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Los Angeles County Congestion Reduction Demonstration National Evaluation Plan

1.0 Introduction

The U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) awarded grants in 2007 and 2008 to six metropolitan areas for implementation of congestion reduction strategies under the Urban Partnership Agreement (UPA) and Congestion Reduction Demonstration (CRD) programs. The Los Angeles County CRD, focusing on the I 10 and I 110 corridors, was one of the selected sites. Based on a competitive procurement process, the U.S. DOT selected the Battelle team to conduct the national evaluations of the UPA/CRD projects.

This document presents the Los Angeles County CRD National Evaluation Plan which has been developed by the Battelle team, in cooperation with the Los Angeles County CRD partners and the U.S. DOT. This introduction section describes U.S. DOT's congestion reduction programs and the strategies being implemented at the various sites.

1.1 U.S. DOT Program to Reduce Congestion

Transportation system congestion is a significant threat to the economic prosperity and way of life in the U.S. Whether it takes the form of trucks stalled in traffic, cargo stuck at overwhelmed seaports, or airplanes stuck on the tarmac, congestion costs the nation an estimated $200 billion a year. Traffic congestion in major metropolitan areas is a key part of this problem. In 2007, congestion caused urban Americans to travel 4.2 billion hours more and to purchase an extra 2.8 billion gallons of fuel. The value of time spent and out of pocket fuel costs represented a total congestion cost of $87.2 billion—an increase of more than 50 percent over the previous decade. Congestion affects the quality of life in America by robbing time that could be spent with families and friends, in participation in civic life, and in recreational activities. As indicated in Figure 1-1, which reflects conditions in 14 of the nation's largest urban areas representing 54 percent of the population, the total hours of traffic delay grew approximately 340 percent from 1982 to 2007 and the miles traveled under extreme congestion more than tripled, from 8 percent to 28 percent.

In 2006, the U.S. DOT initiated a program to explore reducing congestion in partnership with metropolitan areas through the implementation of pricing activities combined with necessary supporting elements. This program was instituted through the Urban Partnership Agreements (UPAs) and the Congestion Reduction Demonstrations (CRDs). Within each program, multiple sites around the U.S. have been awarded funding for implementation of congestion reduction strategies. Background information on the UPA and CRD programs is presented below, followed by a summary of strategies being deployed at each of the UPA and CRD sites. More information on the two programs is available at http://www.upa.dot.gov/ and http://www.upa.dot.gov/crd/index.htm.

1.1.1 Urban Partnership Agreement / Congestion Reduction Demonstration Program Overview

U.S. DOT entered into UPAs with cities, pursuant to their commitment to implement "broad congestion pricing." In December 2006, the U.S. DOT issued a Federal Register Notice soliciting cities to apply for Urban Partnership status by April 30, 2007. For the cities that were selected, this Urban Partnership status would confer priority for available federal discretionary funds amounting to approximately $1 billion across about a dozen programs. The applicants' proposals for congestion reduction were to be based on four complementary strategies known as the 4Ts: Tolling, Transit, Telecommuting, which includes additional travel demand management (TDM) strategies, and Technology.

Figure 1-1.  Percentage of Vehicle Miles Traveled by Congestion Level in Very Large Urban Areas, 1982 versus 2007. Two pie charts in five segments provide a comparative breakdown of hours of delay. For 1982, uncongested accounts for 62 percent, moderate accounts for 11 percent, heavy accounts for 9 percent, severe accounts for 10 percent, and extreme accounts for 8 percent of the total 0.5 billion hours of delay. For 2007, uncongested accounts for 26 percent, moderate accounts for 13 percent, heavy accounts for 14 percent, severe accounts for 19 percent, and extreme accounts for 28 percent of the total 2.3 billion hours of delay.

Source: Urban Mobility Report 2009, Texas Transportation Institute.

