Become Informed


AB 32

Assembly Bill 32 (AB 32), or the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, is state legislation that requires a statewide reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels or lower by the 2020.


The Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments (AMBAG) was organized in 1968 for the purpose of regional collaboration and problem solving. AMBAG, as it is often referred to, was formed a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) governed by a twenty-four member Board of Directors comprised of elected officials from each City and County within the region. The AMBAG region includes Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz County. AMBAG serves as both a federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and Council of Governments (COG). AMBAG performs metropolitan level transportation planning on behalf of the region. Among its many duties, AMBAG manages the region's transportation demand model and prepares regional housing, population and employment forecast that are utilized in a variety of regional plans.


The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is the state agency that maintains and operates the California highway system.


The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is a statute requiring state and local agencies to identify and analyze significant environmental impacts of projects, and to avoid or mitigate such impacts, if feasible.

Climate Change

Climate change refers to changes in the Earth's weather patterns, including the rise in the Earth's average temperature due to an increase in heat-trapping or "greenhouse gases" (GHGs) in the atmosphere. Climate scientists agree that climate change is a man-made problem caused by the burning of fossil fuels like petroleum and coal. Transportation accounts for a significant portion of GHG emissions. Climate change is expected to significantly affect the Bay Area's public health, air quality and transportation infrastructure through sea level rise and extreme weather.


Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a gas emitted naturally through the carbon cycle or through human activities. The largest source of CO2 globally is the combustion of fossil fuels (e.g., coal, oil, and gas) in power plants, vehicles, industrial facilities and other sources.


A council of government (COG) is a multi-service entity with state and locally-defined boundaries that delivers a variety of federal, state and local programs while continuing its function as a planning organization, technical assistance provider and "visionary" to its member local governments. As such, they are accountable to local units of government and effective partners for state and federal governments.


Environmental Impact Report: State law requires that an EIR shall be prepared if there is substantial evidence that a project may have a significant effect on the environment. A draft EIR shall be included as part of the review and approval process whenever a public hearing is held on the project. Following adoption of a final EIR, the lead agency makes a decision whether to proceed with the project.

Environmental Justice

This term stems from a Presidential Executive Order to promote equity for disadvantaged communities and promote the inclusion of racial and ethnic populations and low-income communities in decision-making. Local and regional transportation agencies must ensure that services and benefits, as well as burdens, are fairly distributed to avoid discrimination.

Envisioning the Monterey Bay Area

Envisioning the Monterey Bay Area: A Blueprint for Sustainable Growth and Smart Infrastructure is a blueprint for the future describing how the communities of the Monterey Bay Area might grow in a sustainable fashion over the next 25 years.  As such, this document focuses on meeting the growth challenges of the coming years through expanded housing and transportation choices for residents of the Monterey Bay Area.

Equity Analysis

Consistent with federal requirements for environmental justice, AMBAG will conduct an equity analysis to determine how the benefits and burdens of the plan's investment strategy affect minority and low-income communities.


Federal Highway Administration: U.S. Department of Transportation agency responsible for administering the federal highway aid program to individual states, and helping to plan, develop and coordinate construction of federally funded highway projects. FHWA also governs the safety of hazardous cargo on the nation's highways.

Financial Constraint

A federal requirement that long-range transportation plans include only projects that have a reasonable expectation of being funded, based upon anticipated revenues. In other words, long-range transportation plans cannot be pie-in-the-sky wish lists of projects. They must reflect realistic assumptions about revenues that will likely be available during the 25 years covered in the plan.

Flexible Funding

Unlike funding that flows only to highways or only to transit by a rigid formula, this is money that can be invested in a range of transportation projects. Examples of flexible funding categories include the Surface Transportation Program (STP) and the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) program.

Global Warming

See Climate Change.

GHG / Greenhouse Gas

Any of the gases - including carbon dioxide, methane and ozone - whose absorption of solar radiation is responsible for the greenhouse effect, in which the atmosphere allows incoming sunlight to pass through but absorbs heat radiated back from the earth's surface. Greenhouse gases act like a heat-trapping blanket in the atmosphere, causing climate change.

HOT Lane

High-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes are lanes that are intended for use of vehicles with more than one person, and are also open to single-occupant vehicles for a fee, but are free to carpools.

HOV Lane

High-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes are carpool lanes (also referred to as "carpool" or "diamond" lanes) that are intended for the exclusive use of vehicles with more than one person.

Land Use Model

Used by researchers and planners to identify expected population, jobs and housing growth and to understand the interactions between land use, transportation, and the economy. Models help planners analyze and test various spatial distributions of jobs, population and land uses and describe to policy-makers and the public about the relationship between land use and transportation.


A Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is a planning body that is responsible for transportation planning and project selection within a region. AMBAG is the MPO for Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz Counties.

Non-Committed Projects

Projects that seek discretionary funds, as well as projects that have not yet completed an environmental impact report (EIR).


Door-to-door bus, van and taxi services used to transport elderly and disabled riders. Paratransit is sometimes referred to as dial-a-ride service, since trips are made according to demand instead of along a fixed route or according to a fixed schedule.

