Plan Bay Area 2040 Equity Analysis

Approximately one-fifth of the Bay Area’s total population live in areas with large numbers of low-income and minority populations. Promoting access to housing, jobs and transportation for these residents helps Plan Bay Area’s objective to advance equity in the region; it also increases our chances of meeting the other performance targets. MTC and ABAG will conduct an equity analysis on the proposed investments in Plan Bay Area 2040. The equity framework for Plan Bay Area 2040 was approved the Metropolitan Transportation Commission in January 2016. The overall framework has three components:   

  1. A Title VI analysis of investments that use federal and state funds to determine whether there are any disparate impacts of distribution of these funds on populations of different race, color or national origin;
  2. An environmental justice analysis of investments to determine whether there are any disproportionately high and adverse impacts on low-income and minority populations or communities of concern; and
  3. An equity analysis that assesses the distribution of benefits and burdens on communities of concern in comparison to the rest of the region.

These three components satisfy federal requirements with respect to the metropolitan planning process.

Six of the 13 Performance Targets previously identified by MTC and ABAG will serve as equity measures for use in the analyses.

Review of Key Demographic and Socio-Economic Trends

In addition to an analysis based on the equity measures, the equity report will summarize key demographic and socio-economic trends, including the following topics:

  • Poverty in the Suburbs
  • Concentration of Poverty
  • Proximity to Services and Amenities
  • Proximity to Opportunity Areas
  • Exposure to Contamination and Pollutants

Communities of Concern

The definition of “communities of concern” is intended to represent a diverse cross-section of populations and communities that could be considered disadvantaged or vulnerable in terms of both current conditions and potential impacts of future growth. For Plan Bay Area 2040, the definition of communities of concern will include all census tracts that have a concentration of BOTH minority AND low-income households at specified thresholds of significance, or that have a concentration of three or more of six additional factors if they also have a concentration of low-income households. Among the additional factors are people with disability, seniors 75 years and over, and cost-burdened renters. See the staff memorandum for more information.

Communities of Concern Framework for Plan Bay Area 2040

Definition – census tracts that have a concentration of BOTH minority AND low-income households, OR that have a concentration of three or more of the remaining six factors

(#3 to #8) but only IF they also have a concentration of low-income households.

Disadvantage Factor

% Regional Population

Concentration Threshold

1. Minority



2. Low Income (<200% Federal Poverty Level - FPL)



3. Limited English Proficiency



4. Zero-Vehicle Household



5. Seniors 75 Years and Over



6. People with Disability



7. Single-Parent Family



8. Severely Rent-Burdened Household



*This component of the Plan’s development is guided by a Regional Equity Working Group that draws membership from the Regional Advisory Working Group and MTC’s Policy Advisory Council.