Association of
Bay Area Governments
Bay Area Air Quality Management District Bay Conservation and Development Commission Metropolitan Transportation Commission
Preserving the Bay Area's quality
of life through collaborative planning

List of Terms

AB 32

ABAG

ABAG Regional Planning Committee

BAAQMD

Bay Area Partnership

Bay Plan

BCDC

Call for Projects

Caltrans

Capital Funds

CEQA

CEQA Guidelines

Clean Air Plan

Climate Change

CMAs

CO2

COG

Committed Projects

Committed Revenues

Conformity

Congestion Pricing

CTC

Detailed Scenarios

EIR

Environmental Justice

Equity Analysis

Equity Working Group

Executive Working Group

FHWA

Financial Constraint

Flexible Funding

FOCUS

FPI

FTA

Global Warming

Greenhouse Gases

HOV Lane

Initial Vision Scenario

JPC

Land Use Model

MPO

MTC

Non-Committed Projects

Paratransit

PCA

PDA

Performance Measures

Place Types

Plan Bay Area

Planning Directors Forums

PM

Potential New Revenues

Preferred Scenario

Program

RAWG

Resolution No. 3434

RHNA

RTIP

RTP

Sales Tax Authority

SB 375

Smart Growth

STIP

Sustainability

Sustainable Communities Strategy

Title VI

TLC

TOD

TOD Policy

Travel Model

Value Pricing

VMT

AB 32

Assembly Bill 32: The California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006; state legislation requiring a statewide reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels or lower by the year 2020.

ABAG

The Association of Bay Area Governments: (ABAG) is the official Council of Governments and regional land use planning agency representing the San Francisco Bay Area's nine counties and 101 cities and towns. Formed in 1961, ABAG provides research and analysis, financial services, and other cost-effective local government service programs and builds partnerships to address regional economic, social and environmental challenges. 

ABAG Regional Planning Committee

This committee studies and submits matters to the ABAG Executive Board regarding: Plan Bay Area; environmental management, housing, and infrastructure planning; special plans and reports from planning task forces or other regional agencies; comprehensive planning policies and procedures; and such other matters as may be assigned by the Executive Board. Members include a minimum of 18 elected officials, including at least one supervisor from each member county and a city representative from each county, as well as not less than 10 citizens representing business, minority, economic development, recreation/open space, environment, public interest, housing, special districts and labor interests.

BAAQMD

Bay Area Air Quality Management District (Also known as the Air District, since the acronym seems to take longer to say than the full name): Regulates industry and employers to keep air pollution in check and sponsors programs to clean the air. The Air District also works with MTC, ABAG and BCDC on issues that affect transportation, land use and air quality.

Bay Area Partnership

Often referred to simply as “The Partnership,” this is a confederation of the top staff of various transportation agencies in the region, including MTC, public transit operators, county congestion management agencies (CMAs), city and county public works departments, ports, Caltrans and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) as well as environmental protection agencies. The Partnership works by consensus to improve the overall efficiency and operation of the Bay Area’s transportation network, including developing strategies for financing transportation improvements.

Bay Plan

The San Francisco Bay Plan guides policies for future uses of the Bay and its shoreline. The first San Francisco Bay Plan was completed and adopted by the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission in 1968, and it is periodically updated. The two main objectives are: 1) Protect the Bay as a great natural resource for the benefit of present and future generations, and 2) Develop the Bay and its shoreline to their highest potential with a minimum of Bay filling. BCDC will be releasing a revised recommendation on amendments to the Bay Plan to prepare for inevitable sea-level rise and storm surges affecting areas on and near the Bay shoreline due to climate change.

BCDC

San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission: A state-established agency with jurisdiction over dredging and filling of San Francisco Bay and limited jurisdiction over development within 100 feet of the Bay.

Call for Projects

Regional agencies use this procedure to solicit competing bids from counties, cities, transit agencies, community-based organizations and other stakeholders for projects to be funded as part of long-range plans, such as Transportation 2035 or Plan Bay Area.

Caltrans

California Department of Transportation: The state agency that maintains and operates California’s highway system.

