US-101 Express Bus Feasibility Study

SamTrans US-101 Express Bus Feasibility Study

US-101 through San Mateo County is one of the most congested freeways in the Bay Area. The SamTrans US-101 Express Bus Feasibility Study is exploring the role express buses can play in providing mobility options on US-101 and adjacent roadways like I-280 that strengthen connectivity to jobs and housing hubs throughout the region. Together with other improvements and transportation demand management initiatives, the implementation of viable, time-competitive public transit options on US-101 has the potential to help meet the region’s future transportation demands. This project has been made possible by a grant from the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and a grant from the Regional Planning grantmaking strategy of Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

What are the Express Buses?

Express bus service can provide faster transit service to key commuter destinations than traditional local bus services. In general, express bus routes make few inter¬mediate stops, reducing travel time compared to local bus routes. Riders benefit from the reliable travel times offered when buses travel in high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes.

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Goal 1:

Provide Mobility Options and Improved Connections for Regional Trips

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Goal 2:

Increase Transit Market Share in Corridor

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Goal 3:

Develop a Cost-Effective Service

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Goal 4:

Improve Transportation Equity

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Goal 5:

Enhance Access to Jobs and Population Centers

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Goal 6:

Support Sustainable Land Use and Transportation Policies

About the Study

The Study is currently examining the financial and operational feasibility of a network of long-distance express buses operating on US-101 through San Mateo County, potentially integrated with managed lanes that provide access to high-occupancy vehicles. The results of the Study will help SamTrans determine if there is a viable market for long-haul express bus services through San Mateo County serving adjacent cities.

The Study team is conducting the following tasks:

  • Assess the financial and operational feasibility of a network of long-distance express bus service along the US-101 freeway corridor.
  • Identify key regional travel markets located in or traveling through US-101 in San Mateo County.
  • Define transit performance objectives within the corridor
  • Engage community members and stakeholders in developing potential express bus routes that expand their mobility options for long-haul trips.
  • Develop transit ridership forecasts and conceptual operating plans for potential express bus routes.
  • Identify potential transit-supportive facilities, including park & ride lots (PNR) and multimodal access facilities or hubs, to help close first-mile/ last-mile gaps.
  • Explore alternative funding and/or financing opportunities
  • Evaluate alternatives and select a preferred alternative to move forward for further study.
  • Share findings and lessons learned in a Final Report.
Draft Express Routes Map

Where is the Study Now?

SamTrans launched this study in April 2017. Since then, the Study team completed a detailed market analysis and identified an initial set of 15 potential express bus routes throughout the three-county study area. The initial routes were evaluated against a set of goals and performance metrics such as anticipated ridership.

The study team is currently completing a detailed evaluation process of the routes, after which the team anticipates recommending a network of four to six express bus routes to be implemented in phases. A pilot launch of the express bus routes will be funded in part through SB1 funds.

Opportunities to Participate

We welcome stakeholder input throughout the project. The study team held a round of outreach in Summer 2017 and is holding a second round in Summer 2018 with the following events.

  • June 2 – 9 am to noon: pop-up event at the San Mateo Farmer’s Market
  • June 3 – 11 am to 4 pm: pop-up event at Sunday Streets San Francisco in the Sunset
  • June 9 – 10 am to noon: pop-up event at the University Avenue Farmer’s Market in Palo Alto
  • June 9 – 1 pm to 3 pm: pop-up event at Facebook Fest in Bell Haven
  • June 13 – 6 to 7:30 pm: community open house at SamTrans headquarters in San Carlos

You can also let us know your comments on the 101 Express Bus Study HERE. Include your contact information if you would like to be kept informed throughout the project by e-mail.


The study launched in late April 2017. A draft final report is anticipated to be ready in mid- to late-2018 and will be posted on this website at that time.

Project Materials

Please see the fact sheet for more information about the project.

Download our community open house presentation