and new strategies in order to better deliver on our commitment to eliminating disparities and prioritizing those with the most need. An effective process and plan will require staffing for the Office of Race, Equity, and Inclusion.
3. Working Towards Resilience
Long term, we must work together to make the system socially, economically and ecologically resilient. This will involve hard choices.
Building Progress – Parking
The SFMTA’s parking assets have traditionally provided a significant and reliable revenue stream to fund the Agency’s operations. Temporary and potentially permanent disruptions caused by COVID-19 compel the SFMTA to re-think the use of its parking garages and lots and the revenue potential of these sites. The Building Progress Program, staff will be coordinating with City Real Estate and analyzing in 2021 the development potential of parking assets. These efforts will present development and revenue scenarios, with the goal of securing a stable, long-term revenue stream that will exceed the pre-COVID revenues of the garages. This development feasibility analysis will also determine whether these sites could accommodate a SFMTA office building, housing and other mixed uses within their new configuration and thereby allow the Agency to move more of its functions out of leases and into buildings under its jurisdiction.
Residential Parking Permit (RPP) Reform
Reforming the RPP Program supports the agency’s sustainability and mode-shift goals. This includes reducing the number of permits issued per household, converting RPP to Pay or Permit parking in selected neighborhoods and more closely matching the RPP permit fee to its market value. Pay or Permit Parking.
Community Facilities District
Community Facilities Districts allow the establishment of specific taxing zones to support transportation services and infrastructure. These districts allow a great deal of flexibility in where the zones are established, what the funds can be used for, and who pays and at what rate. The funds generated from the Community Facilities District can be used to finance capital improvements and support ongoing services to new infrastructure.
Sales Tax Reauthorization
The Transportation Authority anticipates the need to update the 2003 Expenditure Plan to replenish funds for ongoing programmatic categories that are running out of funds and to reflect new priorities that aren’t eligible under the 2003 Expenditure Plan, including providing seed funding for the next generation of major capital projects. Sales tax revenue is also a critical local match source to leverage federal and state revenue sources. Under the current Expenditure Plan, the agency has about $190 million in programmed, but not yet allocated sales tax through fiscal year 2023/24. That amount would increase under a new Expenditure Plan.
Parking Tax Reform
Review existing Parking Tax for reforms around tax rates, application and possible expansion to facilitate parking capacity management, congestion management, infrastructure investment and support to public transit.
Across America, cities have embraced new policies and tools to make sustainable transportation more safe, convenient, and reliable, such as dedicated bus lanes that speed up transit, protected bike lanes that separate bikes from cars, and sidewalk extensions that increase safety for people walking. With all these changes, competition for curb space is increasing. That competition results in more congestion and conflict between modes. As more people, services, and companies vie for curbside access, San Francisco needs to reimagine how this valuable space is allocated and managed. San Francisco’s limited curb space must be more flexible, dynamic, and responsive to the city’s changing transportation landscape, its diverse users, and a new era of urban growth and mobility. As manager of San Francisco’s transportation network and the vast majority of the city’s curb, the SFMTA has developed a new approach to managing the city’s limited curb space to meet the demands of today and tomorrow, and needs support to implement its Curb Management Strategy.
Congestion pricing will target a reduction of car trips downtown by 15%. It can lead to decreased traffic, increased safety, cleaner air quality, and advance equity. Fees will be used for transit improvements and increase service. Needs support for State legislative authority SFCTA Downtown Congestion Pricing Study.
SF Vehicle License Fee (VLF)
Recommended during the Transportation 2045 Taskforce, the vehicle license fee received significantly higher number of votes from Task Force members than other potential revenue sources. In 2012, Senate Bill 1492 was signed into law, allowing the City and County of San Francisco to implement at VLF increase of up to 1.35% which would bring the total VLF for vehicles registered in San Francisco to 2%, the historic level of VLF in California from 1948-2004. The VLF is an annual fee paid as part of vehicle registration, that is calculated as a percentage of the valuation of the vehicle. TT2045 estimated the Vehicle License Fee (VLF) would generate $12-73 million annually. VLF Fact Sheet.
Stable Annualized Fleet Procurements
SFMTA’s transit vehicle useful life ranges between 12 and 15 years for motor coach and trolley coach, respectively. SFMTA aims to balance replacement vehicle procurements to establish a consistent average fleet age of 6-7 years. This will require the development of a retirement strategy, that considers potential early retirement of a portion of vehicles. This will help to distribute vehicle maintenance over time – stabilize fleet performance and reliability, allow for more efficient allocation of maintenance staff resources and distributes operating and capital investment over the lifecycle of the fleet. This initiative may have upfront costs associated with scaling, however SFMTA will be better able to anticipate costs long-term. Short Range Transit Plan.
The SFMTA has partnered with WSP to produce a Battery Electric Bus Fleet and Facility Transition Plan, and to assist in producing a Zero Emission Bus Rollout Plan as required by CARB’s Innovative Clean Transit legislation. Over the last year, the in-depth analysis has focused on the logistics and cost of transitioning the SFMTA’s 6 bus facilities to accommodate BEB, and on knitting together the Building Progress facility capital rebuild program with the infrastructure transition required by the BEB conversion. In parallel, the SFMTA Transit Division continues to plan for the BEB bus pilot program. In 2021, the MTA Board will be presented the CARB Zero Emission Bus Rollout Plan along with a detailed explanation of the massive effort that will be required for a successful transition, and the critical need for dedicated capital facility funding streams to support this ambitious legislative push.
Expanding micromobilty services and access is a critical part of providing sustainable transportation options during San Francisco's transportation recovery. While services are largely provided by private operators, fully realizing the public policy benefits of micromobility require additional SFMTA investment. That is, we can get a basic system for free by taking what the private sector gives us. But a world-class system that fully aligns with San Francisco values requires significant SFMTA investment (e.g., staff time on planning and outreach, data analysis and monitoring, subsidize low-income memberships, etc). SFMTA's expectations for micromobility need to align with our level of investment.
ConnectSF Transit Vision
ConnectSF is developing a program of major transit capital investments aimed at preserving and expanding transit where we have the greatest capacity, repair, and equity needs. Recommended investments include: 1) bus priority investments across the City to improve speeds and reliability while reducing operating costs; 2) improvements to existing surface rail and subway infrastructure to bring the heavily used parts of our system into good repair while expanding their capacity and effectiveness; and 3) in the few locations where surface transit cannot provide enough capacity, new underground rail such as a Geary subway, linking to regional investments such as a future new transbay rail crossing. These investment priorities would feed into the expenditure plan for future revenue measures.