We live in extraordinary times. While Los Angeles presents some of the toughest mobility challenges in America, the world is experiencing levels of transportation innovation unprecedented in recent memory. And these changes are in turn redefining what an agency like Metro should be.
To take advantage of the promise offered by these opportunities, Metro must strive to be the most innovative transportation agency in the country, ensuring that we are using every tool at our disposal to help improve mobility in LA County.
With that in mind, the Office of Extraordinary Innovation was established to help set a clear vision for what Metro hopes to achieve, and to explore new ways to move LA. From public private capital partnerships to cutting edge new technologies, OEI is tasked with identifying, evaluating, developing, and implementing these new approaches. These efforts may be undertaken by Metro on its own or jointly in collaboration with private sector firms through innovative partnership agreements.
To carry out this work, OEI has three program areas:
- Strategic Planning: Vision 2028
- Public-Private Partnerships/Unsolicited Proposals Policy
- New Mobility
- Metro Vision 2028 is our agency’s big picture plan to improve mobility in Los Angeles County and explains what the public can expect from Metro over the next ten years. This is a bold and ambitious plan that intends to marshal the creativity, resources, and political will to shape our mobility future and unleash Los Angeles County’s unparalleled economic and social promise. Vision 2028 emphasizes putting the user experience at the core of transportation and at the forefront of how we do business. Check out our plan for improving mobility .
- Metro’s Unsolicited Proposal policy represents Metro’s commitment to bringing the best of the public and private sectors together, and believes that partnerships are key to our shared success. This unique policy allows private sector companies working on transportation innovations to present new ideas directly to Metro for review and evaluation, jump-starting the traditional public procurement process. The most exciting proposals could lead to a demonstration, a pilot project, or in the most successful cases, a full deployment across Metro’s system. Partnership models could include finance-based Public-Private-Partnerships (P3) for innovative delivery of major capital investments, or new partnerships models that allow Metro to harness the creativity and incentives of the private sector to improve project outcomes in other ways. The Unsolicited Proposal process is key tool to help operationalize Vision 2028 through leading-edge approaches, business models, and technologies, enabling Metro to be nimble and more quickly realize the benefits of new opportunities to delivering services better, faster and more effectively.
- New Mobility projects represent cutting edge transportation services are made possible by new technology. These pilot projects are testing new service delivery methods that include greater private sector involvement, more focus on customer experience, and improved mobility and access particularly for populations that have been neglected by the existing private networks.
Strategic Planning: Vision 2028
Vision 2028 is Metro’s plan to improve mobility in Los Angeles County. By 2028, Metro seeks to revamp LA County’s public transit by:
1. Providing high-quality mobility options that enable people to spend less time traveling
2. Delivering outstanding trip experiences for all users of the transportation system
3. Enhancing communities and lives through mobility and access to opportunity
4. Transforming LA County through regional collaboration and national leadership
5. Providing responsive, accountable, and trustworthy governance within the Metro organization
Partnerships: P3s and Unsolicited Proposals
We work with business to get projects done. Examples of our Public Private Partnerships are:
The East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor
This LRT Project will ultimately extend north from the Van Nuys Metro Orange Line station, to the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station, a total of 9.2 miles. $1.3 billion has been identified for the project, most coming from local Measure M, Measure R and State gas tax funds. The light rail trains will operate in the median of Van Nuys Blvd for 6.7 miles to San Fernando Road. From San Fernando Road, the trains will transition onto the existing rail road right-of-way that’s adjacent to San Fernando Road, which it will share with Metrolink for 2.5 miles to the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station. The alignment will include 14 at-grade stations with an end-to-end travel time of 31 minutes, and daily boardings that are anticipated to exceed 30,000 by the year 2040.
The Sepulveda Transit Corridor
The Sepulveda Transit Corridor a new high capacity transit service connecting the San Fernando Valley and the Westside of L.A., and eventually to LAX. The natural barrier created by the Santa Monica Mountains means that most people traveling between these areas are funneled primarily onto the I-405 Freeway, already ranked as one of the most traveled urban highways in the nation. The Valley-Westside portion of the project, scheduled to open by 2033, has approximately $5.7 billion allocated to it. Approximately $3.8 billion in additional funds are allocated to extend service from the Westside to LAX, with a 2057 opening date.
