Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments (AMBAG)
The Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments (AMBAG) is a joint powers authority that serves the tri-county (Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz) Monterey Bay region. Each county has its own transportation planning entity, respectively the Transportation Agency of Monterey County, San Benito Council of Governments, and the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission. AMBAG manages the region’s transportation demand model and prepares regional housing, population and employment forecasts that are utilized in a variety of regional plans.
AMBAG is a member of the Central Coast Coalition.
Additionally, AMBAG is designated as an Areawide Planning Organization (APO) by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; as a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) by the State of California; and as a grantee responsible for non-point water quality planning by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. AMBAG also serves as the Metropolitan Clearinghouse, U.S. Census Regional Affiliate, and operates as a co-leads with the Monterey Bay Air Resources District for non-attainment air quality planning.
As a Council of Governments (COG), AMBAG also provides a number of additional services for its members. These include its energy watch program, providing climate planning for other agencies, regional analysis planning services that provides planning services to other agencies, non-profit organizations, and private concerns, and region-wide Ortho-Imagery Project to provide high-quality baseline data for all regional agencies. AMBAG also engages in water quality issues within the region and operates the a regional vanpooling program.
- AMBAG Energy Watch--This program Provides energy efficiency and climate action planning to municipal governments, special districts, non-profits, school districts, hospitality businesses, agriculture businesses, and residents. The program operates on funding provided through the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and through a partnership with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). The AMBAG Energy Watch program has been in operation since 2006. Types of services the program provides includes: highly subsidized turnkey direct installation of energy efficiency measures across all market sectors, support in accessing funding for energy efficiency, technical support in energy benchmarking, greenhouse gas inventories, energy action strategies, and complex project management, and education and training for the region in areas related to energy efficiency and climate action planning.
- The Central Coast Joint Data Committee--The Central Coast Joint Data Committee is a partnership of public and private agencies that share spatial data about the 5-county region of the Central Coast. This information more accurately informs community decision making, fosters innovative business development, and engages in environmental management and education in the Central Coast.
- Workzone Impact and Strategies Estimator Tool--In 2015, AMBAG was chosen to conduct a pilot of the WISE tool and work with stakeholders to enhance and implement the software in the Monterey Bay area. WISE is a traffic analysis tool that will demonstrate an innovative approach to planning work zones earlier in order to manage highway safety and reliability. Managing traffic during construction is necessary to minimize traffic delays, maintain safety, and complete roadwork in a timely manner. The tool identifies impacts of roadway projects requiring work zones and analyzes safety and mobility impacts within the vicinity. Additionally, it addresses work zone impacts such as road user costs, emergency service management, and construction diversion. The maintenance of traffic flow aids in the safety of workers and motorists and results in reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
The Board of Directors is comprised of two representatives from the board of supervisors of its three member counties (Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz) and one mayor or council member from each of the 17 incorporated cities within the three counties. member city and 2 representatives from each member county.
AMBAG partners with a number organizations to study the climate impacts on Highway 1 near the environmentally important Elkhorn Slough, home to a wide variety of birds and marine life, including very cute sea otters.
Fourteen CALCOG members have joined a joint powers authority to operate CalVans, which offers over 800 Vanpools statewide that collective take more than 300,000 vehicle miles traveled off the roads . . . every day.