Capital Funds

Moneys to cover one-time costs for construction of new projects — such as roads, bridges, bicycle/pedestrian paths, transit lines and transit facilities — to expand the capacity of the transportation system, or to cover the purchase of buses and rail cars.

CEQA

California Environmental Quality Act: This statute requires state and local agencies to identify the significant environmental impacts of their actions and to avoid or mitigate those impacts, if feasible.

CEQA Guidelines

The Air District’s CEQA Guidelines are developed to assist local jurisdictions and lead agencies in complying with the requirements of CEQA regarding potentially adverse impacts to air quality. The primary purpose is to provide a means to identify proposed local plans and development projects that may have a significant adverse effect on air quality and public health.

The Air District’s CEQA Guidelines, updated in June 2010, recommend air quality significance thresholds, analytical methodologies and mitigation measures for local agencies to use when preparing air quality impact analyses under CEQA. The updated CEQA Guidelines seek to better protect the health and well-being of Bay Area residents by addressing new health protective air quality standards, exposure to toxic air contaminants, and adverse effects from global climate change.

Clean Air Plan

At a public hearing on September 15, 2010, the Air District Board of Directors adopted the final Bay Area 2010 Clean Air Plan (CAP), and certified the Final Environmental Impact Report on the CAP. The 2010 CAP serves to update the Bay Area ozone plan in compliance with the requirements of the Chapter 10 of the California Health & Safety Code. In addition, the 2010 CAP provides an integrated, multi-pollutant strategy to improve air quality, protect public health, and protect the climate.

Climate Change

Climate change refers to changes in the Earth’s weather patterns, including the rise in the Earth’s average temperature due to an increase in heat-trapping or “greenhouse gases” (GHGs) in the atmosphere. Climate scientists agree that climate change is a man-made problem caused by the burning of fossil fuels like petroleum and coal. Transportation accounts for about 40 percent of the Bay Area’s GHG emissions. Climate change is expected to significantly affect the Bay Area’s public health, air quality and transportation infrastructure through sea level rise and extreme weather.

CMAs

Congestion Management Agencies: Countywide agencies responsible for preparing and implementing a county’s Congestion Management Program. CMAs came into existence as a result of state legislation and voter approval of Proposition 111 in 1990. Subsequent legislation made them optional. Most Bay Area counties still have them. Many CMAs double as a county’s sales tax authority.

CO2

Carbon dioxide: A gas that is emitted naturally through the carbon cycle or through human activities. The largest source of CO2 globally is the combustion of fossil fuels (such as coal, oil and gas) in power plants, automobiles, industrial facilities and other sources. In the Bay Area, the single largest source of CO2 emissions, some 41 percent, comes from transportation sources.

COG

A council of government (COG) is a multi-service entity with state and locally-defined boundaries that delivers a variety of federal, state and local programs while continuing its function as a planning organization, technical assistance provider and "visionary" to its member local governments. As such, they are accountable to local units of government and effective partners for state and federal governments.

Committed Projects

Projects that are currently under construction or design with 100 percent committed revenues, as well as projects that will be funded 100 percent with local sales tax revenues.

Committed Revenues

Funds that are directed to a specific entity or for a specific purpose as mandated by statute or by the administering agency.

Conformity

A process in which transportation plans and spending programs are reviewed to ensure they are consistent with federal clean air requirements; transportation projects collectively must not worsen air quality.

Congestion Pricing

A policy designed to allocate roadway space more efficiently by charging drivers a fee that varies with the level of traffic on a congested roadway. (See also Value Pricing.)

CTC

California Transportation Commission: A state-level commission, consisting of nine members appointed by the governor, which establishes priorities and allocates funds for highway, passenger rail and transit investments throughout California. The CTC adopts the State Transportation Improvement Program, or STIP, and implements state transportation policy.

Detailed Scenarios

Following development of the Initial Vision Scenario, detailed scenarios that account for available revenues will be developed, analyzed and discussed as part of the Plan Bay Area process. (See also Initial Vision Scenario and Preferred Scenario.)

