Plan Bay Area | Plans + Projects | Our Work

Plan Bay Area

Plan Bay Area was adopted by MTC and the Association of Bay Area Governments in 2013 to chart a course for transportation investment and land-use priorities for the next 25 years. This course largely was reaffirmed by the Commission's 2017 adoption of Plan Bay Area 2040.

Plan Bay Area logo with regional map int he background

Plan Bay Area was our first regional plan to incorporate a state-mandated Sustainable Communities Strategy.

State and federal law require us to update the regional transportation plan at least every four years to reflect new funding forecasts and adjust to new growth issues.

The next update, called Plan Bay Area 2040, was adopted in 2017.

State Law & Charting Our Course

California’s landmark Senate Bill 375 (2008) requires metro areas to meet targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks.

The Bay Area is expected to grow by 2 million people over the next 25 years. Plan Bay Area provided a roadmap for meeting 80 percent of the region's future housing needs in areas identified by local governments as Priority Development Areas, or PDAs.

The plan also specified how nearly $292 billion in anticipated federal, state and local funds will be spent through 2040.

Plan Bay Area is a cooperative effort between MTC and the Association of Bay Area Governments – or ABAG.

Access the current Plan Bay Area for complete details.

What is a Priority Development Area, or PDA for short?

PDAs are neighborhoods designated by city or county governments as preferred locations for new growth.

These neighborhoods typically are within walking distance of frequent transit service, and can accommodate a variety of housing options as well as amenities such as grocery stores, community centers and restaurants.

PDAs range from regional centers like downtown San Jose to suburban centers like Walnut Creek’s West Downtown area, and smaller town centers such as the Suisun City waterfront.


No. Plan Bay Area does not mandate any changes to local zoning, general plans or project review.

Each city and county in our region maintains control of its own decisions to adopt plans, and permit or deny development projects.

What MTC and our partners do is provide incentives for cities and counties to promote growth that will capitalize on our existing transportation network, and reduce the need to expand infrastructure into undeveloped parts of the region.

No single government agency can be expected to address all the critical components needed to create a stronger and more resilient Bay Area.

There must be a coordinated effort among diverse partners to promote:

  • Regional economic development
  • Adaptation to climate change
  • Preparation for natural disasters
  • Creative approaches to affordable housing
  • Cleaner air
  • Emerging transportation options

You have a voice. We invite you to be an active part of our region.