Futures | Plans + Projects | Our Work


When we plan for the future, what sort of future are we planning for?
Fog surrounds San Francisco, where only downtown skyscrapers and the Sutro Tower are visible.
Wilson Lam

Recognizing that new technologies, natural or manmade disasters, economic booms and busts, political volatility or other external forces may fundamentally alter the Bay Area’s future and prompt shifts in policy decisions, planners have developed a new initiative, tentatively called Futures, to explore the pressing issues and possible challenges Bay Area residents may face through 2050.

Between February 2018 and June 2019, the Futures initiative will allow the public, planners and policymakers to wrestle with a range of challenging questions that traditionally have been outside the regional planning process. These will likely include:

  • What might different levels of autonomous vehicle adoption mean for our pipeline of traditional transportation investments, and should we change course?
  • What strategies should we consider to better prepare our neighborhoods, business centers and other built infrastructure for increasingly frequent disasters?
  • How should the Bay Area respond if economic output, population and employment suddenly boom or bust?
  • What actions can the Bay Area take to improve our resilience to national and international geopolitical and economic shifts?

Futures will explore these questions by identifying a suite of potential external conditions and allow residents, planners and decision-makers alike to think through policy and investment solutions that make sense in each distinct future. Ultimately, policies and projects that perform well regardless of what happens in the decades ahead will be identified as top priorities going forward. This planning initiative will inform the next regional transportation and land use plan, a separate but closely related effort that will kick off in mid-2019.

Review the latest Futures presentation.

For more information on this effort, please contact the Futures project manager, David Vautin, at dvautin@bayareametro.gov.