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Transforming transportation in the Bay Area

The competition drew so many promising ideas that the panel chosen 12 finalists instead of 10 from a pool of 500 "megaprojects"

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Horizon initiative explores challenges and opportunities arising in the Bay Area by 2050
Horizon initiative explores challenges and opportunities arising in the Bay Area by 2050

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), San Francisco, and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) has selected 12 finalists for a transformative project competition designed to solicit “big, bold and billion-dollar” ideas for improving mobility across the nine-county Bay Area.

 

The endeavour forms part of the Horizon initiative undertaken by MTC and ABAG to explore a wide range of the challenges and opportunities the Bay Area may face by 2050. The announcement relates to six transformative transportation projects and six transformative operational strategies.

 

500 megaproject ideas

 

The 12 finalists were selected from a pool of more than 500 megaproject ideas submitted by individuals and non-governmental organisations – will be added to the Horizon Transportation Projects list along with 82 other potential new transportation projects.

 

“The competition was meant to inspire big ideas and game-changing innovations,” said Jake Mackenzie, chair MTC, and Rohnert Park city council member. “The selection committee initially planned to name no more than 10 finalists. But we received so many promising, outside-the-box ideas that would not just improve existing projects but also help expand the limits of what may be possible over the course of the next generation that the panelists decided to take a closer look at 12 proposals.”

 

Each of the proposed projects will be analysed to determine its efficacy in improving the region’s transportation system – depending on how they stack up, they may be considered for inclusion in Plan Bay Area 2050, the region’s next long-range plan for transportation, land use, economic development, and resilience. Plan Bay Area 2050 is slated for completion in 2021.

"We received so many promising, outside-the-box ideas that would not just improve existing projects but also help expand the limits of what may be possible over the course of the next generation”

Once the competition closed in early September, a panel of regional transportation experts evaluated all the submissions for feasibility, potential regional benefits, alignment with Horizon’s guiding principles, creativity, and consistency with the minimum cost threshold. The call was for both capacity-increasing projects that cost more than $1bn and for lower-cost operational strategies.

 

The six finalists for transformative capacity-increasing projects are:

  • optimised express lane network and regional express bus network – Spur and TransForm
  • bus rapid transit on all bridges – Tony Breslin
  • smart to Richmond via a New Richmond-San Rafael bridge – William Manley, Joseph Naujokas, Christopher Sorkand Sonoma County Transportation and Land Use Coalition
  • Interstate 80 corridor overhaul – Arup
  • regional bicycle superhighway network – Arup
  • Bay trail completion – Jim Stallman.

 

The six finalists for transformative operational strategies are:

  • integrated transit fare system – Eddy Ionescu and Jason Lee, Seamless Bay Area and Spur
  • free transit – Mark Apton, Christian Rodgers, Danielle Venton and Gabriela Zuniga
  • higher-occupancy HOV lanes – 3 Revolutions Book Club
  • demand-based tolls on all highways – Jeremy Besmer and City of San Jose
  • reversible lanes on congested bridges and freeways – City of San Jose
  • freight delivery timing regulation – Daniel Ayers, Marc Brenman, Kevin Brooks and Cesar Plata.

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