Program Timeline




Caltrans Begins Study on Future of Transbay Terminal

Caltrans begins study to determine future role of Transbay Terminal once Transbay BART service begins.


1959Terminal Converted to Bus-Only Facility

The Transbay Terminal is converted to a bus-only facility when the Key System rail stops running on the lower deck of the Bay Bridge. AC Transit begins utilizing the Terminal deck and ramps, along with other local and long-distance bus carriers.

Photo Credit: San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.


1958Final Key System Train Leaves the Terminal

Following World War II and the prevalence of the automobile, rail travel began to decrease.  The final Key System train left the Terminal in 1958. The railway is removed from the lower deck of the Bay Bridge.

Photo courtesy of The Bay Bridge (Images of America) by Paul C. Trimble and John C. Alioto, Jr.


1941‘Red Trains’ Cease Terminal Operation

Southern Pacific Railway “Red Trains” cease operation to the Transbay Terminal.

Photo courtesy of The Bay Bridge (Images of America) by Paul C. Trimble and John C. Alioto, Jr.


1939Transbay Terminal Constructed

The Transbay Terminal is built in 1939 to accommodate rail service over the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.  In its heyday, more than 26 million people used the Transbay Terminal each year.

Photo courtesy of The Bay Bridge (Images of America) by Paul C. Trimble and John C. Alioto, Jr.


1936Bay Bridge Opens

In 1936, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge opens.  The construction of railway facilities is delayed while a cost-sharing plan is debated among state toll bridge authority and private railways.


1933Site Selected for Transbay Terminal Rail Services

A site is selected for the Transbay Terminal rail services in downtown San Francisco. The new site at First and Mission streets is selected because it is the closest option near the center of activity in downtown San Francisco and connects to the new Bay Bridge.

Photo courtesy of The Bay Bridge (Images of America) by Paul C. Trimble and John C. Alioto, Jr.


Route for Bay Bridge Selected

The Hoover Commission selects Rincon Hill to Oakland Mole, via Yerba Buena Island, as a route for the Bay Bridge.


Temporary Terminal Built at Third & Townsend

A temporary terminal constructed for Southern Pacific passenger service at Third & Townsend streets, to be completed in time for 1915 World’s Fair; plans are made to bring trains to a new terminal in downtown San Francisco, but are never realized.


‘Bayshore Cut-Off’ Opens

The “Bayshore Cut-Off” opens, giving Southern Pacific trains a quick route into San Francisco.

1970′s & 80′s

1970′s & 80′s


1989Loma Prieta Earthquake Damages Transbay Terminal

The Loma Prieta earthquake rocks San Francisco in 1989, damaging the Transbay Terminal and surrounding freeway ramps.

Caltrans’ Office of Structural Design completes designs for major revitalization of existing terminal, to bring the building up to current accessibility and life-safety codes.


MTC Approves Resolution 1876

Metropolitan Transportation Commission approves Resolution 1876, calling extension of Caltrain to downtown San Francisco a top regional priority.


Caltrans Develops Plans to Extend Railway to Transbay Terminal

Caltrans, as part of its responsibility for operating new Caltrain commuter service, develops plans to extend railway to Transbay Terminal.


Caltrans Acquires Operation of Southern Pacific Service Between SF and SJ

Caltrans takes over responsibility for the operation of the century-old Southern Pacific commuter service between San Francisco and San Jose, renaming it “Caltrain.”


SFBATTA Study Concludes

San Francisco Bay Area Transportation Terminal Authority (SFBATTA) study concludes; lowest-cost option is implemented, a minimal upgrade of the terminal.


SFBATTA Established; San Francisco’s Railway terminal Moved to Fourth & Townsend

SFBATTA established to oversee operations and planning of the Transbay Terminal.  San Francisco’s railway terminal is moved a block farther from downtown, to Fourth & Townsend streets, to make way for a freeway off-ramp that is never constructed.


Transbay Transit Terminal Transportation Study Released

Transbay Transit Terminal Transportation Study released, calling for terminal with off-street facilities for all bus operators; peak capacity in new terminal would be 630 buses per hour, with direct ramps to Bay Bridge and US-101.


Final Report is Issued, Favors Demolition of Existing Terminal

Final report is issued and favors demolition of existing terminal with construction of a new regional transportation center to serve both commuters and long-distance passengers plus three million square feet of private development in air rights above the terminal.




Proposition H Approved

Proposition H is overwhelmingly adopted by San Francisco voters, which makes it City law to extend Caltrain tracks to a new or rebuilt regional transit station on the site of the Transbay Terminal, and to pursue other improvements.


Caltrain Proposes to Eliminate Eastern Ramp into Terminal

As part of seismic work to retrofit the Bay Bridge ramps, Caltrans proposes to eliminate the eastern ramp into the Transbay Terminal.


Draft EIR for Downtown Extension Project Released

Draft EIS/EIR for the Caltrain San Francisco Downtown Extension Project released but never certified.


Transit Terminal Decision Report Prepared

Transit Terminal Decision Report prepared, presenting three options for location of a new terminal.


Final Report for Downtown Extension/Systems Upgrades Issued

The Caltrain San Francisco Downtown Extension/Systems Upgrades Final Report is issued. Options considered include surface operation of Caltrain into the South of Market Area (SOMA) all the way to Market Street.


Study Released Suggesting Location for New Terminal

The San Francisco Planning Department releases a Transit Terminal Study suggesting a location for the new terminal.


Mayor Frank Jordan Asks Caltrans to Consider Removing Terminal; PCJPB Acquires Caltrain Operations

Mayor Frank Jordan asks Caltrans to consider removing Transbay Terminal and replacing it with a smaller terminal.

Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board takes over Caltrain operations from Caltrans.


PCJPB & MTC Study Alternatives to Bring Caltrain to Downtown SF

The Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board (PCJPB) and Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) begin to study low-cost alternatives to bring Caltrain closer to downtown San Francisco.


Administrative Draft of Caltrain Downtown Extension Released

The administrative Draft of Caltrain Downtown Extension is released.  Alternatives considered include a six-track terminal underground behind the Transbay Terminal, and a three-level underground terminal beneath Second Street at Market Street.  The study never progresses due to lack of a funding plan, but provides the basis for continued study of extending Caltrain into downtown San Francisco.



July 15, 2004

Final Environmental Impact Statement/Environmentatl Impact Report (FEIS/EIR) Certified

San Francisco Board of Supervisors certifies FEIS/EIR.

April 22, 2004


TJPA and Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board certify the FEIS/EIR and select a Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) alignment into downtown San Francisco.

FEIS/EIR Documents

April 2004

AIA Awards Honor for Design for Development Plan

Design for Development Plan receives an Urban Design Award from the American Institute of Architects.

March 2004

Bay Area Voters Approve Regional Measure 2 Bridge Toll Increase

Regional Measure 2 bridge toll increase is approved by Bay Area voters and allocates $150 million in project funding.

February 2004

Engineering Design Services Contract for DTX Awarded

RFP issued for Engineering Design Services for the Caltrain Downtown extension (DTX) Project. Contract awarded to Parsons/ARUP/Jacobs Associates in December 2004.


San Francisco Voters Pass Proposition K

San Francisco voters pass Proposition K, a half-cent sales tax extension for transportation, which earmarks $270 million for Transbay Terminal/Caltrain Downtown Extension Program as long as the project includes the extension of Caltrain. California Senate Bill 916 sets foundation for Regional Measure 2, the Regional Traffic Relief Plan.

July 2003

July 2003State Legislation Passes Requiring Affordable Housing, High-Speed Rail for Project

State legislation passes which requires 35 percent affordable housing in the new Transbay Redevelopment Area and that the new Transbay Terminal at First and Mission streets be designed to accommodate bus, Caltrain and high-speed rail.

March 2003

$9.3 Million in Funding Released for Planning & Preliminary Design

Selection of Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) by the TJPA Board facilitates release of approximately $9.3 million in federal and regional funds to continue planning and preliminary design of the Transbay Terminal.


Draft EIS/EIR Published

Draft EIS/EIR published and released for public review and comments followed by Public Hearings held by the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency.

September 2002

California Senate Bill 1856 Presented

California Senate Bill 1856 requires that initial segment of California High-Speed Rail connect San Francisco Transbay Terminal and Los Angeles Union Station.

