California Transit Association

Explore Transit History

A Brief History of Transit in California

A compendium of California's public transit history in book form, A Brief History of Transit in California is the product of a collaboration between the Association and Elizabeth Deakin, Professor of City and Regional Planning and Urban Design at the University of California, Berkeley.

• Download A Brief History of Transit in California in flipbook format.

• Order a printed, bound copy of A Brief History of Transit in California.

In addition to an overview of transit history in California and across the nation, the book includes chapters on:

  • The role of the federal government in transit
  • Funding for transit in California
  • Linkages between transit and urban development
  • The growing importance of social and environmental considerations in providing transit service
  • Institutional arrangements for transit provision
  • What transit might look like in the future

An appendix to the book includes ten of papers authored by students at UC Berkeley, including:

  • Proposition 13: The Case of AC Transit
  • Improving the Pedestrian Experience to Transit
  • History of Bay Area Transit Agencies and Regional Coordination
  • Recent Trends in Transit Worker Wages and Benefits
  • History of BRT in California: Los Angeles and the Bay Area
  • Ridesharing: A Revisit to American Jitneys a Century Later
  • Big Transit in Little Berkeley
  • Early Rail Rapid Transit Proposals for Los Angeles
  • Factors Influencing Public Transit Ridership among San Francisco County Residents
  • The San Diego Trolley: The Little Light Rail That Could

View highlights and histories of Association member organizations.

Learn about past and current champions of transit in our Gallery of Leaders.

Explore significant transit milestones of the last 50 years and beyond.