Poster: Tracking the Bay Area's Vital Signs

Monday, May 8, 2017 | 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

In an era of stagnant budgets, performance measurement has emerged as a crucial tool to demonstrate progress (or lack thereof) towards planning goals. After the adoption of the San Francisco Bay Area's first integrated transportation and land use plan in 2013, regional stakeholders came together to develop a comprehensive performance monitoring program. With indicators cutting across the jurisdiction of all four regional planning agencies - the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), the Bay Area Air Quality Monitoring District (BAAQMD), and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) - this effort relied extensive collaboration to ensure a seamless result for the public.

Instead of developing a lengthy paper report - as had been done in the past - Bay Area agencies took a different course, building an interactive website that allows any resident to explore data and even drill down to neighborhood-level performance. The result was Bay Area Vital Signs, a powerful web tool that combines performance monitoring with data visualization and data-driven journalism to tell the story of key data, while allowing Bay Area residents to dig and explore the interactive data themselves. This effort required a whole new set of skills - from data visualization to website design - that were not in the traditional wheelhouse of many planners or communications specialists. Adding to the challenge were the high expectations from policymakers and the public for a polished, easy-to-use website - given the proximity to Silicon Valley.

This poster presentation will highlight how MTC - acting as the lead agency in the effort - developed a cross-agency team with shared objectives and assisted in a rapid evolution to a new data-driven approach in just 15 months. Included in the presentation will be a discussion of the project scope, how the project was delivered under a rapid timeframe mandated by Plan adoption, and how it has benefitted Bay Area residents in the past year. Successful strategies - ranging from executive involvement on project scoping to team-building and data analysis training to strategic rollout of performance results via social and traditional media channels - will be shared in an effort to better inform interested planners who want to take their performance monitoring activities to the next level.

Vote for your favorite poster and be entered into a drawing for $100 Amazon gift card!


David Vautin , AICP , San Francisco , CA (see bio)