Photos of: mosaic sign at Fruitvale BART, child riding bicycle on Bay Trail, agricultural fields

Who We Are, What We Do

Who We Are

Photo of Golden Gate BridgeIn 1961, the Bay Area's local governments came together to form ABAG as a response to state legislation that would have supplanted local control over all bridges, ports, and transit operations in the Bay Area.

ABAG's mission ever since has been to strengthen cooperation and collaboration among local governments to provide innovative and cost effective solutions to common problems that they face.

The ABAG Planning and Research Department works with local governments and stakeholders to develop and implement innovative solutions for issues involving land use planning, housing, transportation, environmental climate change, earthquakes and disaster resilience, and economic equity.

ABAG POWER Natural Gas Pool provides energy purchasing pooling and BayREN implements regional effective energy saving programs

The Approved ABAG 2018–19 Budget and Work Program details the work done by the agency. The Budget and Work Program is available at

What We Do

ABAG provides planning and research resources related to land use, housing, environmental and water resource protection, disaster resilience, energy efficiency and hazardous waste mitigation, risk management, financial services and staff training to local cities, and towns. ABAG's planning and research programs are committed to addressing sustainability, resilience and equity in the region.

ABAG builds collaborative partnerships with local governments, Bay Area leaders and citizens throughout the region to establish shared goals and create a broader framework to examine economic, social and environmental challenges for the region and future generations. Collaborative participation envisioned in these partnerships represents a comprehensive strategy to guide how we want to grow, adapt to change, preserve member communities' unique qualities, and create more vibrant and successful initiatives that maximize ABAG's regional planning objectives and resources.

The ABAG POWER Natural Gas Pool conducts pooled purchasing of natural gas on behalf of 38 local governments and special districts and allows participants to work collectively to save resources. BayREN implements effective energy saving programs on a regional level and draws on the expertise, experience, and proven track record of Bay Area local governments to develop and administer successful climate, resource, and sustainability programs.

Additional Planning Projects

Aerial photo of Bay Area skyline and waterfrontOther beneficial ABAG Planning and Research Department projects include job and population research, data analysis, earthquake preparedness research, and on-line and on-site classes. ABAG oversees the San Francisco Estuary Project, the Bay Trail Project, and the Water Trail. ABAG also operates as the state-designated clearinghouse for federal grant applications.

ABAG provides cost-effective member services to local governments struggling with rising costs and diminishing income. Depending on the issue, we coordinate closely with MTC, the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and other agencies. Our local service programs include ABAG PLAN (Risk Management and Insurance Services), ABAG Financial Services, and ABAG POWER. These programs represent another dimension of the variety of services, specialized training, and planning resources, and publications available to member agencies..

ABAG also sponsors workshops and conferences where local officials and staff, business and industry leaders, special interest groups, and private citizens explore and discuss programs and issues of regional significance.

Budget and Work Program

For more information about ABAG's Work Program and Budget for Fiscal Year 2018–2019, please visit

ABAG Publications

ABAG publications are distributed to area-wide depository libraries.

ABAG History

To address land use issues from a regional perspective, elected officials from the region's cities, towns and counties formed a council of governments, the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) in 1961.

Since inception, ABAG has examined regional issues such as housing, transportation, economic development, education and environment. In 1970, ABAG broke ground developing the Regional Plan, 1970–1990, the Bay Area's first comprehensive regional plan. Today, ABAG and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) share joint responsibility for the Bay Area's regional plan, also known as the Sustainable Communities Strategy, which sets forth a roadmap to accommodates future population growth and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks.

Building coalitions and partnerships within the Bay region and beyond have typified ABAG's problem-solving approach to issues affecting the Bay Area. ABAG's approach includes research and analysis, education and outreach, regional coalition coordination, and cost-effective member service programs, such as risk management, energy management and financial services.

In 2016, by an action of the ABAG governing body, ABAG and MTC were tasked to conduct a staff consolidation study and then examine changes to both the governing bodies. The end result is two separate and independent organizations with a consolidated staff at MTC serving both governing boards. Staff consolidation occurred in July 2017 after a year-long process, including fiscal analysis, human resource and organizational development consulting, and extensive member participation.

Now, there is an opportunity for ABAG to provide a stronger commitment, additional staff, and an expanded financial position to carry out the important work of supporting local governments and our region.

ABAG 50th Anniversary Video: