Bay Trail Equity Strategy

The Bay Trail Equity Strategy looks at how to develop a Bay Trail that is accessible and welcoming to all people in the Bay Area.

Karl Nielsen

Rooted in the Equity Platform

The Bay Trail Equity Strategy was created in response to the 2019 launch of the MTC Equity Platform. The Equity Platform is a process and a practice to advance equity throughout all the work that MTC does. This means centering equity throughout planning, investment, design, engagement, communications, marketing, evaluation and project delivery efforts.

Multi-Phase Strategy

The Bay Trail Equity Strategy is a multi-phase effort through 2024 to apply the Equity Platform to ongoing Bay Trail work.

The experiences and input received in Phase One and Phase Two will help inform the Phase Three: Action and Implementation Plan as well as the Bay Trail Strategic Plan and other upcoming projects under the Bay Trail Work Program. 

Phase Two: 2023

Phase Two of the Bay Trail Equity Strategy was focused on the Listen and Learn pillar of MTC’s Equity Platform.

MTC’s Bay Trail team partnered with Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition (SVBC), Bike East Bay in partnership with Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program (BORP), and San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) in partnership with San Francisco Parks Alliance and Rafiki Coalition. Each group took their own approach to engagement, with a focus on how to increase access and belonging at the Bay Trail for Equity Priority Communities and people with marginalized identities. Engagement activities included listening sessions, surveys, bike repairs clinics, bikes rides, walk and roll audits, and tabling at community events.

What we heard:

  • Appreciations for the Bay Trail’s peaceful natural spaces, wildlife, views of and connection to the Bay, respite from urban developed areas, unique public art and enhanced safety that comes from walking and rolling with others in spaces that are separated from traffic.
  • Lack of safe bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in getting to the Bay Trail is a major barrier. So are a lack of transit stops and vehicle parking at the trail.
  • People more frequently use and feel connected to segments of the Bay Trail that they can easily get to, even if they are further away from where they live.
  • People feel more connected to segments of the Bay Trail that are adjacent to parks, have views of the Bay, and are well maintained, have amenities, signage, wayfinding and art.
  • To make people feel more welcome and increase the sense of belonging at the Bay Trail, more programming is needed. Suggestions included events, wellness programs, affinity group rides and walks, and wildlife talks and tours.
  • Superfund sites near the trail need to be prioritized and cleaned up before new Bay Trail segments to fill the connection gaps are built.

Phase One: 2022

Phase One tackled the foundational Equity Platform steps of “listening and learning” and “defining and measuring.” The study team reviewed historic literature, analyzed socio-demographic data, and interviewed community leaders and organizers. 

Through this process, the Bay Trail Equity Strategy looks at how history impacts present-day Bay Shoreline communities. This foundational understanding is intended to help Bay Trail decision-makers:

  • Understand and address historic inequities,
  • Avoid repeating and reinforcing mistakes of the past, and
  • Develop an accessible and welcoming Bay Trail for all Bay Area residents and visitors.

The process and findings are compiled in the Bay Trail Equity Strategy Phase One History and Existing Conditions Study.

Findings from this report will be integrated into the Bay Trail work program, and later phases of the Bay Trail Equity Strategy.

Staff Contact

Lily Brown, Equitable and Active Transportation
Phone: 415-778-6721
Email: lbrown@bayareametro.gov


In April 2022, MTC leadership laid out a new vision for the Bay trail with a commitment to operationalize the Equity Platform within the Bay Trail work program. The Bay Trail Equity Strategy emerged as a result of the Equity Platform and this commitment.


Agencies that are partnering on the development of the Bay Trail Equity Strategy partners include:

  • Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program
  • Bike East Bay
  • Rafiki Coalition
  • San Francisco Bicycle Coalition
  • San Francisco Parks Alliance
  • Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition