The Modern Transit Society, Inc. (MTS) was founded in
and is a non-profit, advocacy organization for transit in Santa Clara County, California. Membership is free.
At one time, it had over 800 members in Santa Clara and Sacramento counties, but membership has reduced as goals were accomplished.
Our accomplishments and
current activities best explain
what we are all about.
Promote clean air, safety and mobility through
What are our current activities,
campaigns? [A sample of activities around 2000]
While there are always minor issues and letters
written, currently the main ones are:
- promoting construction of a People
Mover system to connect San Jose Airport with
nearby LRT and Caltrain stations. (See accomplishents to
- implementing an efficient alignment of the Vasona
light rail line into downtown San Jose. We support
the Fast Track
described in our newsletter.
- eliminate pedestrian prohibitions from arterial roads. See our Expressway Topics, Links page.
- continuing our efforts for reduction of automobile
- opposing Santa Clara County highway
engineers' recent plan to add lanes by forcing
pedestrians to walk in the traffic lane.
- try to save the old San
Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge
for future train service even after the new bridge is built. The lower deck that had electric trains until 1958.
- eliminate the forcing of pedestrians to walk in the
traffic lane of 45 mph, including accessing LRT stations!
See our Sunnyvale campaign.
We have various topics brought up at our monthly meetings
in Sunnyvale and in Sacramento.We
also have an annual dinner
logo used from 1971 to 1987. Now, the logo is the name in
the Palatino font.
What has MTS
Summary by Akos Szoboszlay, Past-President, 2014:
MTS was the leading organization behind bringing back light rail transit in Santa Clara County and Sacramento County.
MTS also worked to get people movers (or automated guideway transit) approved at the San Jose Airport,
and to bring BART to San Jose. However, MTS preferred a direct BART route to downtown, not the longer route now planned via east San Jose.
MTS fought for pedestrian access to all arterial roads, and as a result, the County Board of Supervisors required sidewalks along all expressways in 2009.
Sidewalks along Lawrence Expressway, and most of Capital Expressway, have already been completed. County highway engineers had fought against the sidewalks and the requirement for bike lanes.
MTS also fought highway interests who, on numerous occasions, tried to raid transit funds and/or pedestrian funds to use for more highway construction.
- MTS was instrumental in the return of light rail
transit during the 1980s to both the South Bay and
- MTS pioneered the fight for creation of the
Capitol Corridor trains by its 1988 press
conference, and convinced Assemblyman Tom Hannigan to
author legislation that resulted in that service starting
- MTS got Automated
Guideway Transit (AGT) or People Movers approved for
consideration for the San Jose airport. MTS then
supported the successful petition drive that would
require a rail link between the airport and the light
rail line. This will go to the voters of San Jose in
- MTS has put a stop to the county highway engineers'
destroying sidewalks and bike lanes when adding lanes
for automobiles by a request to the County Supervisors in
1991. In 1997, ten miles of sidewalks were completed
along Lawrence "Expressway" as a result of efforts by
MTS. In 2009, the County Board of Supervisors, as a result of MTS' efforts,
required sidewalks along all expressways, usually on both sides of the road.
- MTS has forced the removal of PEDESTRIANS
PROHIBITED signs from many roads where the name was
changed from "avenue" or "road" to "expressway", most
recently Capitol Expressway (formerly named Capitol
Avenue) in 1997. The effort continues. These roads are
not freeways but 45 mph arterials having stop lights,
crosswalks, bus stops and often sidewalks (which were also
- MTS devised the concept of cashout
which is now starting to be implemented. Cashout
is equalizing the parking subsidy at employment, so that
bicyclists, transit patrons and walkers get the same
benefit as solo-drivers. A company pays employees to not
drive. This action alone will decrease car commuting by
25% (the average of ten
studies on this topic). Cashout has already been
implemented at some companies. We are working to include
cashout into the
Countywide Deficiency Plan of Santa Clara County.
- MTS has worked to abolish
subsidies to the automobile, and to protect
transit funding from highway interests who tried many
times to use transit funds for road construction.
- MTS works to educate the public, planners and
politicians to the benefits of guideway transit.
but not all our efforts have been successful...
Sometimes we get overwhelmed by pro-highway
forces. In the South Bay, MTS tried for years to
implement light rail transit in the West Valley Corridor.
Instead, a freeway was built (Rt. 85).
MTS's transportation solutions
We oppose the highway interests' tactic of placing
highway and transit funding on the same ballot measure, a
tactic that prevents people from voting for transit and
against more highway subsidies. We offer solutions
to traffic congestion without increasing highways and
MTS believes in permanently decreasing or even
eliminating traffic congestion in a way that benefits all
transportation modes, including the auto user. This can only
be accomplished by use of free market principles and full
cost pricing to decrease the demand for auto use. To
accomplish this goal, MTS has written the Free
Market for Transportation Plan.