Performance Measures

Indicators of how well the transportation system or specific transportation projects will improve transportation conditions.

Place Types

A place type groups neighborhoods or centers with similar sustainability characteristics and physical and social qualities, such as the scale of housing buildings, frequency and type of transit, quality of the streets, concentration of jobs, and range of services. For MovingForward Monterey Bay, Place Types are a tool of local-regional exchange to identify places and policies for sustainable development. Monterey Bay area jurisdictions can select a place type to indicate their desired level of growth in the Sustainable Communities Strategy.

Planning Directors Forums

These are regularly scheduled meetings of local planning directors and staff in each county. Local and countywide issues of concern are discussed, and the forums act as a platform for information sharing.


Particulate Matter: A mixture of tiny solid and liquid particles - such as those from dust, dirt, soot or smoke - that are found in the air. When inhaled, these particles can settle deep in the lungs and cause serious health problems.

Potential New Revenues

Funds that may be available for transportation investment in the future if proposed new revenue sources are approved. These potential revenues are not included in the financially constrained portion of long-term transportation plans and Plan Bay Area.

Preferred Scenario

Consideration of the detailed scenario alternatives lead to a preferred scenario that will serve as the basis of the final Plan (2014 MTP/SCS).


(1) verb, to assign funds to a project that has been approved by AMBAG, the state or another agency, and (2) noun, a system of funding for implementing transportation projects or policies.


Regional Housing Needs Allocation: The Regional Housing Needs Allocation process is a state mandate regarding planning for housing in California. ABAG is responsible for allocating this state-determined regional housing need among all of the Bay Area's nine counties and 101 cities. Factors used by ABAG in its allocation process include projected household growth, existing employment and projected employment growth, and projected household and employment growth near transit.


Regional Transportation Improvement Program: A listing of highway, local road, transit and bicycle projects that the region hopes to fund; compiled by AMBAG every two years from priority lists submitted by local jurisdictions. The California Transportation Commission (CTC) must either approve or reject the RTIP in its entirety. Once the CTC approves an RTIP, it is combined with those from other regions to comprise 75 percent of the funds in the State Transportation Improvement Program or STIP. (Also see "STIP.")


Regional Transportation Plan: A master plan to guide the region's transportation investments for a 25-year period. Updated every three years, it is based on projections of growth in population and jobs and the ensuing travel demand. Required by state and federal law, it includes programs to better maintain, operate and expand transportation. The Monterey Bay regions most recent update of its long-range transportation plan, is known as Mobility 2035. The next RTP will be included as part of 2014 MTP/SCS.

Sales Tax Authority

An agency that administers a voter-approved county transportation sales tax program; in most Bay Area counties, the congestion management agency (CMA) also serves as the sales tax authority.

SB 375

Senate Bill 375 (Steinberg): SB 375 became law in 2008. It includes two main statutory requirements and a host of voluntary measures. It is designed to complement AB 32, which requires the state to reduce its GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The first requirement is to reduce per-capita carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from cars and light duty trucks, primarily by building more compact communities with better access to mass transit and other amenities, so people have more transportation choices and do not have to drive as much. The second requirement is to house 100 percent of the region's projected 25-year population growth, regardless of income level.

Smart Growth

A set of policies and programs designed to protect, preserve and economically stimulate established communities, while protecting valuable natural and cultural resources and limiting sprawl.


State Transportation Improvement Program: What the California Transportation Commission (CTC) ends up with after combining various RTIPs, as well as a list of specific projects proposed by Caltrans. Covering a five-year span and updated every two years, the STIP determines when and if transportation projects will be funded by the state. Projects included in the STIP must be consistent with the long-range transportation plan.


Sustainability means doing things and using resources in ways that protect them so they will be available for current and future generations. The "Three E" goals of sustainability are Economy, Environment and Equity. Sustainability is all about helping support a prosperous and globally competitive economy, providing for a healthy and safe environment, and producing equitable opportunities for all Bay Area residents.


The Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) is an integrated land use and transportation plan that all metropolitan regions in California must complete under Senate Bill 375.

Title VI

Refers to Title VI of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, and requires that transportation planning and programming be nondiscriminatory on the basis of race, color and national origin. Integral to Title VI is the concept of environmental justice.


Transit-Oriented Development: A type of development that links land use and transit facilities to support the transit system and help reduce sprawl, traffic congestion and air pollution. It includes housing, along with complementary public uses (jobs, retail and services), located at a strategic point along a regional transit system, such as a rail hub.

Travel Model

Used by researchers and planners for simulating current travel conditions and for forecasting future travel patterns and conditions. Models help planners and policy-makers analyze the effectiveness and efficiency of alternative transportation investments in terms of performance, such as mobility, accessibility, environmental and equity impacts.


One vehicle (whether a car carrying one passenger or a bus carrying 30 people) traveling one mile constitutes a vehicle mile. VMT is one measure of the use of Bay Area freeways and roads.



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