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Unified Corridor Investment Study (UCS)

Unified Corridor Investment Study (UCS)

Key finding: Rail and trail top option for rail corridor.



  • identify multimodal transportation investments that provide the most effective use of Highway 1, Soquel Avenue/Soquel Drive/Freedom Boulevard, and the Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line

  • best serving the community’s transportation needs



  • developing a sustainable and well-integrated transportation system 

  • maximizing benefits in terms of efficient mobility, health and equity, the natural environment, and economic vitality.

Year: 2019

Transit Corridor Alternatives Analysis (TCAA)

Key finding: Electric rail to transit choice for rail corridor.



  • evaluate public transit investment options that provide an integrated transit network for Santa Cruz County utilizing all or part of the length of the rail right-of-way as a dedicated transit facility.

Year: 2021

Transit Corridor Alternatives Analysis (TCAA)

City of Watsonville Clean Mobility Options CommunityTransportation Needs Assessment

Key finding: 25% of Watsonville residents would use light rail



  • conduct community-based research in Watsonville

  • determine the transportation habits, needs, and obstacles of local residents and gauge their interest in a variety of clean mobility options.



  • Regeneración, supported by California Air Resources Board (CARB)

  • Ecology Action

Year: 2021

American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Who Rides Public Transportation

Key finding: Essential Workers Rely on Public Transportation


Additional Findings:

  • Over 70,000 people commute within Santa Cruz County everyday. That’s our teachers, healthcare workers, students, service providers, elders and youth! In other words, public transportation is for us, and it’s essential that we invest in it.

  • ​Over 30% of our county does not drive! That includes, students, elders and people of all abilities who need affordable and reliable transportation around the county.

Year: 2017


APTA Transportation Facts

Key finding: Every segment of American society—-individuals, families, communities, and businesses—benefits from public transportation.


Additional findings:

  • Public transportation is a lifeline for millions of Americans connecting them to people, places and possibilities. 

  • Transit builds thriving communities, creates jobs, eases traffic congestion and promotes a cleaner environment. 

  • Investment in public transportation spurs both our local economy and the national economy.

Year: 2017




Friends of the Rail & Trail believes that all neighborhoods, regardless of ethnicity and income, deserve high quality public services. That includes access to quality, affordable public transportation that serves everyone and more biking and walking trails and street improvements. We can improve the services in our neighborhoods without causing displacement by taking appropriate actions to protect the current residents of the neighborhood.


We support preserving the Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line for use as a commuter line, key emergency services resource, green shipping line and a key connector for Roaring Camp Railroads. Therefore all bridges and other infrastructure should be repaired and maintained at a freight capable level.

We support adding pedestrian and bike bridges alongside the existing bridges or replacing as needed the existing bridges with upgraded multi-modal bridges that have Bike, Pedestrian, Freight, and Passenger Rail capability.

We believe it is always better to invest in infrastructure for our future.



In Santa Cruz County, transportation accounts for over 60% of climate change CO2 emissions. Nationally, the transportation sector accounts for the largest share of carbon emissions, and those emissions are rising even as emissions have decreased in other sectors.

Modeling consistently shows that rapid emissions reductions can only be achieved by shifting trips from cars to transit, walking, and biking.

We believe clean Rail Transit integrated with METRO, Safe Streets, and the Rail Trail can shift us to greener transportation and help us dramatically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. 

Transit Justice

Robust and affordable public transit is a civil right, providing opportunity access to all. Prioritizing the creation of safe streets and a strong public transit system is one of the most important ways we can address our local equity needs. Our entire community will benefit from better public transportation. For every $1 spent on public transit, $4 comes back into our communities.


Take Action


Help Bring the Rail & Trail to Life

Get involved in making a completed rail and trail route through the county a reality.

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