San Francisco
Transportation Policy Director

Reports to: Director of Policy

Status: Full-time, exempt

Salary: Depending upon experience

Location: Works out of the San Francisco office, with travel around the Bay Area

About SPUR

Mission: Through research, education and advocacy, SPUR promotes good planning and good government in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Values: SPUR believes that cities hold the key to America’s future. If we overcome the challenges our cities face, we will move the country in a direction that is more socially inclusive, more economically prosperous and more ecologically sustainable. 

SPUR, the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association, is the leading civic planning organization in the Bay Area. With offices in San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose, SPUR brings people together from across the political spectrum to develop solutions to the most urgent problems faced by the cities of the Bay Area — and then mobilizes the civic will to take action.

Since its founding in 1910 as the San Francisco Housing Association, SPUR has been involved in many of the most significant planning and urban policy decisions in the region. Its research and convening power have enabled the organization to play a unique role in the evolution of the Bay Area. 

Job Summary

The Transportation Policy Director leads SPUR’s transportation policy work. This role will be responsible for developing and implementing transportation policy across the entire geography of SPUR’s work. The Transportation Policy Director will articulate a transportation vision at the regional and megaregional scale, as well as at the city scale, especially in the cities where SPUR is based: San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland. The scope of issues includes but is not limited to: improving existing public transportation (e.g., Muni, BART, Caltrain, VTA and AC Transit); addressing roads and driving; improving streets, walking and biking; improving transportation planning, coordination and financing; coordinating land-use and transportation; and leveraging transportation innovation.

SPUR is currently working to develop a Regional Strategy for the Bay Area. This is an ambitious initiative to articulate a vision for the Bay Area of 2070 as well as the steps that need to be taken to achieve that vision. The Regional Strategy cuts across all the work that SPUR does — regional planning, community planning, transportation, economic development, housing, sustainability and resilience — and requires us to think in more visionary and far-reaching ways than we ever have before. The Transportation Policy Director is responsible for developing and managing the transportation content for the Regional Strategy.

The Transportation Policy Director will carry out work through all levels of activity at SPUR, including developing policy writing reports and articles, organizing forums and speakers, speaking to the press and the public, and running advocacy campaigns to implement SPUR’s policy proposals. The candidate must have the ability to learn quickly and to identify gaps in their knowledge and skills and proactively address them.

The Transportation Policy Director reports to the Director of Policy. The role works directly with the SPUR Board of Directors, SPUR policy committees and SPUR members to move the organization’s policy agenda forward.

Like all jobs at SPUR, this is a very hands-on position. It requires someone who can “think big” but also do the work, which requires everything from convening board committees to making copies.

Description of Responsibilities

A. Policy Development (Research)

  • Complete transportation work for SPUR’s Regional Strategy, a multiyear effort to create a guiding 50-year vision for the region. Transportation is one of the four content areas within the Regional Strategy. The Transportation Policy Director is responsible for holding the entirety of the transportation vision for the project, for directly completing work on the project and for overseeing other staff members who are working on components of the project. We anticipate completion of the Regional Strategy in 2020.
  • Lead research and writing of policy reports. Topics may include a transportation vision for the East Bay, the financial future of urban transit, planning a second transportation crossing between San Francisco and the East Bay and building on ideas from prior SPUR reports such as Seamless Transit. The Transportation Policy Director will be responsible for recruiting experts and other constituents to provide input into the work and for coordinating peer review of reports to ensure that they are of the highest possible quality. 
  • Bring each report through the SPUR policy development and adoption process. This includes review by the SPUR Executive Board and the relevant SPUR City Boards for feedback, revision and adoption.
  • Work with other SPUR policy staff and City Directors to coordinate and develop policy.
  • Recruit new members to policy boards and task forces, both core members who will participate in an ongoing way and people with specific expertise who wish to be part of single projects.

B. Thought Leadership (Education)

  • Develop articles for The Urbanist, SPUR’s signature print publication, and for the News section of the SPUR website.
  • Develop and write bi-monthly Transportation News e-newsletter, with support of Public Engagement staff.
  • Organize forums, events and workshops.
  • Speak to the public, leaders and outside groups about SPUR and about policy issues.
  • Speak to media about policy issues.

C. Policy Implementation (Advocacy)

Lead implementation of SPUR’s policy agenda through all means, including:

  • Provide pro-bono expertise and support for public agencies as appropriate.
  • Serve on coalitions and organize SPUR members to participate in coalitions that advance our agenda.
  • Advocate for legislative and operational measures that implement SPUR’s policy agenda, including running campaigns at the ballot to enact legislation or pass funding and/or reform measures.
  • Represent SPUR in a formal capacity on task forces, boards and advisory bodies, as appropriate.
  • Track transportation issues and deal with problems as they arise. Concretely, this will mean networking with people, following the agendas of various public bodies, writing articles and letters, and organizing testimony at relevant hearings

D. Management

  • Manage the Senior Transportation Policy Associate, supporting the Associate’s work, growth and success in a hands-on manner.
  • Serve as the point of coordination between staff members working on transportation policy throughout the organization.

E. Community Outreach

  • For every transportation report that SPUR releases, plan and execute publicity strategy, with support of Public Engagement staff.
  • Speak to community groups about transportation issues, including specific SPUR initiatives.

G. Fundraising

  • Work with the CEO and Chief Development Officer, develop foundation grant applications.
  • Identify new grant and contract funding opportunities.
  • Prepare final reports on grants received for policy work.
  • Talk about SPUR’s work with donors.
  • Attend SPUR fundraising events.

Skills and Qualifications

A Masters degree in planning, public policy, engineering or a related field, or a minimum of five years equivalent experience, is required.

The candidate must be well versed in the major transportation policy issues affecting American cities today. The candidate must be a good writer who can make complicated policy issues interesting and intelligible to a general audience.

The job requires strong meeting facilitation skills and the ability to work well with people from all different sectors of the community.

The candidate must have an understanding of racial inequities in our region and in transportation policy. We are looking for someone who has training in diversity, equity and inclusion and/or who has a demonstrated ability to work across difference. The candidate is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion and manifests that commitment in his or her policy, facilitation, advocacy and management responsibilities.

This is not a job for someone who wants to research and write on their own. It is a community advocacy job that involves group facilitation, consensus building, public speaking, negotiation and community organizing in addition to writing and developing ideas. SPUR’s work involves the deep involvement of members and its Board of Directors. It is the role of policy directors to provide support to help the member committees be successful.

The candidate must have experience effectively managing both projects and people.

Because of SPUR’s role as a convening organization in San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland and the region, staff must be able to establish positive working relationships with people across the entire political spectrum. The Transportation Policy Director is an ambassador to local government staff, elected officials, business leaders, staff at other civic organizations and community leaders of all kinds.

To Apply

Please submit a cover letter (500 words maximum, in the body of an email) and current resume (attach as a PDF) to The deadline for applications is Friday, April 5, 2019, at 5 p.m. Earlier applications are welcome and encouraged. Please, no phone inquiries.


The statements herein are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by employees assigned to this position. They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and, skills required of personnel so assigned. SPUR is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, age, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political orientation.

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