San Diego in motion

If you have to commute to work during rush hour, it may seem more like "San Diego stop-and-go." There are some good alternatives that can eliminate your commute, or at least take the stress out of the I-5/I-8/805/I-15 parking lots.

provided by SANDAG
mericans like to move around, and San Diegans are no exception. Local travel, as measured in vehicle miles logged in the County, has grown at a faster rate than either population or employment. While the population of the region has increased by 80 percent, and employment has doubled, local travel miles have almost tripled over the past 20 years. Even when the employment growth rates fell in the early 1990s, population and locally traveled miles continued to grow.
And while transit travel grew at a faster rate than automobile travel, transit still represents a small percentage of the region's trips. In some areas however, transit travel is significant. For example, downtown San Diego has the region's best level of transit service and about 12 percent of downtown workers use transit during the peak commuting hours. If the objectives of the San Diego Centre City Plan are achieved, 40 percent of the downtown work trips will be made by transit in the year 2015. But predictions state that less than 10 percent of all trips will continue to be made by other transportation modes, including public transit, walking and bicycling.
Highway system expansion has not kept pace with increasing automobile travel - as anyone who uses local highways has to have noticed. Even if proposed transportation facilities are fully funded, miles logged are predicted to grow at a faster rate than the transportation system. In other words, as we continue our love affair with our cars, we're all going to be spending a lot more time in more traffic. What to do? Do what you can to reduce your personal mileage and improve the environmental profile of your transportation options. We've compiled a list of options which introduces the world of local San Diego travel.

Commuter Characteristics for San Diego Region
Drive Alone    76%
Carpool        14%
Walk/Bicycle    6%
Public Transit  3%
Other	           1%
Average travel time to work: 22 minutes
Source: 1990 Census
Peak Hour Commute Times: approximately 6:30 am to 8:30 am.
Source: CalTrans


Telecommuting refers to using phones, computers, electronic mail, teleconferencing and other means to allow you to work without traveling to your workplace. You might telecommute from a home office or at a special location close to home. It might more appropriately be called "teleworking."
Telecommuting is legal everywhere in the United States and is a growing employment trend. Several companies in our region allow their employees to telecommute, including the City of San Diego. The City of Chula Vista has established two telecommuting centers, complete with computers, copiers and other office machinery, and provides non-polluting bus transportation for local users.
Telecommuting won't work for all occupations - it's tough to do auto repair over the phone - but it is a good alternative for many office workers, even if they only telecommute part of the week and travel to work the remainder.


Carpooling is a natural choice for people who are interested in cutting down on their commute costs while enjoying a more relaxing trip to and from the office. Carpooling is a flexible arrangement by two or more individuals who live and work within a mile or two from one another. Carpooling is a great choice for those who do not need their car at work everyday, have a consistent work schedule and travel more than 15 minutes to work. And remember, carpooling is flexible. You can carpool all the time, or just a few days a week. Even one day out of five means a 20 percent reduction in the number of vehicle trips you make.
About 14 percent of San Diego County commuters share a ride to work to gain ridesharing's considerable benefits: Finding someone to carpool with is the first step in starting a carpool. Ridelink can help you locate someone through Ridelink's Regional Ridematching Services. Ridelink's matching program will help you locate other commuters living close to your home and who commute to a work site close to where you work. The program will even identify prospective carpool partners with similar work schedules. To get your personalized rideshare match list call Ridelink today at 237-POOL.

Regional vanpool program

For commuters who want a comfortable cross between the convenience of their own car and the cost advantage of mass transit, vanpools are the ride of choice. Vanpools offer a comfortable, reasonably priced and convenient way to work for groups of seven to 15 people who share similar commute patterns. A commuter van is driven by a member of the group. Riders are picked up at mutually agreed upon locations. Expenses are shared. It's that simple!
The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) offers regional commuter vanpools monthly financial incentives ranging from $300 to $385 depending on the type of commuter vanpool vehicle used. Employers can offer employees $65 per month towards vanpool costs, tax free to the employee! In addition to the carpool benefits, vanpool benefits include: To join a vanpool, please call RideLink at 237-POOL
To help make your carpool and vanpool connections easier, there are over 60 Park and Ride lots in the immediate San Diego area and throughout North San Diego County.

Bicycle commuting

Instead of arriving at work angry and tense from the traffic, you can arrive at your office feeling great. Nearly one half of all San Diegans live within bicycling distance to their jobs. Furthermore, San Diego has more than 300 miles of bikeways and year-round temperate weather. So, if you want to do your part to reduce traffic and air pollution while exercising and improving your health, remember that biking to work gives you all the freedom of a car. You can still come and go as you please, adjusting your schedule to overtime requirements.
RideLink, in cooperation with various bicycle shops and organizations throughout the region, publishes a colorful Bike Map. The map illustrates numerous bikeways throughout the region. You may order your FREE Bike Map on-line or by calling RideLink at 237-POOL.
If you think that your commute is too far to ride your bike comfortably, remember that cycling a portion of the way is always an option. You can bike to the nearest Park and Ride lot or to the nearest bus or trolley station and take transit for the remainder of the commute. CalTrans has provided bicycle lockers at several Park and Ride lots, trolley Stations and at many public sites for the use of bicycle commuter.
Special bus/bicycle rack service is available on the following bus routes:
MTDB Routes
Strand Streaker
North County Transit District
County Transit System

Electric bikes

If you'd like to bike, but San Diego's hilly terrain in your area is insurmountable with a regular bike, you should check out the latest in electric transportation: the EV Warrior Electric Bicycle. The EV Warrior is a 6-speed road bike that can travel up to 18.5 mph with a range of up to 15 miles - which can be increased of course, with more pedaling. Named by Business Week magazine as one of its "25 Best New Products" of the year, the EV Warrior is recharged by plugging into a regular wall plug for a maximum of 6 hours. EV Warriors are available at the Marvin K. Brown Auto Center in Mission Valley, 1141 Camino Del Rio South, 291-2040.