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Projects

OEI’s projects and initiatives align with the Metro Vision 2028 strategic plan. While some are helping to further develop those goals, others are advancing promising unsolicited proposals, exploring P3s, or testing new mobility strategies.

Mobility on Demand

The Mobility on Demand (MOD) pilot was designed to enhance first / last mile connections to rapid transit for vulnerable populations who are excluded from private mobility providers. This includes people in wheelchairs, people without smartphones, and low-income riders.

Metro is partnering with Via to provide on-demand rides to select transit stations in three service zones in North Hollywood, El Monte and Compton. Rides can be requested using Via’s mobile app or by calling their call center. All rides are a free transfer from the Metro system. Therefore, no credit card or bank account information is required to book.

The MOD pilot has been in operation since January 2019. Its flexibility has been critical to Metro’s response to the CoVID-19 health crisis by suspending shared rides in support of social distancing, offering point-to-point services to accommodate essential trips, and adding new essential destinations beyond zone boundaries.

Traffic Reduction Study

Rising demand for the movement of goods and people increases congestion and affects the safety, efficiency, and capacity of not only our freeways but also our regional highways and arterial streets. What if we could double the number of trips taken by transportation modes other than driving alone? The Traffic Reduction Study (TRS) aims to:

  1. Explore ways to dramatically improve mobility, equity, and environmental outcomes to achieve Metro’s strategic goals.
  2. Provide reliable and convenient travel options for people to bypass traffic.
  3. Investigate the feasibility and framework for testing and implementing pricing strategies to reduce traffic.

Metro is conducting a feasibility study to identify a pilot program and ensure positive outcomes for mobility, equity, and the environment, while also developing grassroots support for the initiative through community and public engagement.

Sepulveda Transit Corridor

The Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project will be a new high capacity transit service connecting the San Fernando Valley and the Westside of L.A, and eventually LAX. More than 400,000 people travel through the Sepulveda Pass every day, but 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 congested 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.

Metro is currently procuring for a Preliminary Development Agreement (PDA) for the Sepulveda Transit Corridor, supporting presumed P3 project delivery. A PDA differs from traditional procurement processes because it allows Metro to transfer project development risks to the selected developer and allows the selected developer first right to negotiate project delivery.  Metro developed the procurement to incorporate a structure that allows for more than one PDA Team to support project development, among other features. The solicitation has attracted significant market interest, and multiple teams have qualified to submit proposals.

Comprehensive Pricing Strategy

The Metro Comprehensive Pricing Study (CPS) is a system-wide review of Metro’s pricing policies for all of its transportation services, including fares, bike share, parking and tolls. Vision 2028 directs staff to conduct a comprehensive transportation system pricing study to determine options for meeting goals of revenue, equity, security, ridership, and user experience, and to implement pricing policies arising from the study.

The guiding principles for the CPS process is inclusivity, transparency, traceability, and consensus-based collaboration. Research and engagement will be undertaken inclusively with internal and external stakeholders, and decision points will be traceable to key data points and group deliberations. The study will strive for consensus-based collaboration. Ultimately, identifying and implementing pricing policies will require a whole-of-agency effort. Through CPS, Metro is demonstrating its leadership in evidence-based policymaking to improve mobility and equitable access to opportunities.

New Mobility Regional Roadmap

Emerging transportation network companies (TNCs) and micro-mobility companies have
increased mobility options yet created negative externalities. On the one hand, ride hailing and
scooter and bike sharing companies provide rides on demand, reduce the need for car
ownership and offer a first / last mile option for transit riders; but on the other, they have
contributed to roadway and curbside congestion, increased vehicle emissions, and raised
important questions about labor practices. Evidence suggests that TNCs also contribute to
declines in transit ridership and therefore threaten the sustainability of an important public
service.

Metro is building a coalition of cities, councils of governments and other municipal partners to
collectively determine the best path forward for managing New Mobility across LA County and
achieving our regional mobility goals. The New Mobility Regional Roadmap will:

  1. Identify challenges and opportunities around new mobility
  2. Adopt guiding principles and shared goals around new mobility
  3. Explore potential tactics for meeting shared goals
  4. Commit to and coordinate roles and responsibilities

OEI plans to convene a New Mobility Regional Roadmap Working Group to establish guiding
principles and shared goals.

Automated Bus Lane Enforcement (ABLE)

ABLE is a program to enforce parking violations in bus-only lanes through the use of on-vehicle, forward facing cameras.

