Priority Development Areas | Plans + Projects | Our Work

Priority Development Areas

Rail Corridor Transit-Oriented Development area in San Mateo
Housing at the Bay Meadows development, a PDA site in San Mateo.
Tuesday, December 15, 2020
Update

Now Open: Call for Letters of Interest for REAP & PDA Planning and Technical Assistance Grants

MTC and the Association of Bay Area Governments invite local governments to submit Letters of Interest for Technical Assistance and Planning Grants to support Housing Elements and other housing-supportive initiatives as well as Priority Development Areas (PDAs).

This solicitation combines the Regional Early Action Program (REAP) and Priority Development Area Program to streamline the application process and make the most of $12 million in available funding. Every jurisdiction, regardless of whether or not it has nominated a PDA, is entitled to non-competitive funding to support Housing Elements and other housing-supportive initiatives. All jurisdictions may also apply for competitive funding through the REAP and the PDA Programs, with PDA funding set aside for cities with PDAs.

Click here to apply online, or view the detailed guidance document.

About Priority Development Areas

Priority Development Areas are places near public transit planned for new homes, jobs and community amenities. Located in downtowns, along main streets and around rail stations, PDAs help the Bay Area reduce our reduce greenhouse gas emissions and solve our housing crisis. All PDAs are created and planned by local governments, which nominate eligible areas to the Association of Bay Area Governments for adoption.

PDAs promote greater equity for all by increasing access to housing, and economic and cultural opportunities, regardless of race or income. With a variety of mobility options, PDAs enable residents to live a car-free or car-light lifestyle. PDAs are located in places served by existing infrastructure, making the most of public investments and minimizing development impacts on communities and the environment.

Bay Area local governments have established more than 200 PDAs since 2008. Through the PDA Planning and Technical Assistance Grant programs, cities across the region have adopted plans for roughly 110,000 new homes and 200,000 jobs. The application window to establish new PDAs is currently closed.

Two PDA Designations

There are two types of PDAs:

  • Transit-Rich PDAs have high-quality transportation infrastructure already in place to support additional growth in their communities.
  • Connected Community PDAs offer basic transit services and have committed to policies that increase mobility options and reduce automobile travel.

PDA Eligibility Criteria

All PDAs must meet the following criteria:

  • Locally-nominated by a local government with land use authority
  • Infill location is fully contained within an existing urban area
  • The plan for significant housing growth and/or housing and employment growth is reflected by the local jurisdiction’s general plan or zoning ordinance and must be completed by 2025
  • Area been identified as a Transit-Rich or Connected Community

Additional criteria apply individually to Transit-Rich PDAs or Connected Community PDAs:

  • Transit-Rich PDAs:
    • At least 50% of the area is within 1/2 mile of any of the following:
      • An existing rail station or ferry terminal (with bus or rail service)
      • A bus stop with peak service frequency of 15 minutes or less
      • A planned rail station or planned ferry terminal (with bus or rail service) in the most recently adopted fiscally-constrained Regional Transportation Plan
  • Connected Community PDAs:
    • The entire area is within 1/2 mile of a bus stop with peak service of 30 minutes or less; and
    • Is beyond 1/2 mile of transit service that meets the “high quality transit” criteria as defined above for Transit-Rich PDAs; and
    • Meets at least one of the following:
      • At least 50% of the area is defined as a High Resource or Highest Resource on the most recent Opportunity Map adopted by HCD; or
      • At least 2 policies have been adopted to reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled, such as prioritization of bicycle and pedestrian planning projects.

MTC's PDA Planning and Technical Assistance Program allows local governments to create Specific Plans for PDAs or receive customized support to overcome obstacles to implementing a plan, such as or establishing design standards or updating transportation impact review. Review planning grant opportunities on the Technical Assistance page.

Plans funded through the program must be integrated into the local zoning code, be supported by a programmatic Environmental Impact Report (EIR), and address all of the PDA planning elements, which range from affordable housing to parking demand.

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

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

Plan Bay Area 2050: Exploring Challenging Questions

PDAs are an important part of Plan Bay Area 2050, a long-range plan which will provide a roadmap for accommodating growth in our region over the next three decades. Visit planbayarea.org to learn more about the plan.