Equity Priority Communities

Screen capture of the Equity Priority Communities map in Plan Bay Area 2050.

Equity Priority Communities

What are Equity Priority Communities?

Formerly called “Communities of Concern,” Equity Priority Communities are census tracts that have a significant concentration of underserved populations, such as households with low incomes and people of color. A combination of additional factors helps define these areas.

Learn more about the demographic factors used to define Equity Priority Communities.

Since 2001, ABAG has been using data from the American Community Survey to identify communities (census tracts) that may have historically faced disadvantage and underinvestment due to their background or socioeconomic status. ABAG has continually made updates to the framework definition — and the data are updated every four years — as part of the updates to Plan Bay Area.

The Equity Priority Communities framework helps ABAG make decisions on investments that meaningfully reverse the disparities in access to transportation, housing and other community services.

Work is ongoing, and guided by ABAG’s Equity Platform.

How Does ABAG Use the Equity Priority Communities Framework?

By directing funding towards communities that need more assistance, ABAG can help ensure that historically underserved communities have equitable access to housing and transportation that is within reach of jobs, services and amenities.

The Equity Priority Communities framework has real-world impacts on how ABAG works and makes decisions. This framework is used by ABAG to make decisions about:

  • Planning, including Plan Bay Area, the Transportation Improvement Program and equity analyses
  • Investment of funds, including the Active Transportation Program, OBAG Grants, Community-Based Transportation Planning Grants and the Lifeline Transportation Program
  • Engagement with the community

The Equity Priority Communities framework is also used beyond ABAG, by city and county agencies, in decision-making on the local level.

Equitable Access

Equitable access to affordable transportation and housing are central goals of Plan Bay Area 2050.

Equity Priority Communities Map

See the Equity Priority Communities Map from Plan Bay Area 2050.

Equity Priority Communities Data Layer

View and download the Plan Bay Area 2050 Equity Priority Communities data layer map.


What's In a Name?

ABAG heard from Bay Area residents that “Communities of Concern” no longer felt like a representative term. They wanted something empowering and uplifting — a forward-looking phrase that represents positive changes being made in the future.

After extensive discussion with community-based organizations, MTC’s Policy Advisory Council Equity & Access Subcommittee and the Regional Equity Working Group, the new name, “Equity Priority Communities,” was adopted at the Joint MTC Planning Committee with the ABAG Administrative Committee on May 14, 2021.