December 2001

Transbay program Included in MTC Resolution 3434 & Regional Transportation Plan

The Transbay Program is included in the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Regional Transit Expansion Policy (MTC Resolution 3434) and the Regional Transportation Plan.

April 2001

Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) Created

City & County of San Francisco, AC Transit, and Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board enter into an agreement creating the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA), with a five-person Board of Directors.

March 2001

MTC’s Bay Crossing Study Begins

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Bay Crossings Study begins to examine options for providing additional capacity across the bay. The study covers an area from San Francisco to Silicon Valley and includes all modes.

January 2001

Design Concept for New Transbay Terminal Published

Executive Committee of the Transbay Terminal Improvement Study Panel publishes design concept for new Transbay Terminal, an inter-modal bus and rail transit station to serve the Bay Area and the State.  The plan also includes development of certain surrounding parcels and envisions a new transit-oriented neighborhood with retail, offices, and 3000 residential units.


Environmental Review of the Project Begins.

The City & County of San Francisco and Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board execute a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to be co-lead agencies for the Caltrain extension project.

The Bay Area Toll Authority and the Transbay Terminal Improvement Study Panel select the preferred design for the new terminal: stacked configuration with Caltrain and high speed rail underground, joint use at ground level and on a mezzanine, two levels of bus bays and dedicated ramps connecting the bus decks to the Bay Bridge; the Plan is the result of a lengthy consensus-building design process that included needs of all operators.



December 10, 2008

December 10 2008Groundbreaking Ceremony at Temporary Terminal Site

A groundbreaking ceremony launches the first step in the Transbay Transit Center program – construction of the Temporary Terminal, the temporary facility that will serve bus passengers while the new landmark Transbay Transit Center is under construction.


2008Construction of Temporary Terminal Begins

Construction of the Temporary Terminal begins in fall 2008.  The temporary replacement bus facility will serve bus passengers while the new multi-modal Transbay Transit Center is under construction.

December 13, 2007

California Transportation Commission Approves Transfer of State Land Parcels

California Transportation Commission approves transfer of State land parcels to the TJPA, the City of San Francisco, and the SF Redevelopment Agency.

September 20, 2007

September 20 2007Winners of Design & Development Competition Announced

Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects and Hines selected as winner of the Design & Development Competition.

November 1, 2006

Design & Development Competition Launched

The TJPA launches an international competition to select a Design and Development (D/D) Team to design a Transit Center to be developed by the TJPA in downtown San Francisco and to design and develop a Tower adjacent to the Transbay Transit Center.

June 2, 2006

TJPA Board Adopts Recommended Implementation Strategy

The TJPA Board adopts a recommended implementation strategy to construct the program in two phases.  Phase I includes constructing the station and the train boxes.  Phase II includes the Caltrain and future high-speed rail line underground up Second Street into the new built-out train level of the station.

Recommended Implementation Strategy

January 2006

TJPA Becomes Eligible Federal Grant Recipient

August 2005

Project Receives $55 Million in Federal Funding

The Transbay Transit Center/Caltrain Extension Project receives $55 million in federal funding from the long-awaited federal surface transportation bill, SAFETEA-LU (Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users).

June 25, 2005

Redevelopment Agency Adopts Transbay Redevelopment Plan

Redevelopment Agency adopts Transbay Redevelopment Plan.

June 21, 2005

Board of Supervisors Adopts Transbay Redevelopment Plan

The Redevelopment Plan for the Transbay Terminal Project is adopted by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.  The Redevelopment Plan will transform the area surrounding the new station and create a new Transbay neighborhood with homes, parks and retail.

February 8, 2005

Preliminary Engineering Work Begins

Federal Transit Administration issues Record of Decision (ROD), confirming that the Transbay Terminal Project has satisfied all of the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and completed the extensive federal environmental review process.

Record of Decision: Issued February 8, 2005

Appendix A: Mitigation Monitoring Program

Appendix B: Memorandum of Agreement with FTA and State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO)

Appendix C: Summary of Public Comment

Appendix D: Executed Project Development Agreement

February 2005

Preliminary Engineering Work Begins

The TJPA begins preliminary engineering work on the Transbay Terminal Project.



