Positioned at the geographic center of the Northern California Megaregion, the Tri-Valley continues its ascendance as a nationally significant innovation economy, creating robust economic opportunity while balancing its suburban character.
But not long ago, The Tri-Valley was thought of as just a suburb of San Francisco – a place known primarily for its warm climate, wineries, and hiking trails. Today the Tri-Valley is heralded for its collaborative culture and enviable work-life balance. The region delivers ground-breaking scientific discoveries, produces new startups, and is home to some of the world’s fastest growing companies.
Key to this change are organizations like Innovation TRIVALLEY Leadership Group (ITV). Only 10 years ago, a small group of people gathered around a table to create ITV, an organization based on the power of regionalism. These founders believed in the bounty of assets in the region they lived in. They also believed that by linking business leaders, educators, and civic leaders, they could erase boundaries in five cities and two counties and establish the Tri-Valley as a thriving region recognized for collaboration and innovation.
The Tri-Valley is now the fastest growing region in the Bay Area. And from that growth, ITV has cultivated new regional stakeholders that want to ensure the Tri-Valley’s next 20 years are as prosperous as the last 20 years.
If there is one certainty over 20 years, it is change. In the Tri-Valley, stakeholders want to be proactive to plan for that change, not allowing it to just occur without strategies in place. The bold ideas in the 2040 Vision will allow the Tri-Valley to not only plan for change, but proactively create change. This vision allows the region to embrace and design the future so the Tri-Valley continues to grow as a diverse economy and as a region where all ships rise with the tide.
The five key priorities of the 2040 Vision presented below are purposefully open-ended, as they are not meant to be a roadmap with specific directions, but rather a destination that is accessible via a number of different routes.
These Priorities Include:
Globally Recognized Innovation:
The Tri-Valley is already home to two national labs, more than 450 technology companies, and some of the top technical talent in California. Tri-Valley leaders recognize these assets and seek to build on them to make the region one of the top places not just in California, but across the globe, to create new ideas, start businesses, fund them, and build them to scale.
Equity and Inclusion Focused:
While the region has been one of the most economically successful geographies in the U.S. — particularly over the last decade — Tri-Valley leaders are explicit about the need to produce more equitable opportunities and outcomes for all of the region’s residents and workers.
Connections and Collaboration:
Partnerships that mix the public and private sector, such as the Innovation TRIVALLEY Leadership Group itself, have the effect of breaking down silos and allow for the creation of solutions at scale. While other locales do have this sense of shared ownership, the Tri-Valley has been able to achieve collaboration at a regional scale.
Balanced and Diverse Lifestyle:
In addition to making a high quality of life accessible to all, the future of the Tri-Valley relies on it maintaining a delicate balance of vibrancy and suburban character that has not been achieved elsewhere in the Bay Area. Downtowns will be filled with music, art, food, and festivals attracting families of all backgrounds. And the region will continue its commitment to hiking trails, wineries, and open spaces.
Epicenter of Solutions:
The region has not waited for the nation, state, or metropolitan area to dictate its future; it has instead produced its own ideas and succeeded in implementing them. At its very core, this vision is the next step in continuing that trend.
This vision is meant to be owned and acted upon by Tri-Valley leaders. At its foundation is a diverse group of stakeholders — from elected officials and business leaders to high school and college students and young professionals — who helped to craft and shape the ideas found within the vision.
Using the priorities outlined above as guideposts, stakeholders created a long list of ideas, concepts, and recommendations for the Tri-Valley’s future. That list was pared down to the 24 recommendations highlighted in the “recommendations” button at the end of this plan.
From those recommendations emerged the following five major themes.
World Class Talent
Looking ahead to 2040, today’s 22-year-olds will be the median worker — half of the workforce will be younger than them. For the Tri-Valley to remain on the leading edge, it will need education systems that can compete on a global scale. Therefore, a robust ability to produce, attract, and retain talent is the first major piece of the 2040 Vision.
A Center for Lifelong Learning – A First of its Kind Place for Everyone to Embrace Educations
This lifelong learning and innovation center will create a relationship between inventors of the latest technology, the educators who can teach that technology, and the businesses in need of a workforce that knows how to use the latest innovations. This lifelong learning center will help the region ensure that it is never left behind. It will allow the Tri-Valley to find the resources needed to learn anything throughout a lifetime.
A Research University Presence
Stakeholders should explore and stretch the bounds of what is possible for education in the Tri-Valley through multiple layers of higher education catering to a diverse set of potential students. A university or satellite University of California campus in the Tri-Valley working with the two national laboratories in a significant way opens up unique and extraordinary possibilities for applied research in the region.
Community College to Private Sector Pipeline
Tri-Valley employers can become the biggest boosters of the community college system — regionally and in the state broadly — by revisiting their hiring criteria and removing four year degree requirements where they are unnecessary.
Ensuring that the Tri-Valley maintains and builds upon its connections to the broader Bay Area and the Northern San Joaquin Valley is vital to its success in 2040. As such, the Valley Link rail project, which as planned would connect the Dublin/ Pleasanton BART station with a direct rail line to Stockton, is an enormously critical piece of connectivity that will transform the region by 2040. With that project moving through planning phases, this vision looks toward what is next, to build upon Valley Link rail and to provide other mobility options that will create transportation sustainability in the Tri-Valley.
