Riding First Class: Impacts of Silicon Valley Shuttles on Commute & Residential Location Choice
Employer-provided private shuttles have become a prominent part of the transportation network between San Francisco and Silicon Valley. As the Bay Area plans for transportation investments to meet sustainability goals and accommodate future population and employment growth, an understanding of the role of regional commuter shuttles becomes increasingly important. This study investigates the impacts of private shuttles on commute mode and residential location choice by conducting a travel time comparison and surveying shuttle riders. The authors find that the provision of shuttles and knowledge of shuttle stops influences both commute mode and residential location choice. Shuttles are an attractive option due to their time and cost savings compared to other modes. However, shuttles exacerbate the jobs-housing imbalance by enabling individuals to live farther from work. The extent to which location of shuttle stops influences residential location choice varies from person to person, though the vast majority of shuttle riders live within a short walk from the nearest shuttle stop. Policies should strike a balance between improved sustainability with existing land use patterns and better long-term regional transportation and land use planning.