Metropolitan Transportation Commission
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is the agency responsible for the planning, financing and coordination of transportation throughout the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. Created in 1970, MTC functions as both the regional transportation planning agency (a state designation) and for federal purposes, the region's metropolitan planning organization (MPO). MTC is responsible for the Regional Transportation Plan, a comprehensive strategy for the development and maintenance of local streets and roads, as well as highway, transit, airport, seaport, railroad, bicycle and pedestrian facilities.
MTC policy is directed by 19 commissioners, 14 of whom are appointed by local elected officials. Two members represent regional agencies: the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC). Three non-voting members also have been appointed to represent federal and state transportation agencies and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Over the years, state and federal laws have given MTC an increasingly important role in financing Bay Area transportation improvements. With the authority over the Bay Area's transportation purse strings has come the duty to maximize the efficiency of the region's complex transportation system-which is owned and operated by scores of different agencies, and includes hundreds of different facilities, ranging from sidewalks to jet runways. To this end, MTC has formed strong organizational links such as the Bay Area Partnership, a coalition of some three dozen federal, state, regional and local institutions responsible for transportation and environmental quality in the Bay Area.
Development and deployment of the 511 service are the result of a similar partnership between MTC; the California Highway Patrol (CHP); the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans); dozens of public transit and paratransit operators; and two entities that MTC contracts with: a consortium of engineering, telecommunications, design and marketing firms led by PB Farradyne Inc. and PBQD, which operates the Bay Area's regional rideshare program, and provides information on carpooling, vanpooling and bicycling options to the 511 system.
The information the public gets through 511 is only as good-and as fresh-as the data MTC's partners deliver. So the 511 partnership relies on the CHP and Caltrans to constantly update vital information about traffic conditions, accidents, road closures, delays and other incidents affecting motorists on Bay Area freeways, expressways and other major thoroughfares. The 511 partnership similarly calls on the region's transit and paratransit operators to provide timely and accurate information about their routes, schedules, fares-and to alert callers and Web users of any service changes or interruptions.