Van Ness Avenue Bus Rapid Transit | Planning and Environmental Studies

The Transportation Authority led the Van Ness Avenue Bus Rapid Transit Project, in partnership with the SFMTA and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) through the completion of environmental review, marked by the issuance of a Record of Decision (ROD) by FTA on December 20, 2013. Issuance of the ROD signified completion of numerous efforts and approvals, including a feasibility study, a combined Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIS/EIR), and significant outreach.


The Addendum to the Final Environmental Impact Report, approved on March 4, 2016, reflects changes made to the project during final design. 

Federal Transit ADministration Record of Decision

On December 20, 2013 the Federal Transit Administration issued a Record of Decision (ROD) for the Van Ness Avenue Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project, determining that the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) have been met through the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) document and process. Issuance of the ROD allows the use of federal funding for final design and construction of the project.


The Final EIS/EIR responds to comments received on the Draft EIS/EIR and identifies the locally preferred alternative (LPA). The LPA was selected for inclusion in the Final EIS/EIR by the Transportation Authority and San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) boards in May and June of 2012. A center-running alternative with limited left turns (see LPA section below), which is a refinement of the two center running alternatives considered in the Draft EIS/EIR, was chosen based on technical analyses in the Draft EIS/EIR, as well as agency, stakeholder and public input.


Volume I

Volume II



After incorporating significant analysis and public feedback on the Draft EIS/EIR, the Transportation Authority and SFMTA Boards approved a Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) for the Van Ness corridor in May and June of 2012. The LPA represents a hybrid approach to implementation that borrows from some of the most compelling features of the various design alternatives that were analyzed in the Draft EIS/EIR. Under the LPA, BRT lanes would flank the center median except at stations where the BRT vehicles would transition to the center of the roadway and be protected by right side boarding platforms. The LPA retains the high performance features of Build Alternatives 3 and 4 (e.g, faster, more reliable performance) while avoiding the need to acquire left-right door vehicles or rebuild the entire median. The LPA also eliminates all left turns from Van Ness Avenue between Mission and Lombard streets with the exception of a southbound (two lane) left turn at Broadway in order to gain the most transit time benefits. The LPA will bring meaningful travel time savings to this heavily travelled corridor as well as improve the overall travel experience.

PUBLIC OUTREACH and Citizens Advisory Committee

In anticipation of the LPA’s consideration before the SFMTA and Transportation Authority Boards, staff conducted significant outreach to various community groups as well as agency and other public stakeholders to educate the public on the LPA get feedback on its design and development. This is in addition to outreach conducted as part of the public circulation of the Draft EIS/EIR. Using that feedback, the Transportation Authority refined the LPA and analyzed any potential environmental effects, documenting those in the Final EIS/EIR.

Throughout the Environmental Clearance process, the Transportation Authority convened a Citizens Advisory Committee (VN CAC) to advise on the project. See the records of the CAC meetings. Now with the transition into the design phase, SFMTA has convened a new CAC to guide decisions related to the design, construction, and implementation of the BRT. See the SFMTA project website for more information.


See information about, and download, the November 2011 Draft EIS/EIR.


The Van Ness BRT Feasibility Study, adopted by the Transportation Authority and MTA Boards in December 2006, found that BRT on Van Ness would have significant transit benefits and relatively little negative impact.