Analytical Reports: Monitoring
While we have always collected and evaluated land use information for the region, monitoring has become more formalized with the policy-based forecasts (Projections 2003 and 2005). In our monitoring program we will perform detailed analysis that focuses on transit corridors. Additionally, we are proposing to develop some specific indicators to address potential environmental and industrial land use conflicts. Our objective is to insure that monitoring integrates with our forecasting and policy implementation work and doesn't become a dead-end task.
ABAG's Executive Board adopted its first formal Monitoring Report along with Projections 2005, at its November 2004 meeting. Monitoring was performed to allow internal review of forecasting assumptions and to comply with regulatory agreements with Federal agencies.
Necessity for Higher Levels of Detail
After ABAG's adoption, the 2005 Monitoring Report was transmitted to the staffs of the Federal Highway Administration, Department of Transportation, and the Environmental Protection Agency (Federal agencies). Comments on the report clearly indicate the need for more detailed numerical analysis to insure that future forecasts can be used as the basis of air quality conformity analysis. As a result, ABAG has prepared a draft work plan for monitoring, and along with MTC will be submitting it to the Federal agencies for review.
As part of our proposal, ABAG is asking to focus on a number of transit corridors as part of the method for monitoring regional land use change. ABAG would expand the list of corridors beyond those analyzed in last year's Transit Oriented Development Study to include more existing corridors in San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose.
ABAG would use several of its existing databases to inform this analysis. We are currently updating our existing land use database to include parcel data from county assessor's records for 2005. Our Local Policy Survey database shows development potential from the viewpoint of local jurisdictions and will also be updated this year. Finally, we are proposing to update and expand our database of local General Plans to include changes since 2001 and to include specific and area plan information.
Analytically, we are being asked to insure that local land use and policy changes are consistent with the assumptions in our Projections forecasts. This means detailed analysis of plans in transit corridors, programs to support smart growth, and market analyses of the demand for housing in these areas.
Measures of Potentially Conflicting Land Uses
The Joint Policy Committee has discussed several issues centered on potentially conflicting land uses in the region. Two notable examples are the sensitive receptor issue for air quality and the potential conflict between goods movement and alternative land uses.
ABAG's preliminary analysis does not show any clear conflicts. At the same time, it would probably be appropriate to monitor the level and type of development in some specific areas in the region. Looking at the changes in density in a few dozen census tracts would improve the available information. More specific information may become available at a later date.
Both MTC and the Air District staffs have expressed a willingness to cooperate in these efforts.
Coordination with Other Efforts
We have tried to insure that an integrated approach occurs.
If monitoring is an end unto itself it is much more difficult to insure that it remains an effective measurement tool. We have tried to insure an integrated approach where monitoring data and results are coordinated with other activities at ABAG and even activities at other agencies. This allows us to streamline some of our efforts and to insure that the best information is used.
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