Expanding and enforcing bus-only lanes is critical to achieving the mobility, safety, equity, and environmental goals of Vision 2028 and the NextGen Bus Study. OEI’s research team has confirmed that parked cars in bus-only lanes is a pervasive safety and performance issue, and that ABLE is the most effective and cost-effective enforcement tool; however, ABLE technology is not currently authorized for use in Los Angeles County.

In 2018, Metro received a Proposal from CarmaCam and conducted a Proof of Concept (POC). The POC findings, combined with primary research and industry benchmarking, led to ABLE’s inclusion in the legislative programs of both Metro and the City of Los Angeles. In early 2020, enabling legislation – AB2337 -- was introduced.

Travel Rewards Research Pilot

In 2017, more than 75% of commuter car trips in LA County were single occupancy. Rather than drive alone, what if drivers took transit, carpooled, bicycled or telecommuted instead? The Travel Rewards Research Pilot is studying what types of incentives would nudge drivers to make more socially responsible choices.

This pilot project hypothesizes that while many LA County residents and others nationally could easily make some trips using alternatives to SOVs, very few actually do. This could be because individuals are simply in the habit of driving alone, even when alternatives could save them time and money and make them happier and healthier.  We are looking to better understand the role of cognitive biases and routines in shaping travel behaviors, and how this knowledge can be leveraged to encourage people who are driving alone to try something new, using financial or programmatic incentives, or other behavioral strategies. To determine which mix of incentives has the best ROI, the team is leveraging tools and skills from Behavioral Economics, Human Centered Design, Experimental Evaluation and Data Science to test a variety of programmatic, reputational, experiential, and monetary incentive across representative employment districts/corridors in LA County. Emerging new-mobility (ridesharing, bike/scooter-sharing, ride-hailing) and communications mobile and web platforms are the primary delivery mechanism for incentive testing alongside programmatic interventions.

This initiative is being led by OEI and developed in partnership with the Metro Planning, TAP, Communications, Human Capital and Development Departments, the 2019 Metro Leadership Academy Team “Ridership”, and leading behavioral economics experts from Duke University, Harvard University and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

COVID-19 Recovery Task Force

Metro’s CEO and Senior Leadership Team authorized a Recovery Taskforce, chaired by OEI, to develop a plan for Metro to respond to challenges brought by the COVID-19 crisis. The Taskforce will meet between April 30 and September 30, 2020. It will issue monthly progress reports with recommended early actions, plus a final recovery plan. Taskforce members come from diverse backgrounds and departments. Many are graduates of Metro’s Leadership Academy, the ENO/Max program or The Women and Girls Council; and membership includes Executive Officers for Equity and Race and Customer Experience.

The pandemic has devastated the regional economy and significantly impacted Metro services and ridership. Simultaneously, stay-at-home orders and social distancing requirements have given us a glimpse of what life in Los Angeles could be like without so many cars on the road.  A return to the status quo of traffic, unhealthy air and dangerous streets would be a generational missed opportunity to transform the region for the better. The Recovery Plan will align with the goals of Vision 2028. It will include short, medium and long-term recommendations to help Metro respond to and recover from the pandemic; contribute to L.A. County’s economic recovery; and advance mobility without congestion as the ‘new normal’ after the pandemic.

Travel Rewards Research Pilot

In 2017, more than 75% of commuter car trips in LA County were single occupancy. Rather than drive alone, what if drivers took transit, carpooled, bicycled or telecommuted instead?

OEI is exploring the development of a Travel Rewards Research Pilot in partnership with the Metro Planning, TAP, Communications, Human Capital and Development Departments, the 2019 Metro Leadership Academy Team “Ridership”, and leading behavioral economics experts to study what types of incentives would nudge drivers to make choices towards solving traffic.

This potential pilot project hypothesizes that while many LA County residents and others nationally could easily make some trips using alternatives to driving alone, very few actually do. This could be because individuals are simply in the habit of driving alone, even when alternatives could save them time and money and make them happier and healthier. We are looking to better understand the role of cognitive biases and routines in shaping travel behaviors, and how this knowledge can be leveraged to encourage people who are driving alone to try something new, using financial or programmatic incentives, or other behavioral strategies. To determine which mix of incentives has the best ROI, the team is considering leveraging tools and skills from Behavioral Economics, Human Centered Design, Experimental Evaluation and Data Science to test a variety of programmatic, reputational, experiential, and monetary incentive across representative employment districts/corridors in LA County. Emerging new-mobility (ridesharing, bike/scooter-sharing, ride-hailing) and communications mobile and web platforms would be the primary delivery mechanism for incentive testing alongside programmatic interventions.