EIR

Environmental Impact Report: State law requires that an EIR shall be prepared if there is substantial evidence that a project may have a significant effect on the environment. A draft EIR shall be included as part of the review and approval process whenever a public hearing is held on the project. Following adoption of a final EIR, the lead agency makes a decision whether to proceed with the project.

Environmental Justice

This term stems from a Presidential Executive Order to promote equity for disadvantaged communities and promote the inclusion of racial and ethnic populations and low-income communities in decision-making. Local and regional transportation agencies must ensure that services and benefits, as well as burdens, are fairly distributed to avoid discrimination.

Equity Analysis

Consistent with federal requirements for environmental justice, MTC and ABAG will conduct an equity analysis covering Plan Bay Area to determine how the benefits and burdens of the plan’s investment strategy affect minority and low-income communities.

Equity Working Group

This Equity Working Group was set up to advise MTC and ABAG staff in developing of an equity analysis related to low income and minority communities of concern for Plan Bay Area. It consists of representatives from MTC’s Policy Advisory Council (PAC) and the Regional Advisory Working Group (RAWG) The group is identifying some of the key issues and challenges for the region to grow equitably to help meet the sustainability goals as Plan Bay Area is developed. (See also Equity Analysis.)

Executive Working Group

The Executive Working Group — including city managers, congestion management agency directors, regional agency executives, transit officials and others — was formed to provide a forum for input on technical and policy issues surrounding development of Plan Bay Area. The Executive Working Group met on June 7, 2010. Additional meeting times/locations as well as meeting materials will be posted on the OneBayArea website.

FHWA

Federal Highway Administration: U.S. Department of Transportation agency responsible for administering the federal highway aid program to individual states, and helping to plan, develop and coordinate construction of federally funded highway projects. FHWA also governs the safety of hazardous cargo on the nation’s highways.

Financial Constraint

A federal requirement that long-range transportation plans include only projects that have a reasonable expectation of being funded, based upon anticipated revenues. In other words, long-range transportation plans cannot be pie-in-the-sky wish lists of projects. They must reflect realistic assumptions about revenues that will likely be available during the 25 years covered in the plan.

Flexible Funding

Unlike funding that flows only to highways or only to transit by a rigid formula, this is money that can be invested in a range of transportation projects. Examples of flexible funding categories include the Surface Transportation Program (STP) and the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) program.

FOCUS

A regional planning initiative spearheaded by ABAG in cooperation with MTC, and in coordination with the Air District and BCDC. The goal of FOCUS was to protect open space and natural resources while encouraging infill development in existing communities. (See also PCA and PDA.)

FPI

Freeway Performance Initiative: MTC’s effort to improve the operations, safety and management of the Bay Area’s freeway network via deploying system management strategies, completing the HOV lane system, addressing regional freight issues and closing key freeway infrastructure gaps.

FTA

Federal Transit Administration: U.S. Department of Transportation agency that provides financial and planning assistance to help plan, build and operate rail, bus and paratransit systems. The agency also assists in the development of local and regional traffic reduction programs.

Global Warming

See Climate Change.

Greenhouse Gases

Any of the gases — including carbon dioxide, methane and ozone — whose absorption of solar radiation is responsible for the greenhouse effect, in which the atmosphere allows incoming sunlight to pass through but absorbs heat radiated back from the earth’s surface. Greenhouse gases act like a heat-trapping blanket in the atmosphere, causing climate change.

HOV Lane

High-Occupancy-Vehicle Lane: The technical term for a carpool lane, commuter lane or diamond lane.

Initial Vision Scenario

As part of Plan Bay Area, the Initial Vision Scenario articulates the Bay Area’s vision of future land uses and assesses its performance relative to statutory greenhouse gas and housing targets as well as other voluntary performance targets. The Initial Vision Scenario served as a starting point for the development, analysis and discussion of detailed scenario alternatives that led to a preferred scenario in spring 2012. Another reason the Initial Vision Scenario was just a starting point is because it was unconstrained by available revenues. (See also Detailed Scenarios and Preferred Scenario.)

JPC

Joint Policy Committee: This consortium coordinates the regional planning efforts of ABAG, the Air District, BCDC and MTC.

