Governing Structures for Successful Regional Transit Coordination and Their Formation

In general, California’s public transportation infrastructure needs better regional integration in order to increase connectivity and ridership, and to meet the state’s transportation and climate objectives.  The primary goal of this project is to provide policy makers with instructive examples of governance structures for agencies charged with coordinating multiple transit agencies and modes in a single metropolitan area, enhancing service at both the local and regional levels.

In the US and California in particular, it has become increasingly evident that multiple transit agencies serving a metropolitan area need help coordinating service across the region. The existence of separate and disjointed transit agencies makes it difficult for passengers to seamlessly cross city and county lines.  In contrast, many European metropolitan areas have achieved greater levels of fare and service coordination by establishing a Regional Transit Coordinator (RTC), known as a “verkehrsverbund,” network manager, or transportation authority.  While numerous studies have explored RTCs, they have not focused on how regional governance is structured, nor the role (if any) of legislative directives.  

The proposed methodology for this study will be based on a focused literature search of topics related to regional transit coordination and governance structures. In addition, the study will explore coordinative structures in a host of cities, as well as one-on-one interviews with transit professionals from other parts of the world.  A comprehensive review of public documents–including reports, summaries and articles from each of the interviewed agencies–will be conducted.  The following research methods will be employed:

  • Focused literature analysis: Review literature on the governmental structures of Regional Transit Coordinators (RTCs). 
  • Interviews with researchers and practitioners: Conduct interviews with transit professionals that have worked for RTCs, or who have past experience researching RTCs. 
  • In-depth quantitative and qualitative case studies: Collect data that identify a range of options that respond to our research questions. 
  • Measures of performance: Document measures of case study performance--where data is available--to demonstrate that they are indeed effective at regional transit coordination. 
San José State University
Principal Investigator: 
Charles R. Rivasplata / Richard W. Lee
PI Contact Information: 

Charles R. Rivasplata, San José State University

June 2022
Impacts/Benefits of Implementation: 

This research will provide practitioners and policy makers with instructive examples of successful regional transit coordination, showcasing potential governance structures that have effectively established service integration amongst transit agencies and modes. In essence, this research will help California metropolitan areas to implement regional transit coordination. This coordination, in turn, increases the equity, efficiency, and effectiveness of transit. Such coordination would significantly benefit Californians since it enables coherent, comprehensive and seamless transit connections, providing Californians with affordable local and regional travel options. Seamless transit connections at the local and regional levels provide greater mobility and accessibility to economic and leisure opportunities especially, but not exclusively, for socioeconomically disadvantaged. It also helps reduce California's historic dependence on the automobile and its adverse environmental impacts.

Project Number: 



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