SPUR Research

In-depth reports, white papers and policy recommendations

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Infrastructure Bay Area

A proposal for a new institution to help successfully deliver the region’s most significant transit projects

SPUR’s report More for Less examines how the Bay Area can reverse its poor track record of delivering large, complex public transit projects on time, on budget and without major defect. This companion report details one of our most significant recommendations: to establish Infrastructure Bay Area, a specialized entity that would lead the procurement and delivery of all the region’s major transit projects.
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Does State Tax Policy Discourage Housing Production?

California’s housing crisis is due in part to a failure to build enough new housing. Many California cities view housing as less fiscally beneficial to build than other types of development. SPUR and California Forward explore whether cities that receive a low share of the state property tax would have an incentive to produce more housing if their share of the property tax was increased.
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Model Places

Envisioning a future Bay Area with room and opportunity for everyone

Over the next 50 years, the San Francisco Bay Area is expected to gain 4 million people and 2 million jobs. In a region where a crushing housing shortage already threatens quality of life, how can we welcome new residents and jobs without paving over green spaces or pushing out long-time community members? SPUR partnered with AECOM to envision an equitable and sustainable future region.
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The Future of Transportation

Harnessing private mobility services to support the public good

Will the rise of new mobility services like Uber and bike sharing help reduce car use, climate emissions and demand for parking? Or will they lead to greater inequality and yet more reliance on cars? SPUR proposes how private services can work together with public transportation to function as a seamless network and provide access for people of all incomes, races, ages and abilities.
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From Copenhagen to Tokyo

Learning from International Housing Delivery Systems

Different countries have vastly different ways of organizing their housing policies and real estate markets. Could some of them hold solutions to the Bay Area’s housing crisis? To find out, SPUR and AECOM explored housing delivery in Copenhagen, Berlin, Vienna, Amsterdam, Tokyo and Singapore. Each has a compelling and noteworthy approach that could inform future policy innovation in the Bay Area.
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Keeping the Doors Open

Immediate recommendations for assisting ground floor businesses in reopening

COVID-19 has accelerated the urgency of determining how to best support human and economic activity, particularly on main streets and commercial corridors. SPUR recommends actions for cities to undertake immediately to assist businesses in opening promptly following the gradual lifting of shelter-in-place restrictions.
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Safety First

Improving hazard resilience in the Bay Area

The Bay Area is both a treasured place and a hazardous environment where flooding, wildfires and earthquakes are common today. These hazards are likely to become more frequent, larger and more damaging as climate change puts the region’s people, built environment and natural habitats at risk. As a region exposed to multiple hazards, how can we manage for all of them at the same time?
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Driving Change

Policies to expand on employer-based Mobility on Demand pilot programs and reduce drive-alone commuting in the Bay Area.

The Fair Value Commuting Demonstration project addresses a challenge that has plagued cities for decades: Too many people drive alone to work, creating traffic, wasting time and productivity, and degrading air quality and safety. Four Silicon Valley cities tested a package of strategies and technologies to tackle the issue. SPUR provided independent research to help assess the results and determine next steps.
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It Takes a Village

Strategies for successful implementation of San Jose’s urban village vision

San Jose’s 2040 general plan proposed “urban villages” as a key strategy for sustainable growth. These higher-density, mixed-use urban places would concentrate new offices, stores and housing in locations accessible by transit, foot or bike. But only a handful of the 60 designated urban villages have projects underway. SPUR recommends strategies to remove barriers and successfully implement San Jose’s urban village vision.
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SPUR 2019 Annual Report

Since 1910, SPUR has been facilitating a conversation about the future of cities. This year, with the launch of the SPUR Regional Strategy, we are starting a conversation about the Bay Area of 2070. Our annual report takes a look at everything we got done in the last year — and what we hope to make happen over the next 50.
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Solving the Bay Area’s Fare Policy Problem

How streamlined, integrated fares can help the region realize the promise of transit.

Each of the Bay Area’s transit operators sets its own policy for determining the fares it will charge. This creates customer confusion, inhibits people from using more than one transit service and undermines the investments the region is making in new infrastructure and technology. SPUR offers recommendations for how operators can streamline and integrate their fares to help the region realize the promise of transit.
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San Francisco Bay Shoreline Adaptation Atlas

Working with nature to plan for sea level rise

As the climate continues to change, communities will need to adapt the San Francisco Bay shoreline to rising sea levels. But the Bay’s varied landscapes and overlapping jurisdictions make a coordinated response challenging. The San Francisco Bay Shoreline Adaptation Atlas proposes a new regional planning framework by dividing the 400-mile Bay shoreline into 30 distinct geographic areas that share common physical characteristics and adaptation strategies.
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Re-Envisioning the Guadalupe River Park

How San Jose can transform its greatest natural resource into a community gathering place for all

From New York City’s High Line to Atlanta’s BeltLine, communities across the country are transforming underutilized infrastructure into engaging public spaces. Building on this national momentum, SPUR has launched a project to reconsider the Guadalupe River Park, an underappreciated gem in downtown San Jose.
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Finding Transit

How better maps can make the Bay Area transit system easier to understand and navigate

Navigating transit in the Bay Area is complicated: Each of the region's 27 transit operators develops its own maps, using a wide range of styles, symbols, graphics and language. Research shows that well-designed transit maps can increase ridership and improve passengers’ understanding of the transit system. SPUR offers recommendations for creating better maps that can make Bay Area transit easier to understand and navigate.
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Four Future Scenarios for the San Francisco Bay Area

Planning for the region in the year 2070

This report, the first product of the SPUR Regional Strategy, uses a scenario planning process to look at four uncertainties that the Bay Area will contend with over the next 50 years: the economy, housing, transportation and the physical form that growth takes. The resulting scenarios serve as “myths of the future,” stories that reveal the potential long-term outcomes of choices the region makes today.
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SPUR 2018 Annual Report

It’s our great pleasure to share with you SPUR’s 2018 Annual Report — a report back to our community on the key things we’ve been working on. Some of our proudest accomplishments have been years, even decades, in the making. In this annual report, we feature our efforts from the past year, as well as long-term projects we have slowly pushed forward, year after year.
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San Francisco's Next Mayor

A Blueprint for Change

By any measure, the previous decade has been a period of dramatic change and growth for San Francisco. But for many, this unprecedented prosperity has failed to address — and has even contributed to — the many challenges the city still faces. SPUR offer a platform of specific policy goals and practical solutions for the next mayor and the city for the years ahead.
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Harnessing High-Speed Rail

How California and its cities can use rail to reshape their growth

In connecting the Bay Area to Los Angeles, high-speed rail will run through cities such as Fresno and Bakersfield that were bypassed when Interstate 5 was built. High-speed rail can reconnect these cities with each other and the coast, which has the potential to improve their economies. It can also change California’s sprawling growth pattern by revitalizing downtowns and shifting growth back toward urban centers.
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Room for More

SPUR’s Housing Agenda for San Jose

The Silicon Valley economic miracle has become a housing nightmare. As rents and home prices continue to rise, the region’s economic growth, diversity and climate are threatened. As the largest city in the Bay Area, San Jose has a special responsibility to lead on innovative housing solutions. SPUR lays out 20 concrete steps that San Jose can take to address the chronic housing shortage.
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SPUR 2017 Annual Report

We are proud to share with you SPUR’s latest annual report — a look at the biggest things we got done in the last year. We invite you to learn more about our work and our vision for creating a stronger future for the Bay Area.
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