Waterfront Transportation Assessment

Project Introduction


Project overview

The Waterfront Transportation Assessment (WTA) was a San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) led transportation and land use planning effort that began in late 2012.  Wrapped up in Summer 2015, the WTA was conceived as a evaluation that focused on the comprehensive transportation network, in response to a series of similarly timed major development proposals along the waterfront, all which will depend on a safe and reliable transportation system to sustain them. The WTA included both qualitative and quantitative analyses.  It incorporated extensive stakeholder outreach, and entailed regular citywide and regional coordination.

The WTA was a comprehensive planning process through which the SFMTA worked in close partnership the Planning Department, the Port, the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, the community, and development sponsors. In addition to being led by stakeholder input, the WTA was also guided by key city policies and lessons learned from past planning efforts.

Phase 1: Transportation Goals & Strategies

Phase 1 of WTA looked at the transportation network along the entire waterfront to understand how the study area is served by all modes, to identify existing deficiencies, and to conceive of strategies that could would serve current needs and address future demand.  It was governed by key city transportation policies that have been developed as part of multiple local and regional plans, including the San Francisco General Plan, the Central Waterfront Area / East SoMa Plan, the San Francisco Transportation Plan, the Port of San Francisco Waterfront Land Use Plan, the MTC Transportation 2035 Plan, the BART Strategic Plan, the WETA Transition Plan, the Caltrain Strategic Plan, and the BCDC Strategic Plan.

It was guided by past planning projects, particularly the 34th America’s Cup People Plan, that set a precedent for transportation preparedness response to the episodic nature of waterfront destinations. The success of the People Plan in facilitating continuous multimodal transportation connections and preventing confusion and gridlock during one of the busiest event times in San Francisco was due namely to its transparent planning process, intradepartmental and regional coordination, and strategic multimodal transportation planning.

Phase 2: Transportation Needs & Solutions Analysis

Phase 2 was established to evaluate the transportation shortfalls in the waterfront transportation network, and to identify solutions to manage current and serve future transportation demand. The technical analysis was completed using advanced modeling tools by the SFCTA and their consultant. Phase 2 utilized a technical approach using travel demand corridors in San Francisco and regionally to identify a more holistic understanding of the root causes to transportation challenges in the waterfront. Understanding the root causes, allowed the WTA team to recommend transportation solutions. 

The WTA's technical analysis (Phase 2) asked: 

What would it take for the city to accommodate forecast increase in trips in 25 years in the SoMa/Mission Bay/Central Waterfront (Study Area)?

And it offered 3 answers:

  1. Continue to develop and implement localized network improvements 
  2. Advocate for full funding for critical transit capacity investments 
  3. Pursue next steps to define promising new infrastructure and policy



The Assessment:


  • Developed smart partnerships with community stakeholders, local and regional transportation providers and project sponsors;
  • Used lessons from America’s Cup;
  • Considered timing of key planned transportation improvements;
  • Developed preliminary Transportation Strategies in advance of major Project EIRs; and
  • Conducted technical analysis to understand current and future demand, and to make recommendations to respond to that demand.

Some of the Waterfront Transportation Assessment's "Strategies to Solutions" include:

Relevant local & regional trasnportation planning:

Community outreach:

The Assessment included extensive outreach to stakeholders throughout the city in the form of transportation meetings, workshops, presentations and an Open House.

Between 2011 and 2012, the SFMTA collected feedback from the community on transportation to create the “People Plan” for the America’s Cup event. The feedback from America's Cup translated into the initial outreach for the Waterfront Transportation Assessment kick-off meeting on October 30, 2012.  Since that meeting, the Waterfront Transportation Assesssment led and/or attended dozens of meetings with community stakeholders, development project stakeholders, advisory committees, advocacy groups, neighborhood and businsess associations, and homeowners associations.  

Please view past project meetings.

​Major Projects (partial list)

  1. Golden State Warriors’ Arena - Mission Bay
  2. SWL 337 & Pier 48 - Mission Rock
  3. Pier 70

Our Partners

Our primary coordination and communications include a host of partnerships with community stakeholders, local and regional transportation providers and project sponsors. This list includes the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, The Port of San Francisco, The Planning Department, BART, Caltrain, WETA, MTC and various other community and project development partners.

For More Information

Project Status
  1. Planning