CAR-LESS California

CAR-LESS California Banner with USFS, USFWS, BLM, and NPS logos.

The Pacific Southwest Region of the Forest Service received a planning grant from the Federal Transit Administration under the Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks (TRIP) Program to begin planning for alternative transportation in California.

This project has been initiated to make sure that our collective efforts in California not only move toward conserving our precious public land resources, but also address the barriers that California's underserved populations face in pursuing their outdoor-recreation preferences.

CAR-LESS Guiding Principles

  1. Advancing a Seamless-Service Approach to Outdoor Recreation Services
  2. Extending Transit in Parks Opportunities to Underserved Communities
  3. Adopting a Planning and Implementation Horizon that Supports Sustainability
  4. Engaging Strategic Partners, Stakeholders, Technical Support, and Expertise
  5. Orchestrating the Convergence of Program Offerings
  6. Pursuing Meaningful Outdoor Experiences
  7. Nurturing the Promise of the Next Generation of Recreation Professionals
  8. Promoting Social Sustainability through Increased Individual and Community Health
  9. Promoting Economic Sustainability of Transportation Systems,
    Affected Communities and Recreation Areas
  10. Promoting Environmental Sustainability by Protecting and Enhancing the
    Natural, Cultural and Historic Resources for the Benefit and Enjoyment of Future Generations

CAR-LESS California Projects

Central California

Central California Regional Planning (2012-2014) identified seven promising corridors for further analysis with three corridor projects underway (2016-present):

  • South Sacramento to South Lake Tahoe corridor.
  • Central Valley to Yosemite National Park and sorrounding FLMA destinations corridor.
  • Bay Area and inland Monterey County to Big Sur corridor.
  • Alternative Transit Exploration Tracks in Sierra Nevada Geotourism Mapguide in partnership with Sierra Business Council and CAR-LESS California enhancements in Transit to Trails in partnership with Trailhead Labs.

Phase I

The first step (Tier 1) of  Phase I (mapping existing conditions, identifing potential regional transit networks, and making recommendations for the next step Tier 2, transit corridor planning), has been completed. Final reports are forthcoming. The draft technical memos are available at the following links.

Southern California

Southern California Regional Planning is identifying community hubs and destinations corridors (2014-present).

  • CAR-LESS provided a one-time grant to the Angeles National Forest and San Gabriel National Mountains Monument to study the feasibility to implement a short-term pilot shuttle that would provide alternative transportation into heavily recreated forest areas.

Northern California

  • Northern California is the site of a project based on CAR-LESS California principles and the California Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights.

San Gabriel Mountains National Monument - CAR-LESS California Transit Transformation Pilot Project

Currently, Southern California Regional Planning is identifying community hubs and destination corridors in Tier 1 (regional) planning. We can complement that effort with a high value Tier 2 (corridor) planning effort to assess the feasibility of a shuttle or similar NPV (non-personal vehicle) transit system between El Pueblo de Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument (SGMNM). This "proof of concept" project will facilitate improved connectivity with the SGMNN by using one or more o fthe CAR-LESS California Transit Transformation Tools. Specifically, this effort will design, pilot-test and evaluate the feasibility and desirability of linking an urban LA transit hub with the SGMNM via alternative or NPV transit. We propose to:

  • Develop preliminary cost estimates for various ATS or NPV transit from El Pueblo de Los Angeles to the newly designated San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.
  • Engage communities of interest (e.g., Southern California Consortium (SCC), Generation Green, Youth Corps, university students, neighborhood groups) in the design and implementation of "proof-of-concept" field trials for ATS or NPV.
  • Coordinate with other CAR-LESS California efforts in Central and Southern California.
  • Prepare a Technical Memorandum about the pilot projects to add to the CAR-LESS California library.

Original Project Plan

Due to funding changes under the transportation bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21th Century (MAP-21), additional TRIP Program funding will no longer be available. As a result, the original CAR-LESS California Project Plan may not be fully funded and the project team is in the process of redesigning plans to maximize accomplishments with remaining funding. For information, the original project plan is available here.


For any questions regarding CAR-LESS projects, initiatives or updates please contact Marissa Ibarra,