Long-Range Bay Area Planning Fellowship

Host: Metropolitan Transportation Commission
Openings: 1
Project Focus: Transportation / Mobility, Urban Planning
Skills Needed: Project Management, Research, Data Analysis, Technical Writing,

Remote or On-Site Placement

Hybrid – MTC staff work a hybrid schedule with an expectation for staff and fellows to be in the office two days per week with some flexibility. MTC staff work out of the Bay Area Metro Center in downtown San Francisco. The Bay Area Metro Center was renovated in 2016 with ample hybrid-working space which supports the collaborative work of the agency.

Service Needs & Plans

The fellow will assist San Francisco Bay Area regional planners with two major regional planning efforts: the Next Generation Bay Area Freeways study that is exploring road pricing strategies and Plan Bay Area 2060, Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) / Association of Bay Area Government’s (ABAG) next long-range regional plan. The goal of these efforts is to shape future transportation, land use and environmental policies and guide the work of MTC/ABAG and partner agencies.

Project Description

Next Generation Bay Area Freeways
The ongoing Next Generation Bay Area Freeways Study is exploring the potential role of road pricing in the region in advancing mobility, climate and equity goals. The study will culminate by the end of 2024 with a high-level ten-year implementation roadmap that may include actions related to further planning and research studies, legislation and regulatory approvals, public information and pilots. These actions will set the stage for a potentially major shift in transport policy in the region. The fellow will have an opportunity to conceive how these actions can be carried forward. Examples of work products could include scopes of work for studies, freeway case studies that synthesize quantitative and qualitative data analysis to inform corridor prioritization for pilots, and recommendations for campaigns based on research. The fellow will gain exposure to the many stakeholders involved at the state, regional and local level as MTC and ABAG seek their collaboration in moving actions forward.

Plan Bay Area 2060 – MTC/ABAG’s Next Long-Range Regional Plan
Every four years, MTC/ABAG updates its long-range regional plan connecting transportation, housing, and the environment. The current adopted plan is Plan Bay Area 2050 (adopted in 2021) and Plan Bay Area 2050+, a minor update, is slated for adoption in 2025. Kicking off in early 2026, however, will be a major update cycle that explores bold policy shifts and integrates new planning frameworks. For example, Plan Bay Area 2050 was such a major update that introduced scenario planning and innovative public engagement strategies, while revamping frameworks for project prioritization and growth strategies. The fellow will work with regional planners to lay out the vision for the Plan Bay Area 2060 planning process, identifying the most relevant trends and issues facing the region and developing new or refreshing existing frameworks and methodologies that can effectively tackle those issues. With focus across transportation, housing, and the environment, the fellow will be exposed to a broad range of policy topics. This process would involve engaging interested external stakeholders in broader

Desired Skills

The Fellow will have an opportunity to work directly with multiple MTC and ABAG staff to co-create work products. The fellow will work with regional planners with transportation, housing and environmental backgrounds and will support research, analysis, and planning tasks. The role will require long-term strategic and critical thinking and at times will also an acute attention to detail. Strong written and oral communication are a plus. Ideal candidates should work well in teams and will have an interest in transportation policy specifically and regional planning in general. Candidates who are both curious and enthusiastic about the planning and policy discipline and show initiative and a willingness to learn will get the most out of a fellowship with MTC/ABAG.

Organization & Workplace Highlights

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) are, respectively, the metropolitan planning organization and council of governments for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. The agencies plan for and implement a diverse work portfolio. In 2021, the agencies adopted an equity platform that informs all internal and external work of the agency which led to many policy changes. MTC staff are passionate about advancing a more affordable, connected, healthy, diverse, and vibrant region for all. The Fellow can expect to spend a good portion of their average week problem-solving with other planners. As a physical and virtual coordinating hub for the region, MTC/ABAG is often in the host role for regional conversations where staff and elected officials gather to discuss planning challenges. Fellows can expect to participate in workshops, committee meetings, and networking events relevant to the projects they work on as well as others that interest them.

Community Highlights

MTC and ABAG are deeply engaged in core planning challenges facing the San Francisco Bay Area region. The agency supports the nine-county Bay Area region on a range of planning topics like housing affordability, climate resilience and emerging mobility. Most efforts led by MTC/ABAG require strong partnerships with local jurisdictions and other regional and state agencies. This partnership-based approach provides ample exposure to different levels of government and the opportunity to plan in a variety of different contexts and scales. The work led by MTC and ABAG is often at the cutting edge of the state of planning practice in California. For those interested in growing technical research and planning skills, the fellowship will provide an opportunity to learn by doing with mentorship and support from a supervisor and staff across the regional planning department.

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