interactive | 511 Contra Costa

Vital Signs: A New Website from the MTC (2015)

In late January, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission unveiled their new Vital Signs website. Drawing from over 20 years of data, the website offers interactive, customizable charts and graphs on various aspects of transportation in the Bay Area. According to the MTC, the idea behind the project is to allow Bay Area residents, “to track the region’s progress toward reaching key transportation, land use, environmental and economic policy goals.” The MTC plans to add land use and economic development data to the site in the spring and data relating to environmental and safety questions in the summer.


Because of the interactive nature of the site, users can essentially create their own charts and graphs by choosing which cities, counties or metro areas are displayed. It’s a way to track both changes over time as well as differences between communities and regions. You can select various transportation performance indicators, called ‘measures’, relating to commuting, congestion, transit reliability and ridership, traffic volume, pavement condition, bridge and transit condition, and transit system efficiency.
It’s quick and easy to change a chart or graph to reflect the information you want to see. For example, if you visit Vital Sign’s ‘Transit Ridership’ page and scroll down to ‘Local Focus’, by clicking on the names of transit agencies you can select/deselect them. In this particular example, the result is a Contra Costa-focused graph:
Want to know what pavement conditions are like in your area? You can see general results or street-by-street results depending on how much you zoom in:


For people who want to go beyond the interactive site and work with the raw data, the MTC has made it easy to access. Just click on the ‘Data Center’ icon in the website’s top-right corner.
You’ll find the new website at For a video tutorial on how to use the Vital Signs website, check out the video below:

FutureBART: The Game Where You Control the Destiny of BART (2014)

BART is in the process of planning for the next 40 years of service and they need your input. Rather than ask you to take a survey, they’ve created a game to solicit your feedback. Introducing FutureBART – the game where you’re the BART planner.
In FutureBART, you choose the types of projects BART will pursue, selecting from three categories: Fix and Modernize BART, More Train and Station Capacity, and New Lines & Extensions. All the choices offered are actual projects BART is considering (e.g. a second Transbay Tube, fixing the backlog of repairs in the BART system).
Since projects can’t go ahead without funding, you also have to decide where the money will come from (e.g. bond measure, regional gas tax, higher bridge tolls). If you exceed your budget the game will tell you, leaving you to choose whether to add funding or select a different combination of projects.
The impact of your choices is displayed in a section called ‘Your Overall Benefits’, showing expected improvements in categories like Regional Economy, System Reliability, and Improved Cost-effectiveness. Want to see how a different combination of projects and funding would work? Just update your choices and you’ll see the changes to your ‘report card’ in real time.
The game takes less than 10 minutes to play and the feedback received will be used to develop the BART Vision Plan, which will help guide the BART Board of Directors and staff when making decisions about the future of BART.
To play the game, visit