Regional agencies in the Bay Area have developed a number of policies and programs that
encourage growth in existing communities, promote better connections between land use and
transportation, and protect the environment. These policies and programs seek to foster
development of complete neighborhoods that offer a range of housing choices and allow
residents increased opportunities for walking, bicycling, and transit use.
The Association of Bay Area Governments' (ABAG)
Research & Forecasting
Center is the Bay Area regional agency responsible for producing population,
household, jobs, labor force, and income projections for the entire San Francisco Bay
Area. Other Bay Area regional agencies, such as the
Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC)
and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (Air District),
use ABAG's forecast in their regional transportation and air quality regulatory and program
The regional forecasts, or projections, are also widely used for local land use planning
and by individuals and organizations examining their long-term planning and policy
objectives in the Bay Area.
Population growth for the region is projected through an extensive demographic and
economic modeling process. Unique to the Bay Area, however, is that since 2003 the
region's projections are now "policy-based." This means that ABAG's projections include a
set of policy assumptions that are based on the region's principles for growth.
The projections assume that, over time, State, regional, and local policies and programs
will change in a way that shifts new growth toward areas near transit and existing downtowns. These policies and programs are assumed to have an increasing effect over the thirty year forecast horizon.
Transportation & Land Use Platform
MTC included a Transportation/Land-Use Platform in its 2030 Regional Transportation
Plan (RTP). Developed in response to an extensive outreach effort by MTC, this platform
encourages a stronger linkage between transportation and land use planning. The
Transportation/Land Use Platform is designed to encourage land use policies and practices
that maximize walking, bicycling, transit ridership, and other forms of high-occupancy-vehicle
travel, while diminishing the need to travel long distances and reducing vehicle-related
Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Policy
In July 2005, MTC approved a
Transit-Oriented Development Policy that establishes planned housing-unit thresholds
that corridors slated for transit expansions or extensions will have to meet in order
to qualify for regional discretionary funding. The policy also provides a funding
program for station-area specific plans to assist corridors in meeting their thresholds.
FOCUS is a regional incentive-based development
and conservation strategy for the Bay Area. FOCUS unites the efforts of four regional
agencies—ABAG, MTC, the Air District, and the Bay Conservation and Development
Commission (BCDC)—into a single program that encourages future growth in areas
near transit and within the communities that surround the San Francisco Bay.
Concentrating housing in these areas offers housing and transportation choices for all
residents, while helping to reduce traffic, protect the environment, and enhance
Regional Housing Needs
The Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA)
process is a state mandate designed to address the need for housing throughout the state.
As part of RHNA, the State requires each jurisdiction to plan for its share of the region's
housing need, for people of all income categories. The Bay Area's regional housing need is
specified by the California State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD)
and finalized through negotiations with ABAG. ABAG then allocates a portion of the regional
need, for all income groups, to every jurisdiction in the Bay Area. The jurisdictions must
then plan for that need in their local housing elements, which are eventually certified
MTC Transportation for Livable Communities (TLC) &
Housing Incentives Program (HIP)
The purpose of MTC's Transportation for Livable Communities (TLC)
Capital and Planning Program is to support community-based transportation projects that
bring new vibrancy to downtown areas, commercial cores, neighborhoods, and transit
corridors by enhancing their amenities and ambiance and making them places where people
want to live, work, and visit. TLC provides funding for projects that are developed
through an inclusive community planning effort, provide for a range of transportation
choices, and support connectivity between transportation investments and land uses.
As part of the TLC program, the Housing Incentive Program (HIP) rewards local
governments that build housing near transit stops. The key objectives of
this program are to:
- Increase the housing supply in areas of the region with existing infrastructure
and services in place,
- Locate new housing where non-automotive transportation options are viable
transportation choices, and
- Establish the residential density and ridership markets necessary to support
high-quality transit service.
HIP funds are intended to be used for transportation capital projects that support TLC
goals. Typical capital projects include pedestrian and bicycle facilities that connect the
housing project to adjacent land uses and transit; improved sidewalks and crosswalks
linking the housing to a nearby community facility such as a school or a public park; or
streetscape improvements that support increased pedestrian, bicycle, and transit activities
ABAG has developed a "corridors program" to
encourage increased coordination of land use and transportation planning along three major
transportation corridors in the Bay Area: East 14th/International Boulevard, El Camino Real,
and San Pablo Avenue. Since these corridors are in existing communities with transit
services, they represent key areas with the potential to accommodate future growth
through infill development and increased housing densities.
Achieving the regional goals of promoting a more compact development pattern and
increasing connections between housing and transit services requires support from local
governments and community members. The Corridors Program is focused on realizing this
support and encouraging community engagement in neighborhood planning to promote land use
changes that increase housing and transportation choices in local communities.