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Metro’s Final Quality of Life Report Shows Striking Changes in Access to Transit and Growth in Services That Are Improving Mobility for L.A. County Residents

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Monday February 27, 2017

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has released the final version of a report that shows dramatic improvements in quality of life for the region between 2008 — when Los Angeles County voters approved Measure R — and 2015.

The initial report, released in May 2016, showed more than 480,000 L.A. County residents living within a half mile of transportation projects that have opened since 2009: the Expo Line’s first phase to Culver City, the Gold Line extensions to East Los Angeles and Azusa and the Orange Line extension to Chatsworth. More than 22 percent of the county’s population now lives near Metro Rail, a Metro bus rapid transit line or Metrolink commuter rail.

 

The final report also notes that 74 percent of L.A. County residents live within a quarter mile of a Metro bus stop and 41 percent live near a high-frequency bus stop provided by Metro or a partner agency.

 

Conditions on L.A. County freeways also have improved, with SigAlerts down 36 percent since 2008 and Metro ExpressLanes providing faster travel than general purpose lanes in L.A. County.

 

“Measure R has helped us produce travel options and augment existing programs that are building a new mobility for L.A. County,” said Metro Board Chair and City of Duarte Mayor Pro Tem John Fasana. “Whether on bus or rail or through better management of freeway space, such as we see with the ExpressLanes, these options are creating a new system for getting around. And as we begin the process of implementing the programs and projects in Measure M – the ballot measure for transportation that passed in November, 2016 – we will see even more positive changes. The era of transportation is approaching and we know it will make life better for everyone in our region, whether they are driving or taking advantage of bus or rail.”

 

The report shows that new rail and BRT services supply access to more than 300,000 jobs in the region, buses and trains arrive on time more frequently and transit travel times are faster than or similar to driving times along many rail and BRT routes.

 

“As we have said from the beginning, quality of life is dependent upon a successful transportation system and successful transportation system is a combination of factors that need to grow over time” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “In Los Angeles County, we must applaud the voters for their imagination and foresight, as they requested more transportation options and were willing to vote for Measure R and Measure M to support that request. As we add more services and reorganize others, our region is changing. This report shows us what progress looks like.”

 

Highlights from the final Quality of Life study show that since 2008, Metro has made great strides toward improving customer service by providing a more reliable travel experience, with buses arriving on time at stops 13 percent more often and fewer equipment breakdowns.

 

Metro customers today have better ways to communicate and connect over a variety of technology and social media platforms. Riders can now load transit fare onto their TAP cards via the internet and use their TAP cards to ride almost every transit service in Los Angeles County. They can access real time transit information using multiple apps for smart phones and they can interact with Metro on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the agency’s blog. The report shows customer satisfaction is up five percent from 83 percent in 2008 to 88 percent in 2015.

 

The study notes that Metro services support many of the county’s most disadvantaged communities, providing low-cost transportation choices to help residents get to work, school, parks and other important destinations. A total of 31 new transit stations have opened with more than 60 percent of the population around those new stations being disadvantaged.

 

Each year in L.A. County, transit operators provide about 600 million rides, with the lion’s share on Metro buses and trains. The report notes that Silver Line ridership is up 295 percent and Gold Line ridership is up 113 percent.

 

Metro also provides alternative transportation choices beyond transit, including running the nation’s largest vanpool program and organizing carpools though an employer-based ride-matching program. The report shows that since 2008, annual vanpool trips have increased from 2.2 million to more than four million in 2014. Metro also funds door-to-door paratransit services for people with disabilities through Access Services and usage is up 77 percent over the last four years. Wheelchair boardings on Metro’s regular bus service have increased from 489,850 to more than one million in 2014.

 

Metro continues to work to ease traffic through high-quality transit and freeway improvements, funding 34 new miles of carpool lanes while attracting 14 percent more carpoolers to the Metro ExpressLanes since 2013.

 

Metro also has provided funding to vital bicycle and pedestrian facilities, connecting L.A. County to jobs, housing and transit. The county has 1,600 miles of bike lanes and bike paths, of which 930 miles have been built since 2008. The report also shows that 68 percent of Metro Rail riders walk to trains and four percent ride bikes. On the bus side, 83 percent of riders walk to bus stops with five percent using their bikes. In Los Angeles County, 99 percent of the residents live near a bus stop and 80 percent live near a Metro bus stop.

 

Air quality is improving in Los Angeles County and Metro is part of the reason, as the operator of the nation’s largest clean fuel bus fleet. Metro emits nearly 300,000 fewer pounds of greenhouse gases per day since completely switching from diesel to compressed natural gas buses and continues to reduce emissions across all areas of operations. The agency is building LEED-certified facilities, installing solar panels on existing buildings, implementing programs to cut water use and using drought-resistant plants on Metro properties.

                                                              

 

 

Metro continues to work with developers to deliver more housing — including affordable housing units — near transit to help increase the supply in L.A. County. On average, housing costs are not increasing more quickly near transit stations than in surrounding communities. In addition, 30 percent of affordable housing units built in the county are near transit stations.

 

Looking ahead, the report notes that there are currently three transit projects under construction and 14 more planned; four highway projects are in construction and seven more are planned. Thanks to both Measure R and Measure M, $133.6 billion in spending is fueling the local economy and creating 778,000 jobs.

 

Data for this final study was compiled by Metro and was analyzed by an outside consultant team. The study includes expanded metrics that will set the framework for future updates to help monitor the agency’s progress. Please visit metro.net to view Metro’s Final Quality of Life Report.

 

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