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Member Profile

Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG)

Agency Type: Council of Governments, Metropolitan Planning Organization, Regional Transportation Planning Agency
Summary Profile:

The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) is the largest Council of Governments (COG) and Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) in the country.

Founded in 1965, SCAG is a Joint Powers Authority under California state law, established as an association of local governments and agencies that voluntarily convene as a forum to address regional issues.  Under federal law, SCAG is designated as a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and under state law as a Regional Transportation Planning Agency (RTPA) and a Council of Governments (COG).

The SCAG region encompasses six counties (Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura) and 191 cities in an area covering more than 38,000 square miles.  The agency develops long-range regional transportation plans, including sustainable communities strategy and growth forecast components, regional transportation improvement programs, regional housing needs allocations and a portion of the South Coast Air Quality management plans. 

In addition to the six counties and 191 cities that make up SCAG’s region, there are six County Transportation Commissions that hold the primary responsibility for programming and implementing transportation projects, programs and services in their respective counties.  There are also 14 "sub-regions" within the six counties that have varying degrees of responsibilities in the development of planning and programming transportation projects and developing policies.   

Number of Members: 6 counties, 191 cities
Population Represented: 18,954,083
Primary Funding Sources: Federal and state transportation funding
Staff: 134
Program Highlights:
  • Go Human--Go Human is an advertising and community outreach campaign that promotes traffic safety and encourages active transportation through resources and toolkits developed for cities and organizations.  SCAG hosts demonstrations and pop-ups throughout its member jurisdictions that allow residents to experience roadways that are designed for people and not just cars.  In addition, the Go Human website provides digital images and web banners, in both English and Spanish, that can be shared on social media and webpages.  California has the nation's highest fatalities among bicyclists and pedestrians and the Go Human campaign bolsters awareness to Southern California's 18 million residents to reduce the number of collisions and embrace active transportation.  
  • Local Profiles--Every two years, SCAG prepares Local Profile reports for the nearly 200 member jurisdictions in the region, providing updated data and analysis to support local planning and outreach efforts.  The demographic and socioeconomic data are also useful resources for the business community, academia and residents.  The most recent Local Profile reports were released at the 2013 Regional Conference & General Assembly in Palm Desert on May 2, 2013.
  • Toolbox Tuesday--Toolbox Tuesday is a quarterly event hosted by SCAG that offers workshops and panel series, with topics ranging from specific training on planning-related infrastructure to large-scale discussions on the California drought.  The workshops are free to attend and are geared to planning professionals and city and county staff and provides them with resources to enhance their job performance and is available for AICP credit.  Traditionally, Toolbox Tuesday has been 2-3 hours in the morning, but a recent workshop was an all-day event focusing on best practices and transportation and grant funding, which SCAG is looking to model future workshops after. 
  • Transportation Modeling Services--SCAG maintains a complex modeling system that forecasts travel demand and air quality to support SCAG’s planning program. The information these models produce is also useful to member agencies, universities, and other public agencies. SCAG provides modeling data to support stakeholders' planning programs and to assist in the development and maintenance of city and subregional models. SCAG supports subregional and city-level modeling programs by providing modeling setups, input data, training, and technical advice.
  • Data Services--Data Services provides up-to-date demographic and economic data to member jurisdictions, which can be used for local planning studies and policy initiatives.  SCAG makes available a Monthly Economic Report for the region along with a number of detailed datasets (job growth, unemployment, taxable sales,building permits, and various other socioeconomic variables), which are available for download in the Economic & Demographic Library.  Members can also request customized datasets for local analysis on an on-going basis. 
Board Makeup:

The governance structure of SCAG is defined in the organization's bylaws.  

  • General Assembly.  SCAG convenes a General Assembly where official representatives of SCAG's membership meet and set goals for the coming year.  Each member has one vote at the General Assembly.  All cities, counties, and transportation commissions in the six county region are eligible for membership.  All members have one official representative on the General Assembly, except that the City of Los Angeles has three.  In addition, any federally-recognized Indian Nation within the SCAG region that is "significantly involved in regional problems" are eligible for advisory membership and may be a member of the Regional Council and participate in committees.  The General Assembly meets once a year unless a special meeting is called. 
  • Regional Council.  The Regional Council meets as the executive governing board between meetings of the General Assembly.  There are currently 86 members of the Regional Council.  The majority of the Regional Council members represent specific districts that have a "geographic community of interest" are approximately equal in population.  SCAG's bylaws call for the creation of up to 70 regional districts to provide for more diverse representation across the region.  The current make up uses 68 districts.  In addition, the Regional Council also includes:
    • One representative from each of the 6 member county Board of Supervisors, except LA County, which has two representatives;
    • the mayor of the City of the City of Los Angeles serving as an at-large representative for the City;
    • One city councilmember or member of a county board of supervisors from the governing boards of each of the six county transportation commissions (ICTC, RCTC, SBCTA, OCTA, LA Metro, and VCTC);
    • One representative from the Tribal Government Regional Planning Board;
    • One local government elected representative from one of the five air districts within SCAG;
    • One local government elected representative from the Transportation Corridor Agencies;
    • One local government elected representative serving as the Public Transportation representative;
    • One ex-officio member representing the private sector. 
Executive Director: Kome Ajise, Executive Director
CALCOG Board Representative: Margaret Finlay, Council Member, City of Duarte
Web Link:
Oct. 28, 2019

GoHuman is SCAG's community outreach campaign to increase safety and encourage people to walk and bike more through education, advocacy, and events that help residents re-imagine their streets to promote safe walking and biking.   Update: SCAG just received a grant for another year of funding for this program.

Jun. 16, 2017

SANDAG, SCAG, and MTC receive national awards for planning excellence awards.   

May. 08, 2017
Nobody does a General Assembly like SCAG--but the takeaway this year is that cities and counties should be asking more from their regional governments.