Priority Development Areas | Plans + Projects | Our Work

Priority Development Areas

Priority Development Areas, commonly known as PDAs, are areas within existing communities that local city or county governments have identified and approved for future growth. These areas typically are accessible by one or more transit services; and they are often located near established job centers, shopping districts and other services.

Rail Corridor Transit-Oriented Development area in San Mateo
Housing at the Bay Meadows development, a PDA site in San Mateo.

Open Call for Letters of Interest for New or Modified PDAs

More than 70 city and county governments have voluntarily designated some 170 locations around the Bay Area as PDAs.

Plan Bay Area projects that PDAs will accommodate over two-thirds of all housing and employment growth through the year 2040 — on less than 5 percent of the Bay Area’s land.

Get more details about PDAs in Plan Bay Area 2040.

The Bay Area’s nine counties and 101 cities control the PDA selection process.

Neither MTC nor ABAG has any land-use authority.

City and county governments are responsible for the manner in which their local communities will be developed; they are not required to designate PDAs.

PDAs are expected to accommodate 78 percent of new housing production (over 500,000 units) and 62 percent of employment growth (almost 700,000 jobs) in the Bay Area through the year 2040.

As a result, the region’s big cities — San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland in particular — are expected to get bigger, while smaller cities, single-family neighborhoods and rural areas retain their scale and character.

MTC's PDA Planning Program provides grants to cities and counties to help them develop local land-use plans and policies for areas surrounding future rail stations and ferry terminals.

Established in 2005, the program originally was known as the Station Area Planning Grant Program following the Commission's adoption of a Regional Transit Expansion Policy as part of the Regional Transit Expansion Program (Resolution 3434).

Plans must address the following elements:

  • Station Area Profile
  • Community Engagement
  • Land-use planning within a half-mile radius of the station
  • Market demand analysis
  • Affordable housing strategy
  • Multi-modal connectivity including pedestrian-friendly design standards
  • Strategies to ensure accessibility for people with disabilities
  • Parking demand analysis
  • Infrastructure development
  • Implementation plan and financing strategies

For a more complete description, review this summary of PDA planning elements.

To review completed PDA or Station Area plans, search the Digital Library for Completed PDA Plans.

MTC's PDA Technical Assistance Program helps city and county governments advance transit-oriented developments in Priority Development Areas.

The program provides customized in-kind technical assistance to help local governments meet specific policy or planning challenges in these areas.

Cities and counties must compete to qualify for the PDA Technical Assistance Program.

To review earlier Technical Assistance Program commitments, search the Digital Library for Completed PDA Technical Assistance projects.