West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor
The West Santa Ana Branch (WSAB) Transit Corridor Project is a 19-mile light rail corridor that will run through Southeastern L.A. County to the Orange County Line. The project is currently undergoing study to complete an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)/ Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to prepare the project for final design and delivery. The Project has a $4 billion allocation of funding comprised of Measure M and other local, state, and federal sources.
Union Station to Dodger Stadium Aerial Tram
The Union Station to Dodger Stadium Aerial Tram is a privately funded project that is in the environmental study and planning phase.
Orange Line Vehicle to Infrastructure Optimization
The Orange Line Vehicle to Infrastructure Optimization project is a pilot designed to help Orange Line buses catch more green lights.
Mobile tolling is a test of technology that could be used to make ExpressLanes accessible using a smartphone app.
The mobility landscape is constantly changing. Transforming Los Angeles County will require self-transformation on the part of Metro as well. Here is how Metro is harnessing the power of new technology to improve the way Metro customers move:
MicroTransit Pilot Project (MTP)
Metro is designing a new demand-responsive service to improve the user experience of our customers. The new service will be on-call when and where riders want it – connecting more people and places to our existing system.
For more information on the project, visit www.metro.net/microtransit
Mobility on Demand (MOD)
The Federal Transit Administration has made $8 million in funding available for pilot programs to demonstrate and evaluate innovative approaches to integrated MOD solutions for public transportation. LA Metro, in partnership with Sound Transit in Seattle, Foothill Transit, Access Services, and the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, received $1.3 million to explore how an on-demand transportation platform can complement transit by delivering customers to rapid transit stations.
OEI Ride Along
OEI leads ride alongs for Metro employees stationed at LA Metro’s Headquarters to walk in the customer shoes. Riding the system encourages employees from many different departments to see how their work contributes to the service we provide every day, as well as how the many moving parts, touch points and values at play interact within the broader ecosystem of the County. Periodically, OEI opens up these rides to the industry – stay tuned!
If you would like to learn more about the projects we are working on in greater detail, please check out our 2019 Innovation Report .
The Office of Extraordinary Innovation was created in 2015 by CEO Phil Washington to identify the best ideas in transportation and help to test, refine, and implement them at LA Metro.
The Office of Extraordinary Innovation was created in 2015 by CEO Phil Washington to identify the best ideas in transportation and help to test, refine, and implement them at LA Metro. OEI is focused on finding new ways of thinking and innovative new methods and approaches for bringing convenient, affordable, and effective mobility solutions to Los Angeles.
Who We Are
Dr. Joshua Schank
Chief Innovation Office
Joshua is our Chief Innovation Officer Joshua came from the Eno Center for Transportation, a transportation policy think-tank in Washington, DC, where he served as the President and Chief Executive Officer.
Executive Officer of Innovation
Mark has researched, taught and advocated on a range of policy issues, including transportation, housing, homelessness, urban planning, climate change, sustainability, food and trade. Mark previously directed the think tank LAplus, was policy director for Abundant Housing LA, researched and taught urban and environmental policy at Occidental College, and worked on international trade for Friends of the Earth. Mark is co-author of The Next Los Angeles: the Struggle for a Livable City. Mark received his BA and JD from the University of Virginia.
Tham is a Senior Director. She is responsible for facilitating the implementation of Vision 2028 and monitoring its progress to ensure alignment with the agency’s strategic vision and goals. Her professional work has focused on the intersection of improving mobility, livability, and environmental outcomes. Her work in transportation has spanned over 16 years and includes leadership roles in multimodal planning, transportation policy development, and infrastructure funding. She currently oversees Metro’s transformational initiatives, including studying the feasibility of testing and implementing pricing strategies to reduce traffic congestion and exploring opportunities for expanding access to shared, demand-responsive transportation options.
Colin F. Peppard
Senior Director, P3 and Innovation
Colin is a Senior Director overseeing Metro’s Public-Private Partnerships (P3) Program. He oversees Metro’s work to identify, evaluate, and implement innovative approaches to deliver high performing capital project investments and emerging mobility services. Colin previously led the implementation of Metro’s Unsolicited Proposal Policy, where he developed and launched Metro’s first on-the-ground pilot project with a Transportation Network Company (TNC). Prior to that, he served as Policy Advisor and Committee Staff to a senior United States Senator on federal transportation issues Washington, D.C.
Senior Manager, P3 and Innovation
Andrew is a Senior Innovation Manager developing and evaluating Metro’s Public-Private Partnerships opportunities. Over the last three years, Andrew worked to expand Metro’s public and employee Electric Vehicle Charger programs and to electrify Metro’s Non-Revenue Fleet. Previously he worked as a Capital Projects Coordinator for the City of Long Beach and as an urban planning consultant in international development.
Senior Manager, Transportation Planning
Avital is a Senior Manager in OEI where she focuses on shaping policies and implementing projects that work to nudge LA County towards more sustainable modes of transportation instead of driving alone. She previously worked in Metro’s Planning department launching and managing the Metro Bike Share program. A daily transit and bike rider with a flair for “cycle chic” fashion, Avital holds a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from UCLA.
Raymond is leading the first agency-wide review of Metro’s pricing policies for all transportation services, including transit fare policy and user charges for on-demand mobility. Ray’s professional work has centered around evidence-based policy development at the nexus of transport, land use, and the environment. Some of his prior work include regional apartment parking studies and transit-oriented affordable housing. With stops at TransLink, Metropolitan Transportation Commission, and Metro Vancouver Regional District, Ray brings a regional perspective to city-making. Ray holds an undergraduate degree in civil engineering, and a graduate degree in urban planning.
Ryan is focused on the Traffic Reduction Study and implementation and monitoring of Vision 2028. Prior to LA metro he worked in the nonprofit and consulting industries on climate mitigation and adaptation planning, economics, and land use and mobility policy at the federal, state, and local levels. He has Master of Arts degrees from the United Nations Mandated University for Peace and American University in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development and International Development, and an undergraduate degree in International Environmental Policy from UC Davis. He is also a U.S. Navy veteran.
Manager, Transportation Planning
Nolan is a Transportation Manager primarily responsible for managing the Unsolicited Proposals Policy and process. Through this process, Nolan works with the private sector and Metro Departments to develop a range of low-cost, high impact innovation pilots and proofs of concept. Nolan has overseen the review of over 130 proposals, advancing over a dozen ideas from concept to implementation. In 2019, his work on the use of drones for data collection was recognized with Metro’s Innovation Award. He was also a member of the inaugural Women and Girls Governing Council, which received Metro’s 2019 CEO Award for its recommendations to improve transportation outcomes for women and girls. Before helping to launch OEI, Nolan was a Transportation Planner in the Office of the CEO. Nolan joined Metro in 2013 as a Trainee with the Management Audit Services Department after completing the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs in Los Angeles. Nolan earned his Bachelor’s degree in Urban and Environmental Policy from Occidental College. While at Occidental College, he also studied abroad in Senegal and played two seasons of varsity soccer.
Principal Transportation Planner
Emma is a Principal Transportation Planner and leads OEI’s research and policy efforts. Under the FTA’s Mobility on Demand Sandbox Demonstration program, Emma worked to design, implement, and project manage Metro’s pilot partnership with Via for on-demand first-and-last mile shared ride service, which launched in January of 2019. She was part of the project team and a contributing author to Vision 2028, Metro’s agency-wide strategic plan that was adopted by the Board in June 2018. Emma co-authored UpRouted: Exploring Microtransit in the United States , published by the Eno Center for Transportation in 2018. She received her Master of Public Policy degree from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, where she focused on urban policy, and her Bachelor’s degree in Political Studies from Pitzer College.
Senior Transportation Planner
Shaun is supporting Metro’s Unsolicited Proposals Policy. He reviews conceptual proposals from firms with ideas to design, finance, build, deliver or operate services and implement innovative proposals to help Metro achieve its strategic planning goals. Shaun brings energy and sustainability planning, policy and project delivery experience, previously serving as an advisor to cities, agencies and school districts across California. He received his MA in Philosophy from the University of Houston and MFA in Creative Writing from the University of California, Riverside.
