California Department of Transportation

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What is the California BusPool Project

image of Metro Rapid bus

The California BusPool Project is a statewide project designed to increase the number of express bus commuters in California's six major metropolitan areas.

The BusPool Project is being undertaken by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). It will identify and help to implement improvements to Park & Ride and High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) facilities used by express buses in the targeted metropolitan areas.

Why is this Project Necessary?

The use of express buses to bring commuters to their destinations via HOV lanes has been proven highly effective in California - moving large numbers of people through congested urban areas. However, some improvements are needed to Park & Ride lots and HOV facilities to make operation of a statewide express bus system more efficient.

Caltrans administers more than 350 Park & Ride lots. The majority is located near freeways with HOV lanes. Many of these lots are used primarily by carpools and vanpools - they were not designed to accommodate express buses. Other lots are located inconveniently for expedient express bus operations.

There are over 1100 miles of HOV lanes throughout the state. Improvements to California’s HOV lanes and Park & Ride lots are needed for greater utilization by express buses.


Dealing with Congestion

collage image of Park-n-Ride & HOV facilities

Population and job growth in and around California’s six major metropolitan areas is creating critical commute-hour traffic congestion. Adding to the problem is a lack of affordable housing in employment areas which forces workers into longer commutes and contributes to overall "gridlock."

Freeway construction adequate to keep pace with growth has become unrealistic in many areas. Available land is restricted and the cost of projects is high.

Relief will require that we use existing freeways and other system facilities more efficiently - which translates into having fewer vehicles on the road during commute hours, and transporting more people per vehicle.


Targeted Areas

The California BusPool Project is targeting the state’s six largest metropolitan areas where the need for congestion relief is strongest. Targeted areas include:
image of Caltrans District map


  • Inland Empire (Caltrans District 8)
  • Los Angeles (Caltrans District 7)
  • Orange County (Caltrans District 12)
  • Sacramento (Caltrans District 3)
  • San Diego (Caltrans District 11)
  • San Francisco Bay Area (Caltrans District 4)


In addition to the six largest metro areas additional areas could be included as the project moves forward, Possible additional areas include:
  • Central Valley north (Caltrans District 10)
  • Central Valley south (Caltrans District 6)
  • Central Coast (Caltrans District 5)

Project Research

The first phase of the project will focus on research. It will involve gathering information from Park & Ride users, express bus users, employers, transit agencies and other public agencies. Research protocols will include focus groups, surveys, interviews and a review of existing data.

From users, research will seek to determine what they want and how best to match their wants to available options.

From employers, it will explore management attitudes and the availability/ effectiveness of existing programs.

From transit agencies and other public sources, it will collect key information on service, how performance is evaluated, how and why the public uses rapid transit services and the effectiveness of past marketing activities.


Project Priorities

Projects recommended as a result of the study will be prioritized according to the following criteria:
image of clock -  project schedule
  • Connectivity to transit
  • Tangible and measurable increase in transit ridership
  • Projected demand
  • Transit operator support
  • Impact on freeway congestion
  • Level of service improvement
  • Deliverability
  • Fundability, including ability to leverage state funds with matching funds
  • Ease of implementation
  • Feedback from focus groups and research results

Final Report

Final Report July 2005
Buspool Brochure

Contact Us

For more information on this project, please contact:
Wendy Johnsen
Chief, Planning & Policy Integration Branch
Division of Mass Transportation
Office: (916) 651-8239