Land Use Model

Used by researchers and planners to identify expected population, jobs and housing growth and to understand the interactions between land use, transportation, and the economy. Models help planners analyze and test various spatial distributions of jobs, population and land uses and describe to policy-makers and the public about the relationship between land use and transportation.

MPO

Metropolitan Planning Organization: A federally required planning body responsible for the transportation planning and project selection in its region; the governor designates an MPO in every urbanized area with a population of over 50,000. MTC is the Bay Area’s MPO.

MTC

Metropolitan Transportation Commission: The transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine counties of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Non-Committed Projects

Projects that seek discretionary funds from Plan Bay Area, as well as projects that have not yet completed an environmental impact report (EIR).

Paratransit

Door-to-door bus, van and taxi services used to transport elderly and disabled riders. Paratransit is sometimes referred to as dial-a-ride service, since trips are made according to demand instead of along a fixed route or according to a fixed schedule.

PCA

Priority Conservation Area: Regionally significant open spaces for which there exists a broad consensus for long-term protection and for which public funds may be invested to promote their protection. These areas were identified through the FOCUS program.

PDA

Priority Development Area: Locations within existing communities that present infill development opportunities, and are easily accessible to transit, jobs, shopping and services. Local jurisdictions identified these locations voluntarily through the FOCUS program.

Performance Measures

Indicators of how well the transportation system or specific transportation projects will improve transportation conditions.

Place Types

A place type groups neighborhoods or centers with similar sustainability characteristics and physical and social qualities, such as the scale of housing buildings, frequency and type of transit, quality of the streets, concentration of jobs, and range of services. For Plan Bay Area, Place Types are a tool of local-regional exchange to identify places and policies for sustainable development. Bay Area jurisdictions can select a place type to indicate their desired level of growth in the Sustainable Communities Strategy.

Plan Bay Area

Plan Bay Area is one of our region’s most comprehensive planning efforts to date. It is a joint effort led by ABAG and MTC in partnership with BAAQMD and BCDC. All four agencies are collaborating at an unprecedented level to produce a more integrated land use-transportation plan.

Planning Directors Forums

These are regularly scheduled meetings of local planning directors and staff in each county. Local and countywide issues of concern are discussed, and the forums act as a platform for information sharing. Other participants include congestion management agencies (CMAs) and staff from local community and economic development and public works departments.

PM

Particulate Matter: A mixture of tiny solid and liquid particles – such as those from dust, dirt, soot or smoke – that are found in the air. When inhaled, these particles can settle deep in the lungs and cause serious health problems.

Potential New Revenues

Funds that may be available for transportation investment in the future if proposed new revenue sources are approved. These potential revenues are not included in the financially constrained portion of long-term transportation plans and Plan Bay Area.

Preferred Scenario

Consideration of the detailed scenario alternatives led to a preferred scenario in early 2012. (See also Detailed Scenarios and Initial Vision Scenario.)

Program

(1) verb, to assign funds to a project that has been approved by MTC, the state or another agency, and (2) noun, a system of funding for implementing transportation projects or policies.

RAWG

Regional Advisory Working Group: An advisory group set up to advise staff of ABAG, MTC, BAAQMD and BCDC on development of Plan Bay Area. Its membership includes staff representatives of local jurisdictions (CMAs, planning directors, transit operators, public works agencies) as well as representatives from the business, housing, environmental and social-justice communities.

Resolution No. 3434

MTC adopted Resolution 3434 in December 2001 to establish clear priorities for the investment of transit expansion funds over the next decade. It focused on identifying high-priority rail and express/rapid bus improvements to serve the Bay Area’s most congested corridors.

RHNA

Regional Housing Needs Allocation: The Regional Housing Needs Allocation process is a state mandate regarding planning for housing in California. ABAG is responsible for allocating this state-determined regional housing need among all of the Bay Area’s nine counties and 101 cities. Factors used by ABAG in its allocation process include projected household growth, existing employment and projected employment growth, and projected household and employment growth near transit.