Employer-Sponsored Transportation Management Associations
A Transportation Management Association could be created across the Tri-Valley, with employers of all sizes paying into a fund that could support autonomous buses, shared bikes and electric/ autonomous vehicles, and on-demand micro-transit. These new investments could be used by any traveler in the region.
Select and invest in Key Corridors for Autonomous Vehicles
Tri-Valley cities and counties should begin working with private industry to develop a number of potential autonomous vehicle corridors within the Tri-Valley to move people and goods to their last mile destinations.
Mobility Subscriptions and Fare Integration
A mobility subscription program could unify purchases across transit agencies and private operators to a single mobile payment system. A program like this could address the affordability of transit and enable free or reduced-price connections when transferring modes, and it could even include a system that matches drivers and riders looking to carpool.
The physical footprint of the Tri-Valley — its housing stock, downtown areas, commercial districts, recreational areas, schools, and community spaces — gives the region its unmatched character. Building upon that vibrancy, and ensuring that everyone can access it, is important to making the Tri-Valley an in-demand destination now and out to 2040.
Housing for All
For it to grow in an inclusive way, the Tri-Valley needs diverse housing options that allow people from all income levels to live in the region. The Tri-Valley’s future economic growth is dependent on housing production to match a growing workforce demand.
Pioneer Walkable, Smart, and Green Communities
Tri-Valley cities should set a goal of creating a total of 10 walkable, smart, and green communities. Smart communities will be committed to sustainability and net zero energy use with renewable energy sources and water recycling integrated into the building process. To optimize connections and strengthen neighborhoods, these spaces can be wired with the fastest broadband technology and offer free public wi-fi.
New Tech / Light Industrial Park / Innovation Zone
A tech/light industrial park could solidify the region as a place where ideas not only are created, but they also come to fruition. Light industrial manufacturing requires space and an array of talent, making the Tri-Valley an ideal location to pull engineers from around the Bay Area and the Northern San Joaquin Valley.
Opportunity for All
The 2040 future of the Tri-Valley will also be marked by social mobility. While innovation is a key pillar of this vision, not everyone will work for a tech company, or have an advanced degree, or become an entrepreneur. Developing accessible job categories that can provide a family-sustaining wage and upward career trajectory will be critical in ensuring a future for all families in the Tri-Valley.
Internet Access as a Human Right
It is imperative that every business, household, and student have access to the technologies they need to stay connected. Access to technology is vital, and an ability to know how to use it is just as important.
Enhance Healthcare Systems as a Key Strength
The Tri-Valley region has a tremendous opportunity to form innovative partnerships and connections between its healthcare providers and its innovation ecosystem to keep its healthcare system best-in-class. The Tri-Valley’s network of hospitals and healthcare providers give Tri-Valley residents access to a teaching hospital, world-class doctors, new clinical trials, and advanced healthcare technologies. Enhanced connections between the laboratories, private sector, and healthcare system will create extraordinary new opportunities for healthcare and biotech innovation in the Tri-Valley.
Initiate a Private Sector-Led Philanthropic Fund
A private sector-led philanthropic fund has the benefit of allowing the region’s business stakeholders to create strategies to provide operational support to arts organizations, social service organizations, and even educational efforts within the Tri-Valley.
“Future sustainability” was a term brought up often during the vision process, as it can refer to environmental sustainability and the region’s own ability to sustain itself as an economic hub. Those two concepts are combined here as the green economy, with recommendations that will make the Tri-Valley a model for environmental stewardship and create new employment opportunities.
Global Leadership in Sustainability
The Tri-Valley should be a model community as it grows in a sustainable way. Developing more walkable communities, offering greener travel options, and looking to the national laboratories and the private sector for new technologies that promote sustainability are all part of the portfolio of solutions that can reduce carbon emissions and protect the environment.
Pilot Renewal Energy Microgrids and Battery Storage that can Provide Energy Independence
Tri-Valley leaders spoke at length about energy independence during the vision process. While moving entirely off the grid will require households to generate and store their own energy, the region’s business parks and major employers should explore the use of microgrids and battery storage to take responsibility for their own energy provision.
Double Down on Efforts to Commercialize Lab Research Within the Tri-Valley
More funding for the labs to mature technologies so that they become ready for spin-out can be a good first step to producing more startups in the region. Tri-Valley leaders should ensure their voice is heard both in Sacramento and in Washington, D.C.
Call To Action
With this vision, we, the stakeholders of the Tri- Valley, can create a better region in 2040: • We can build houses for all and transform cities, making them green, walkable, and diverse.
• We can provide better healthcare and education to all by solving the digital divide.
• We can create an education system that is lifelong, which trains for new jobs and competencies through a rich, cross-disciplinary structure.
• We can protect our environment and our planet. As Tri-Valley students have noted during this visioning process, if leaders do not step up now, the future will remain uncertain.
Together, we can build a rich future: one where all residents of the Tri-Valley can thrive and one where growing startups and businesses are inspired by the ideas generated in the Tri-Valley. It is up to Tri-Valley leaders to follow through with these recommendations and implement these visionary ideas. It is up to all of us to embrace and design our future.
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