Figure 1-1. Percentage of Vehicle Miles Traveled by Congestion Level in Very Large Urban Areas, 1982 versus 2007

In August 2007, the selection of five urban partners was announced—Miami, Minnesota, New York City, San Francisco, and Seattle—along with a total of $853 million in federal discretionary grants for these partners. On April 7, 2008, the New York State Assembly declined to take a formal vote to provide needed legislative authority to implement the proposed New York City congestion-pricing project. The U.S. DOT announced that the UPA funds previously targeted for New York would be made available to other areas for implementing congestion pricing and supporting strategies.

In 2007, the U.S. DOT announced a follow-up to the UPA Program, called the Congestion Reduction Demonstration (CRD) initiative. The November 13, 2007, Federal Register notice set a December 31, 2007, deadline for applications. Subsequently, the U.S. DOT announced a $210.6 million CRD award to the City of Los Angeles and a $153 million award to the City of Chicago. Chicago was subsequently removed from the program when deadlines for pricing legislation were not met. Atlanta was selected for CRD grants in November 2009 and will become part of the national evaluation.

A wide range of strategies and projects are being implemented at the UPA/CRD sites using the 4Ts. Table 1-1 highlights the strategies being deployed at the various UPA/CRD sites. The Los Angeles County CRD projects include congestion pricing in the form of HOT lanes on the I 10 and I 110 freeways; intelligent parking management (IPM) in downtown LA; enhanced bus rapid transit (BRT) service; enhanced park-and-ride security; and significantly expanded ridesharing in the treatment corridors.

Table 1-1.  Summary of UPA/CRD Strategies by Site
UPA/CRD Strategies Site: MN Site: SF Site: SEA Site: MIA Site: LA
Convert HOV lanes to dynamically priced HOT lanes and/or new HOT lanes X     X X
Priced dynamic shoulder lanes X        
Variably priced parking and/or loading zones   X     X
Variably priced roadways or bridges (partial cordon)     X    
Increase park-and-ride capacity (expand existing or add new) X   X X X
Implement new, expand or enhance bus service X   X X  
Implement new, or expand existing, Bus Rapid Transit X     X X
Transit on special runningways (e.g., contraflow lanes, shoulders) X     X  
New and/or enhanced transit stops/stations X   X X X
Transit traveler information systems (bus arrival times, parking availability) X X X    
Transit lane keeping/lane guidance X        
Transit traffic signal priority X     X X
Arterial street traffic signal improvements to improve transit travel times X        
Ferry service improvements   X X    
Improved transit travel forecasting techniques   X      
Pedestrian improvements       X X
“Results Only Work Environment” employer-based techniques X        
Work to increase use of telecommuting X X X X  
Work to increase flexible scheduling X   X X  
Work to increase alternative commute programs, including car and van pools X X X X X
Vehicle infrastructure integration test bed   X      
Active traffic management X   X    
Regional multi-modal traveler information (e.g., 511) X X X    
Freeway management (ramp meters, travel time signs, enhanced monitoring) X     X  
Enhanced traffic signal operations X        
Parking management system   X     X

The U.S. DOT selected a national evaluation contractor through a competitive procurement process to assess the effectiveness of the various UPA/CRD strategies. The Battelle team was selected to conduct the national evaluation. The team has been working with representatives from the U.S. DOT and the UPA/CRD sites to develop and conduct the evaluation process. This report was prepared by members of the Battelle team working in cooperation with the Los Angeles County CRD partners and representatives from the U.S. DOT.

1.2 Organization of this Report

The remainder of this report is divided into four sections. Chapter 2.0 discusses the Los Angeles County CRD. An overview of the transportation system in the Los Angeles metropolitan area is presented first, followed by a description of the Los Angeles County CRD partners and the CRD projects, funding, and deployment schedule. Chapter 3.0 provides an overview of the national evaluation organizational structure, the national evaluation process and framework, the U.S. DOT guiding questions and evaluation analyses, and the Los Angeles County CRD evaluation process. Chapter 4.0 presents the Los Angeles County CRD evaluation plan. The chapter discusses the 12 evaluation analyses and describes the preliminary evaluation test plans. The report concludes with a discussion of the next steps in the Los Angeles County CRD national evaluation process.

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