Cassie is a Transportation Planner supporting OEI’s research and policy programs. She leads design and implementation of the Visionary Seed Fund, liaises with OEI’s Advisory Board, and facilitates the inter-departmental World Class Bus Initiative. She was previously Manager of Special Projects for the Shared-Use Mobility Center, a Chicago-based non-profit, where she led various research and technical assistance programs. Cassie is passionate about equitable, data-driven and community-led strategies that enhance urban mobility. She is working toward her MA in Urban and Regional Planning at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. She hails from Seattle, Washington, where she received her BA in Comparative History of Ideas from the University of Washington.
Glendora is the Executive Secretary to Joshua Schank, OEI’s Chief Innovation Officer. Glendora is a 23-year veteran of Metro, 16 of those years she served in both Bus and Rail Operations. She holds a Master’s degree in Management and Leadership from the University of LaVerne
Innovation Fellows are LA Metro staff who will rotate into the Office of Extraordinary Innovation for a one year fellowship:
Marie is a Transportation Manager at Metro. Marie is joining OEI from the Transit Oriented Communities team at Metro. She works primarily on Metro’s New Mobility projects– both the Mobility on Demand partnership with Via and the Metro Micro Transit Pilot. Her experience at Metro has focused on specialized real estate projects such as The Bloc / Metro Connection and the North Hollywood Joint Development. She hails from Denver, Colorado. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Media Studies and Spanish from Pomona College and a Master of Urban Planning degree from the University of Southern California. Marie spent three years editing documentaries in New York City, and she took her first shared, on-demand taxi during her 2003 semester in Havana, Cuba. Her travels in Latin America drew her to on-demand, shared jitney style transportation, and she is excited to be newly re-immersed in that world in Los Angeles.
Doreen is a Principal Transportation Planner at Metro. Prior to joining OEI, Doreen served as a GIS Analyst with the Systems Analysis and Research team. There, she focused on socioeconomic data and travel patterns, worked in Long Range Planning supporting the development of Measure M and the Call for Projects, and most recently was part of Metro’s Federal Transportation Improvement Program (FTIP) where she managed the programming of over $23bn in transportation projects. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from CalArts and a Master of Landscape Architecture from CalPoly Pomona. As part of the 2018 EnoMAX transit agency exchange program, Doreen developed a business case for Fareless Transit in LA County.
OEI accepts part-time academic fellows, and hosts high school and college interns on a temporary basis through the Transportation Career Academy Program (TCAP) and the Metro Internship Program (MIP), respectively.
Off Peak Podcast
celebrates the true tales and secret stories that happen between Point A and Point B in Southern California and beyond. Challenging the traditional car-centric narrative of Los Angeles, Off Peak explores the rich history and future of rail, bus, cycling, walking and all manner of getting around in LA.
Subscribe to the Podcast
Subscribe to the podcast or listen to individual episodes below.
Episode 6: First Woman Everything
We interview Leilia Bailey-Leahy the first woman hired as an RTD bus operator after World War II. Ms. Bailey-Leahy was the first woman Division Dispatcher and the first woman Division Manager, and later the first woman Director of Transportation at RTD. In fact she was the first woman to do so many things in Los Angeles transit that the plaque dedicated to her at Metro HQ can barely fit in all the firsts. We hear her amazing life story from the segregated South to the highest rungs of transportation.
Episode 5: Bus Roadeo
Once a year, the best of the best Metro bus operators compete in an annual Bus Roadeo. Set at Santa Anita Racetrack, there’s an obstacle course, a test on how well the operators know their buses and an ADA challenge. The winner goes on to represent LA at the International Bus Roadeo in the spring. We report from this year’s nail biter!
Why Are We Doing This? - Bonus Episode
During this first season of Off Peak we've received great feedback and interest. We've also heard one question come up over and over: “Why are you doing this?” In this bonus micro-episode, Joshua Schank, Chief Innovation Officer of Metro, takes on the big why.
OEI in the News
- July 2019 - Metro's 2019 Innovation Portfolio -- The Source
- June 2019 -- Dallas Public Transit to Hire a Chief Innovation Officer - govtech.com
- January 2019 -- Los Angeles And Via Experiment With Low-Income Rideshare Service – Forbes.com
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