RTIP

Regional Transportation Improvement Program: A listing of highway, local road, transit and bicycle projects that the region hopes to fund; compiled by MTC every two years from priority lists submitted by local jurisdictions. The California Transportation Commission (CTC) must either approve or reject the RTIP in its entirety. Once the CTC approves an RTIP, it is combined with those from other regions to comprise 75 percent of the funds in the State Transportation Improvement Program or STIP. (Also see “STIP.”)

RTP

Regional Transportation Plan: A master plan to guide the region’s transportation investments for a 25-year period. Updated every three years, it is based on projections of growth in population and jobs and the ensuing travel demand. Required by state and federal law, it includes programs to better maintain, operate and expand transportation. The Bay Area’s most recent update of its long-range transportation plan, is known as Transportation 2035. The next RTP will be included as part of Plan Bay Area.

Sales Tax Authority

An agency that administers a voter-approved county transportation sales tax program; in most Bay Area counties, the congestion management agency (CMA) also serves as the sales tax authority.

SB 375

Senate Bill 375 (Steinberg): SB 375 became law in 2008. It includes two main statutory requirements and a host of voluntary measures. It is designed to complement AB 32, which requires the state to reduce its GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The first requirement is to reduce per-capita carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from cars and light duty trucks, primarily by building more compact communities with better access to mass transit and other amenities, so people have more transportation choices and do not have to drive as much. The second requirement is to house 100 percent of the region’s projected 25-year population growth, regardless of income level.

Smart Growth

A set of policies and programs designed to protect, preserve and economically stimulate established communities, while protecting valuable natural and cultural resources and limiting sprawl.

STIP

State Transportation Improvement Program: What the California Transportation Commission (CTC) ends up with after combining various RTIPs, as well as a list of specific projects proposed by Caltrans. Covering a five-year span and updated every two years, the STIP determines when and if transportation projects will be funded by the state. Projects included in the STIP must be consistent with the long-range transportation plan.

Sustainability

Sustainability means doing things and using resources in ways that protect them so they will be available for current and future generations. The “Three E” goals of sustainability are Economy, Environment and Equity. Sustainability is all about helping support a prosperous and globally competitive economy, providing for a healthy and safe environment, and producing equitable opportunities for all Bay Area residents.

Sustainable Communities Strategy

The Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) is an integrated land use and transportation plan that all metropolitan regions in California must complete under Senate Bill 375. In the San Francisco Bay Area this integration includes ABAG’s Projections and Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) and MTC’s Regional Transportation Plan (RTP).

Title VI

Refers to Title VI of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, and requires that transportation planning and programming be nondiscriminatory on the basis of race, color and national origin. Integral to Title VI is the concept of environmental justice.

TLC

Transportation for Livable Communities: Program created by MTC in 1998 to fund small-scale, community- and transit-oriented projects that improve neighborhood vitality.

TOD

Transit-Oriented Development: A type of development that links land use and transit facilities to support the transit system and help reduce sprawl, traffic congestion and air pollution. It includes housing, along with complementary public uses (jobs, retail and services), located at a strategic point along a regional transit system, such as a rail hub.

TOD Policy

To promote cost-effective transit, ease regional housing shortages, create vibrant communities and preserve open space, MTC adopted a Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Policy in 2005 that applies to transit extension projects in the Bay Area. Research shows that residents living within half a mile of transit are much more likely to use it, and that large job centers within a quarter mile of transit draw more workers on transit.

Travel Model

Used by researchers and planners for simulating current travel conditions and for forecasting future travel patterns and conditions. Models help planners and policy-makers analyze the effectiveness and efficiency of alternative transportation investments in terms of performance, such as mobility, accessibility, environmental and equity impacts.

Value Pricing

The concept of assessing higher prices for using certain transportation facilities during the most congested times of the day, in the same way that airlines offer off-peak discounts and hotel rooms cost more during prime tourist seasons. Also known as congestion pricing and peak-period pricing, examples of this concept include higher bridge tolls during peak periods or charging single-occupant vehicles that want to use carpool lanes. (See also Congestion Pricing.)

VMT

One vehicle (whether a car carrying one passenger or a bus carrying 30 people) traveling one mile constitutes a vehicle mile. VMT is one measure of the use of Bay Area freeways and roads.