Transit Leap

Transit Leap could create a complete network of fast, high-capacity, high-frequency transit services that connect major residential areas with employment centers and attractions throughout the San Diego region. Transit Leap services could connect to supporting Flexible Fleets in Mobility Hubs. New high-speed services — covering longer distances with limited stops— may be separated from vehicle traffic with bridges, tunnels, or dedicated lanes. Improvements to existing transit services—such as the Trolley, COASTER, SPRINTER, and Rapid—may include additional rail tracks, more frequent service, dedicated transit lanes, and traffic signal priority to keep transit moving quickly.

Download an informational flier about the Transit Leap (English | Español).
View the 5 Big Moves glossary of terms (English | Español). 

Future transit services build upon what we have today. Developed in collaboration with regional transit operators North County Transit District and Metropolitan Transit System, the proposed Transit Leap network provides practical transit choices that are viable alternatives to driving for most trips along Complete Corridor highways. The primary service types include:

  • Commuter Rail / Every 5–10 min. all day
    High-speed trains that serve longer regional trips.
  • Light Rail / Every 10 min. all day
    New tram services and improved light rail services with higher frequencies, expanded service times, and faster travel times.
  • Next Gen Rapid / Every 10 min. all day
    Faster and more reliable Rapid bus service with more comfortable, high-tech vehicles.
  • Local bus and microtransit services complete the Transit Leap network.
  • Special transit projects, such as connecting a Central Mobility Hub to the San Diego International Airport, would help people travel beyond the region for business or pleasure.

What are some key features?

  • High-speed transit

    New high-speed transit lines with higher frequency and capacity could connect major employment and residential centers. 

  • Expanded service times

    More frequent service that starts earlier and runs later would be more convenient and serve more riders. 

  • Transit priority

    Shorter travel times and more reliable service could result from the addition of dedicated lanes, signal priority during peak travel hours, and bridges and tunnels that provide grade-separated routes.

  • Better integration

    Improved integration with other services would enable more closely timed connections with minimal transfers.

  • Transition to electric or alternative fuels
    New and existing services could transition to electric power or alternative fuels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

How could the San Diego region benefit?

  • Reduced congestion
    Investing in new transit and improving the convenience of existing services can increase transit ridership.
  • Faster transit travel times
    New and enhanced high-speed services, along with better connections to other services like local buses and Flexible Fleets, would provide options that are competitive with driving.
  • Improved air quality
    When people who otherwise drive alone choose transit instead, vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions will decline.
  • Economic benefits
    Transit investments yield a two-toone economic return while helping generate income for local businesses, workers, and neighborhoods. A shift to transit can reduce household transportation costs.
  • Reduced demand for parking
    Increased transit ridership reduces the need for parking. As a result, parking lots and spots can be repurposed for other forms of public use, including affordable housing, high-occupancy vehicle and bike lanes, and wider sidewalks.
  • More equitable access
    A more robust, reliable, and faster transit network would help create more equitable access to jobs, education, and healthcare. Reduced or subsidized fare programs can help ensure equitable access to services.

What are industry experts saying about Transit Leap? 

On July 10, 2019, SANDAG hosted a webinar to unpack the Transit Leap with industry experts Katie Chalmers from King County Metro and Ben Porritt from Virgin Trains. View the webinar recording and learn how a variety of transit services, from high-speed transit to autonomous buses, can work together to provide fast, reliable, personalized, and efficient transit choices. Closed captions are available in English and Spanish. 

View responses to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) from this webinar and learn more about the 5 Big Moves webinar series.

How have other regions benefited from Transit Leap features? 

  • Following continued investment in bus and light rail service that offer riders frequent and reliable travel options, the greater Seattle area led the nation’s highest growth in people choosing transit, adding 4.7 million trips in 2017 to reach an all-time record of 191.7 million trips. Only 25% of morning commuters to downtown Seattle now report that they drive alone; the other 75% take buses and trains, vanpool, bike, walk, or telecommute, according to the 2017 Commute Seattle survey.

  • Opened in 2018, high-speed train services along Florida’s east coast reduced travel time between Miami and Tampa by up to 50%. The 30-minute train ride between Miami and Fort Lauderdale can take up to one hour by car, and the 60-minute train service between Miami and West Palm Beach can take up to two hours by car.