Late 2017

2017Phase I of Project Completed

Construction of the new Transbay Transit Center is scheduled to be complete in 2017, creating a new, 1 million square foot Transit Center with above-grade bus level, ground floor and concourse-level retail and foundations for two below-grade levels to serve Caltrain and future high-speed rail service to Los Angeles.

January 2015

Mello Roos Community Facilities District Formed

Mayor Ed Lee signs into law legislation that creates a Mello Roos Community Facilities District (CFD) for the Transit Center District Plan (TCDP) area, which surrounds the new Transit Center. Developers choosing to upzone in the TCDP area must pay a special CFD tax to fund infrastructure needed to support upzoned (i.e. taller) buildings. The CFD represents a major new funding source for the Transbay Transit Center Program.

November 2014

Steel Assembly Begins

Bringing together thousands of steel elements manufactured and shopped at locations throughout the United States, assembly of the Transit Center’s steel superstructure begins in November 2014.  The iconic Transbay Transit Center begins to take shape above ground.

October 2014

Foundation Work Completed

The foundation of the Transbay Transit Center is completed just 6 years after groundbreaking.  The entire 5-foot thick, 4-block long mat slab foundation of the Transit Center is poured in an impressive 13 months.

July 2014

Bus Ramp Construction Begins

Work on the Transbay Transit Center’s new designated Bus Ramp begins with the demolition of existing footings.  When complete, the ramp will connect the Transit Center directly to the Bay Bridge, keeping Transbay buses off busy downtown streets, improving bus commute times, and reducing traffic congestion.

February 2014

Excavation Work Completed

After two years of work, excavation for the Transbay Transit Center is complete. A total of 640,000 cubic yards of material from digging, trenching and preparation for foundation is removed and leads to the discovery of numerous artifacts, including the tooth of an approximately 12,000 year old Columbian mammoth.

September 2013

First Concrete Pour for Permanent Foundation

First concrete is poured for the permanent foundation for the new facility. The 5-foot thick cement foundation requires 60,000 cubic yards of concrete to cover the excavation. The foundation is poured in 15 segments, each of which requires approximately 4,000 cubic yards of concrete.

August 2012

Transit Center District Plan Enacted

The Transit Center District Plan is enacted by the City of San Francisco in order to allow upzoning of certain land parcels in the area surrounding the new Transbay Transit Center and to generate revenues to fund infrastructure in the Transbay neighborhood, including substantial revenues for the Transbay Program.

July 2012

Governor Jerry Brown Signs Historic High Speed Rail Legislation at Transbay Site

At an event on the Transbay construction site, Governor Brown signs high-speed rail legislation that will create thousands of new jobs in California by providing $8 billion in funding from Prop 1A for construction of the first segment of high-speed rail and infrastructure upgrades on the Northern and Southern “bookends” in San Francisco and Los Angeles. This includes crucial funding to complete the electrification of Caltrain, which will ultimately serve to bring high speed-rail and Caltrain into the new Transbay Transit Center.

September 2011

Completion of Demolition of Former Transbay Terminal

Demolition phase of the Transit Center is completed on time and on budget. Demolition entailed nearly 55,000 hours of labor, all of which were completed without accident or injury. Approximately 88 percent of this work was completed using local labor who worked diligently to recycle more than 7,500 tons of steel and 92,000 cubic yards of concrete—enough to fill 28 Olympic size swimming pools.

Fall 2010

Demolition of East Loop (Phase II of Temporary Terminal) Completed

The second phase of the Temporary Terminal construction begins following demolition of the east loop over the Temporary Terminal site.  The removal of this outdated bus ramp allows construction of the Temporary Terminal to be completed and demolition of the Transbay Terminal to begin.

Fall 2010 – Spring 2011

Demolition of Existing Ramps and Transbay Terminal

August 2010

2010Demolition of the Transbay Terminal

Begin demolition of Transbay Terminal.  Begin construction of Phase I of the project, including the Transit Center building and Train Box.

August 2010

Construction of Temporary Terminal (Phase I of Temporary Terminal) completed.

Temporary Terminal opens.

2010 - 2017

2010-2017Construction of the new Transbay Transit Center