The Bay Area in 2040: Planning Scenarios Show Options for Future Growth

ABAG and MTC are working to develop three land use and transportation scenarios as part of the update of the region’s long-range transportation and housing plan, known as Plan Bay Area 2040. What’s a scenario? Scenarios represent alternative futures based on distinct land use development patterns and transportation investment strategies.

Scenario Planning Approach

Plan Bay Area 2040’s scenarios will: 

  • Analyze and evaluate three planning scenarios designed to achieve Plan Bay Area 2040 goals
  • Inform the selection of a preferred scenario; and,
  • Be used in the Plan Bay Area Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR).

In October, ABAG and MTC held two workshops to get early input on initial scenario concepts, as well as on specific strategies for how to maximize the effectiveness of different scenarios. Some 80 participants attended the Regional Advisory Working Group (RAWG) workshop on October 6, representing a mix of staff from local planning agencies, transit operators, county congestion management agency staff, as well as leaders from business, building, environmental, public health and social justice organizations.  A number of members of MTC’s Policy Advisory Council also joined the dialogue.  Another 50 people attended the October 7 meeting of ABAG’s Regional Planning Committee, which included a range of public sector, nonprofit and community representatives as well as local elected officials. 

After a short overview of our Plan Bay Area 2040 scenario development approach, participants at the workshops had the opportunity to engage in small-group discussions around the draft scenario concepts. Participants were asked for their feedback on the draft scenario concepts, and their suggested housing, jobs and transportation policy strategies that would allow each scenario concept to be successful in achieving the same Plan Bay Area 2040 goals.  After reviewing the draft scenario concepts, workshop participants were then asked what they found most promising and most challenging, along with any other important issues for consideration in developing scenarios. For more details, view a recent memo to MTC’s Planning Committee and ABAG’s Administrative committee, including a summary of comments heard.

Spring 2016 Public Workshops Planned

Once refined, these scenario concept narratives will be released in early 2016, and then evaluated to understand the effects of different combinations of land use and transportation strategies on our shared goals and targets. A series of evening public workshops will be held in the spring of 2016 around the region. Public comments will be sought to inform the selection of a preferred scenario, which is slated to be approved by the ABAG Executive Board and MTC in June 2016.