Beyond Commuter Rail: transforming Caltrain and Bay Area rail after the pandemic

Start: 2023-08-23 13:00:00 UTC Pacific Daylight Time (US & Canada) (GMT-07:00)

End: 2023-08-23 14:00:00 UTC Pacific Daylight Time (US & Canada) (GMT-07:00)

A link to attend this virtual event will be emailed upon RSVP


Caltrain is planning for electric service in 2024, while the Bay Area is planning for a more connected regional transit network and regional funding measure.  The pandemic triggered lasting change in commuting patterns, and a steep decline in ridership for services that previously depended heavily on white collar commuters.

Key decisions will be made in the coming months. Come learn from experts about ideas to transform and modernize Caltrain and the Bay Area transit to achieve a world-class system for today’s world.

The panel will address questions including:

  • What can we learn from regional rail and transit systems around the US and around the world about how they are adapting?

  • Where did the concept of commuter rail come from historically, and how did this history shape current systems? What are the opportunities for change in today's environment?

  • What does Caltrain electrification mean for the opportunities for transformation?

  • What kinds of service changes can help regrow ridership?

  • What is the role of land use and transit oriented development on the transformation? How does parking and transportation demand management?

  • The Bay Area’s core rail network has two agencies, and the region has 27 agencies. What is the role of governance in transformation?

  • What decisions are being made in the Bay Area, and how can you get involved?


Christof Spieler is a public transportation expert, former board member at Houston Metro, author of Trans, Buses, People, an Opinionated Atlas of US Transit, and Director of Planning at Huitt Zollars, a consultancy working on transportation and land use.

Sandy Johnston is deputy director of regional transportation planning at MBTA in Boston, and is an expert on the history of US commuter rail.

Giselle Hale is former Mayor of Redwood City, a city that is organizing its future around the rail and transit system.

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