General Transportation

The New San Bernardino County Transportation Authority Continues Its Decades-Long Commitment to Serving the High Desert


By Tim Watkins, SBCTA, Chief of Legislative and Public Affairs

The San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) has been a steady influence on the develop­ment of transportation improvements for decades. However, the commut­ers, residents and business owners of the High Desert may not realize that projects like the I-15/I-215 Devore Interchange, the La Mesa/Nisqualli and Ranchero Road interchanges, the Yucca Loma Corridor, and the Len­wood Road Grade Separation would not be possible without the efforts of this county-wide agency that serves as the Transportation Commission, the Transportation Authority, the Conges­tion Management Agency, the Service Authority for Freeway Emergencies, and a Council of Governments.

On January 1, 2017, this agency, re­sponsible for the delivery of so many quality-of-life aspects for its residents, began operating under a new name: The San Bernardino County Transpor­tation Authority or SBCTA.

Essentially, the legislative change to the agency is fairly simple in that functionally, it will still operate as it always has to meet its commitments to the voters of San Bernardino County. Senate Bill 1305 (Morrell) consolidat­ed its previous four transportation en­tities into the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority, clarifying the distinction between the transpor­tation-related efforts of the agency and its Council of Governments role. Simply put, the agency is a dual entity made up of the SBCTA and the San Bernardino Associated Governments, which now operates under the name San Bernardino Council of Govern­ments (SBCOG).

The re-naming development process began with a county-wide survey gauging the community’s perceptions, recognition, and project knowledge as it relates to the San Bernardino Asso­ciated Governments and “SANBAG.” Research showed that only about one-third of the 800 registered voters who were surveyed were familiar with the agency.

However, when those voters were shown the transportation projects the agency was responsible for, fa­vorability of the agency dramatically increased to 75% through connecting the dots to the improvements to the system. The insights gathered through the county-wide survey supported the need to successfully brand the SBCTA and rebrand the San Bernardino Asso­ciated Governments as the SBCOG, providing both entities the opportuni­ty to build a recognizable and positive brand identity that will resonate with residents and workers in the county for years to come.

The next step in the process was an exploration of branding the SBCTA. The hope was to develop a singular name that would help to clearly iden­tify the agency. Unfortunately, after the review of more than a dozen pos­sible names and naming conventions, a natural-flowing option that accu­rately covered the role of the SBCTA did not present itself. As a result, the effort moved forward with brand­ing the SBCTA acronym. Great de­tail went into the new brand concept, considering all aspects of our county (i.e. mountains, desert, lakes, valley, roads, etc.). The goal was to develop a brand that was fresh, modern, artistic, and innovative and evoked the feel­ings of development, movement, and evolution–all exceptional characteris­tics that the agency represents within San Bernardino County–and reflects the goals shared by those who live and work in the region.

Ultimately, three concepts were eval­uated for how well they provided an opportunity for flexibility with color scheme, graphical design, and the ability to give a brand identity to oth­er functions of our agency, all while committing to a consistent, recogniz­able logo. Considerations of integra­tion with our sister agencies in the re­gion (LA Metro, OCTA, and RCTC) and what that might look like on a partnership document were also strong factors to the final brand concept. The agency wanted something that would stand out from the other agencies but would not overwhelm. After a number of revisions and adjustments, a brand concept was presented to the SAN­BAG Board of Directors for final ap­proval, which was granted on Novem­ber 2, 2016.

Moving forward as the SBCTA, the agency remains committed to provid­ing the quality-of-life improvements it has been dedicated to since its incep­tion in 1973. Transportation improve­ments are a major part of the way our residents navigate the largest county in the United States. Expect that SBC­TA will continue to play a role in how commuters and travelers effectively move to and through the region, mak­ing the High Desert a great place to live, work, and play.