Performance

Projects

Horizon Peer Exchange and Preliminary Futures

Horizon is an exciting new effort from MTC and ABAG to allow the public, planners and policymakers to wrestle with challenging questions about the external forces that could shape the Bay Area through 2050. Horizon will explore a range of pressing issues and attempt to put the region on sounder footing as it prepares for, and tries to shape, a trajectory that is both equitable and resilient to potential headwinds.

Horizon will identify a suite of potential external forces 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.

Currently, major Horizon work efforts have been directed towards establishing Guiding Principles that will help orient the process, as well as on identifying the futures themselves. Keep reading to find out more about the futures and watch the video above for additional background. Read More

Transportation

An Update on BART's "Fleet of the Future" and Train Control Modernization Project

BART Warm Springs Opening
Noah Berger

Earlier this year, the blog provided a sneak peek at the long-awaited first new BART rail cars rolling into service around the Bay Area – and, with them, the promise of smoother, quieter, more comfortable and more spacious train rides for commute-weary Bay Area residents. In that post, we went into some detail on MTC’s essential role in funding and supporting BART’s $4.2 billion “Fleet of the Future” project to purchase and deploy 1,081 new rail cars. 

But it’s worth stepping back a bit from the funding mechanics to get a better understanding of the difficult realities that make these new rail cars and other related modernization projects so essential: BART is the region’s backbone for Transbay traffic but the system is way past its intended capacity, it is operating on 45-year old equipment, its geographic footprint is growing, and projected regional housing and job growth patterns suggest future demand will only increase. 

Earlier this month, staff from BART presented to MTC's Programming and Allocations Committee and provided an overview of, and update on, the expansion and modernization projects that BART is undertaking to increase capacity and meet future demand. Read More

Policy

Chew on This: Federal Performance Targets (Comments Due by April 17, 2018)

Image of freeway congestion in the vicinity of Danville, CA.
Noah Berger
One of the performance targets under consideration measures traffic congestion, expressed as annual hours of peak-hour excessive delay per capita.

Here’s a question only a policy wonk could love: Should a performance target be achievable or aspirational? In other words, should it be based on current trends, or on desired outcomes? That question is at the heart of a position paper now circulating for review by MTC’s partners, stakeholders and the public. Read More

Transportation

Pedestrian Fatalities Are Increasing Nationwide. Why?

Everyone Is A Pedestrian

A few weeks ago we highlighted how the Bay Area has experienced a recent sharp upward trend in fatalities and injuries from roadway crashes, and that bicyclists and pedestrians were bearing the brunt of these unwelcome developments. A new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) suggests growing dangers for pedestrians are not just a Bay Area issue: in both relative and absolute terms, pedestrian deaths nationwide are at levels not seen in decades.

The report, Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities By State: 2017 Preliminary Data, contains a host of alarming findings about conditions for pedestrians across the country (emphasis added in bold):   

  • The nationwide number of pedestrian fatalities increased 27 percent from 2007 to 2016, while all other traffic fatalities over this period decreased by 14 percent.
  • Pedestrian deaths as a percent of total motor vehicle crash deaths increased steadily, from 11 percent in 2007 to 16 percent in 2016. Pedestrians now account for the largest proportion of traffic fatalities during the past 33 years.
Read More
Transportation

Fatalities and Injuries From Crashes on the Rise, MTC Supports State Goal of Zero Traffic Deaths by 2030

injury

Bad news for the Bay Area’s pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers: the latest data from Vital Signs, the Bay Area’s comprehensive performance monitoring website, shows a sharp upward trend in road fatalities and injuries from roadway crashes.

There were 455 fatalities and 2,089 injuries from crashes in 2016, representing 43 percent and 25 percent increases from 2010, respectively. Although roads have become increasingly safe for motorists thanks to improved vehicle safety technologies, the data show that bicyclists and pedestrians are a growing share of fatalities and injuries in the region and are experiencing higher fatality levels compared to recent decades. Read More

Transportation

New BART Train Cars Are Rolling into Service

The entire Bay Area celebrated a major milestone last week as the long-awaited first new 10-car BART train began service in the East Bay on the Richmond line. As you can see in the above video from MTC’s partners at BART, the new cars will be smoother and quieter, with quicker and easier boarding, six digital screens in each car, more comfortable seats and more places to hang on. 

This is riders’ first taste of a decades-long, multi-billion dollar project to replace the aging BART rail car fleet and expand the BART system’s capacity with more rail cars. As you can imagine, making these new cars a reality has been a complex endeavor and MTC, as the nine county Bay Area’s transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency, has been intimately involved every step of the way. Read More

Economic Development

Regional Economic Divergence and the Conundrums of Prosperity; ABAG's Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy

Mare Island Naval Shipyard

Over at the Upshot, Emily Badger is asking a difficult, important question: What happens when globalization and technology cause big, rich cities in the U.S. to lose their links to smaller cities and rural areas? The piece starts with an examination of how the Bay Area economy has changed over recent decades:

Well before anyone thought of this place as the center of the tech economy, the Bay Area built ships. And it did so with the help of many parts of the country.

Douglas fir trees logged in the Pacific Northwest were turned into lumber schooners here. Steel from the East, brought in by railroad, became merchant vessels.

Read More