Frequently Asked Questions
What are ABAG and MTC, and what do they do?
The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) is the regional planning agency and council of governments (COG) serving the people who live and work in the 101 cities and towns of the Bay Area. ABAG was formed by local government leaders in 1961 who recognized the need to address common issues from a regional perspective.
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is the transportation planning, financing, and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. MTC works with Caltrans, city and county governments, more than two dozen transit agencies and other partners to ensure the regional transportation network operates as smoothly and efficiently as possible — now and in the future.
Per state law, MTC and ABAG share joint responsibility for Plan Bay Area 2050 and develop the Plan with local and regional partner agencies. This partnership is critical to advance the vision of the Plan, as many of the strategies necessary to make the Bay Area more affordable, connected, diverse, healthy and vibrant cannot be advanced by MTC and ABAG on their own.
Why are MTC and ABAG developing Plan Bay Area 2050?
Today’s Bay Area stands at a crossroads: housing costs continue to rise, traffic congestion is worsening, gaps in income inequality are growing and the region faces increasing risk from the effects of climate change. Global and national shifts both today and in the coming decades – from immigration and trade policies to driverless vehicles and earthquakes – may exacerbate these regional challenges, making the Bay Area’s future more uncertain than ever. Working closely with the public, as well as with partner agencies and policymakers, MTC and ABAG aim to develop a plan that will better prepare Bay Area residents for the many challenges the region may face through 2050.
ABAG and MTC are required to develop Plan Bay Area 2050 in order to satisfy federal and state planning requirements, and it must be updated every four years. Under Senate Bill 375, each of California’s metropolitan regions must develop long-range plans to meet greenhouse gas reduction targets set by the California Air Resources Board. Regions also must demonstrate that their plans accommodate all future projected households without further growth in in-commuting, or the amount of people traveling from neighboring areas to the region (i.e. from outside of the Bay Area to the Bay Area). Under federal law, among other requirements, regions must demonstrate that their plans are financially constrained and reflect reasonably anticipated transportation revenues over the coming decades.
While Plan Bay Area 2050 seeks to meet and exceed these requirements – and will ultimately serve as the Bay Area’s Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy – it is designed to illuminate a broader, more aspirational vision of what the Bay Area can become over the next generation.
What is the goal of Plan Bay Area 2050?
The goal of Plan Bay Area 2050 is to identify strategies to make the Bay Area more affordable, connected, diverse, healthy and vibrant for all. By prioritizing resilience and equity, Plan Bay Area 2050 strives to establish a vision for our dynamic region and to chart a better path forward – one that increasingly is resilient to future challenges.
How will Plan Bay Area 2050 be different from prior planning cycles?
Plan Bay Area 2050 will be a major update to the regional plan, and it takes a fresh approach when compared to our past plans: Plan Bay Area (2013) and Plan Bay Area 2040 (2017). Past regional planning efforts, in the Bay Area and across the country, have focused on developing a fixed set of assumptions for the future and then choosing the optimal strategies. However, we know that the Bay Area will face some unexpected challenges in the decades ahead. By leveraging nearly two years of work from the Horizon initiative, Plan Bay Area 2050 integrates the most resilient and equitable strategies in order to help prepare the Bay Area for a broad range of potential challenges. Plan Bay Area 2050 also incorporates economic and environmental issues more deeply into the Plan, and for the first time it will feature strategies to prepare for sea level rise and earthquakes. Lastly, Plan Bay Area 2050 integrates new regional revenue sources that may become available in the future, which could play a critical role in tackling the region's significant challenges, from growing commute times to rising sea levels.
While Plan Bay Area 2050 seeks to meet and exceed federal and state planning requirements – and ultimately will serve as the Bay Area’s Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy – it is designed to offer a more aspirational vision of what the Bay Area could become. In close coordination with local and regional partner agencies, we will work to implement the transformative ideas featured in the Plan starting in late 2021.
How can I get involved?
MTC and ABAG need you — and the nearly 8 million residents who call this nine-county region home — to participate in the Plan Bay Area 2050 process as we work together to develop the Bay Area’s next regional plan.
As Plan Bay Area 2050 is developed, ABAG and MTC will host a number of interactive community workshops, pop-up events, webinars, briefings for elected officials and public hearings, among other activities. MTC and ABAG warmly invite you to participate. Your feedback will help shape Plan Bay Area 2050.
To stay up-to-date on Plan Bay Area 2050, please subscribe to the Plan Bay Area 2050 mailing list. MTC and ABAG send out a monthly email update, highlighting work currently underway as well as offering a list of upcoming events and meetings. Sign up to receive email updates about Plan Bay Area 2050.