Northern California Megaregion Goods Movement Study

MTC led the first study of the goods movement system to improve delivery of consumer products, food and parcels across the Northern California megaregion.

Noah Berger

In 2019, MTC led a comprehensive study of the Northern California goods movement system, which serves 19 counties and 147 cities, employs over 1.7 million workers, and contributes over $10 billion to the mega-region’s economic output.

For the Northern California Megaregion Goods Movement Study, the mega-region included the economically and geographically linked regions of the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, the Northern San Joaquin Valley and the Monterey Bay Area.

Study Priorities

The goal of the Goods Movement study was to provide Northern California agencies and stakeholders with the information they need to make future decisions about moving goods through their cities and across the region.

Identifying the priorities of freight-dependent industries in the Bay Area revealed that a collective approach would ensure a better, faster and more environmentally friendly transfer of goods.

What is a Megaregion?

Megaregions are cities and suburbs that have large populations, significant markets, a large economic capacity, substantial innovation and highly skilled talent. They are geographically adjacent to each other and their economies are linked.

Did You Know?

A “goods movement system” describes where and how goods are transported from the places where they are produced to their final destination.

A cargo ship loaded with colorful containers docks at the Port of Oakland.

Study Outcomes

The study focused on:

  • Understanding megaregional goods movement clusters and their needs
  • Transportation and land use challenges and opportunities
  • Goods movement workforce training challenges and opportunities
  • Identifying five to ten priority areas, along with strategies and implementation

Study Findings

The study demonstrated that collaborative planning across the megaregion could produce more cost effective outcomes.

Download the 2019 Northern California Megaregion Goods Movement Study.


This effort was a partnership between MTC, the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments, Sacramento Area Council of Governments, the San Joaquin Council of Governments and the California Department of Transportation.

The Northern California Freight Collaborative directed the study in coordination with the respective boards for MTC, and its partner agencies, to ensure a broad-based participation of stakeholders.

Which Groups Were Analyzed?

Recommendations were based on extensive technical analysis of the “cluster” of industries that forms the goods movement sector.

This included a broad engagement of multiple stakeholders, employers and business groups, local and regional economic development agencies, community organizations, workforce training entities, elected leaders and other partners.