When we plan for the future, what sort of future are we planning for?

The Horizon initiative is a new way of looking at long-range planning, focusing on exploring divergent "what if" scenarios to identify strategies that are effective in a wider variety of circumstances.

There are a number of forces beyond our region's control that will shape everyday life in the Bay Area by the year 2050, ranging from federal policy decisions on immigration and trade to the adoption rate of driverless vehicles. Horizon explores how these uncertainties will affect life in the Bay Area and how effective strategies may be to address them in advance of Plan Bay Area 2050, the Bay Area's next-generation regional plan.

This tool provides a glimpse into how life in the Bay Area would change in each of the three futures if today’s policies for transportation and land use were implemented without any change in course over the next 30 years – in other words, in a “status quo” environment.

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Discover the Possible Futures

and understand how the world we live in might look in the year 2050.


Clean and

New technologies and a national carbon tax enable greater telecommuting and distributed job centers.

  • Federal spending increases
  • Sea Level rises 1 foot
  • 95% of vehicles are self-driving

Rising Tides,
Falling Fortunes

The federal government cuts spending and reduces regulations, leaving decisions to states and regions.

  • Federal spending decreases
  • Sea Level rises 3 feet
  • 10% of vehicles are self-driving

Back to
the Future

An economic boom and new transportation options spur a new wave of development.

  • Federal spending increases
  • Sea Level rises 2 feet
  • 75% of vehicles are self-driving