Grading California’s Rail Transit Neighborhoods

A CLEE report, recently released by Next 10, grades 489 neighborhoods within 1/2-mile radius of California’s six rail transit systems:

  • Los Angeles County Metro Rail
  • Sacramento Regional Transit (RT)
  • San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS)
  • San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)
  • San Francisco Municipal Railway (MUNI)
  • Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA)

Why grade these neighborhoods?  The most effective rail systems with the highest ridership serve significant concentrations of jobs, retail, services, and housing around the stations and along the corridors they travel, particularly those within one-half mile of the station.

The report divided rail transit station areas into three types: residential, employment and mixed and calculated grades based on 11 key indicators including walkability, ridership levels, existing land-use and permitting policies, affordability and transit quality.

The grades reveal that high-performing stations are often in the middle of transit systems in downtown-like environments, while the poorest-performing stations are often located at the outer edges of the rail systems and the urban areas.  Low density, auto-oriented areas, even when graded against similar place types, scored poorly.  Overall, high-performing rail transit stations serve significant concentrations of housing, jobs, and other amenities in a walkable, equitable environment. 

The report gives the highest grade statewide to San Francisco Municipal Railway’s (MUNI) Market Street and Church Street station, and the lowest grade to San Diego Metropolitan Transit System’s Gillespie Field Station. 

Read the Report:

Grading California’s Rail Transit Stations (Oct. 2015)

Highlight Press Coverage:

Los Angeles Times

San Francisco Chronicle

PNS Radio

ABC 7 News

San Diego Union-Tribune op-ed


For more information, contact Ethan Elkind at  This work was made possible through generous support from Next 10.