Los Angeles County Congestion Reduction Demonstration National Evaluation Plan
2.0 Los Angeles County Congestion Reduction Demonstration Agreement
This chapter describes the Congestion Reduction Agreement between U.S. DOT and the Los Angeles County local partners. It provides an overview of the transportation system in the Los Angeles County CRD treatment corridors and describes the congestion challenges faced there. It also describes the Los Angeles County CRD partners and their organizational relationships. This chapter closes with a summary characterization of the L.A. CRD projects and their deployment schedules.
2.1 The Transportation System and Congestion in Los Angeles County
The Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana urban area has more than 10 million residents. Despite its reputation for urban sprawl, it has the second highest population density in the country, second only to the New York-New Jersey metroplex. Roughly 85 percent of the urbanized area falls within L.A. County, which covers more than 4,000 square miles and includes 88 cities plus several unincorporated areas.
The Los Angeles Region is the home of major transportation facilities that are of regional and national significance including the Port of Los Angeles, the Port of Long Beach, and the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Los Angeles County's economy is ranked 16th worldwide. Its two ports combined rank fifth worldwide in the volume of cargo that they handle.
The region has a complex transportation network of freeways and arterial roads; heavy and light rail; commuter rail; and bus service including bus rapid transit (BRT). L.A.'s freeway system, including its network of HOV lanes, is the most extensive in the country. Public transportation is available throughout the region, with Metro being the largest transit provider. Metro buses serve an area of 1,433 square miles. Sixteen other municipal transit operators provide additional bus service in Los Angeles County.
The L.A. CRD projects relate to the I 10 and I 110 transportation corridors which move traffic to and from downtown Los Angeles, and also to downtown Los Angeles parking facilities. Table 2-1 describes key transportation facilities in these CRD project treatment areas. It should be noted that neither the I 10 nor I 110 corridors have light rail service. However, the Blue Line runs parallel to the I 110 at certain locations. Similarly, the Metrolink San Bernardino Line commuter rail service parallels the I 10 at certain locations along its route.
Congestion. The Los Angeles region has consistently been ranked as the most congested urbanized area in the country by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI). Peak-period traffic and major congestion on the roadway system extends from 6 to 10 a.m. in the morning and from 3 to 7 p.m. in the evening. Roughly 86 percent of peak-period vehicle miles occur in congested conditions.
|Freeway Infrastructure (in each direction)|
|Mixed Flow Lanes (MFL)||4||4|
|High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lanes||1||2|
|Freeway Usage during Morning Rush|
|MFL, Vehicles per Hour||5,775||5,770|
|HOV, Vehicles per Hour||1,515||3,175|
|MFL, Persons per Hour||6,285||6,115|
|HOV, Persons per Hour||6,884||7,546|
|MFL, Average Vehicle Occupancy||1.09||1.06|
|HOV, Average Vehicle Occupancy||4.54||2.38|
|HOV, Traveler Time Savings1||46%||53%|
|Transit Service and Park & Ride|
|Number of Park & Ride Spaces/Sites||2089 spaces at 5 sites||1693 spaces at 8 sites|
|Metro Bus Route Miles within Treatment Corridors2||84.6||190.6|
|Metro Bus Ridership within Treatment Corridors3||9,082||5,693|
|Number of Vanpools4||49||74|
|Downtown Parking (included in the CRD Intelligent Parking Mgt. Project)|
|Off-Street Publicly Owned Parking Spaces||7,500|
|On-Street Parking Spaces||Approximately 5,500|
Freeway usage data: California State DOT District 7, 2007 HOV Annual Report, July 2007
Bus data: Metro Service Planning & Development Department, June 2009.
Vanpool data: Metro Research and Development Department, April 2008.
Parking data: LADOT, November 2009.
1 HOV lane time savings measured for westbound a.m. travel.
2 Round-trip bus route miles by Metro Rapid and local buses within the treatment corridors.
3 Weekday boardings that include Metro Rapid and local buses at busway stations and stops in downtown Los Angeles only.
4 Vanpool numbers are from Metro's April 2008 Vanpool Survey.
The following factors contribute to Los Angeles traffic congestion:
- A large and growing population and employment base
- Increasing trend toward urban sprawl development in the outer areas of the county; this limits the effectiveness of transit strategies while creating demand for additional roads and highly subsidized transit services
- The polycentric structure of the Los Angeles urban area that promotes travel in many different directions and impedes the provision of economical mass transit
- Rapid growth of freight movement traffic for all modes, particularly trucks transporting containers
- Disproportionate increase in the demand for travel relative to the growth in road capacity (i.e., vehicle miles of travel compared to road lane-miles)
- Increasing numbers of traffic incidents especially along major freight corridors
- Historically low gasoline prices
- Insufficient funding resources to implement needed transportation investments in a timely manner
- The abundance of free or relatively inexpensive parking
- Competing transportation investment priorities, especially the need to reduce air pollution from transportation sources.
Despite enormous transportation investments, it is widely accepted that major elements of L.A.'s transportation network are operating at or near capacity. The CRD projects are important to L.A. because they will add peak hour transportation capacity in treatment corridors while providing transit and ridesharing alternatives to vehicle travel. As these projects become reality, they will also test the public's willingness to accept pricing as a way of moderating congestion and improving transportation facility utilization in the Los Angeles region.
2.2 The Los Angeles County CRD Partners
A number of state, regional, and local agencies are collaborating on the Los Angeles County CRD projects. As Figure 2-1 indicates, Metro has taken the lead with active engagement by Caltrans; the City and County of Los Angeles; the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG); and a number of other supporting agencies. The following paragraphs briefly describe each of the partner organizations and their role in the L.A. CRD effort.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro). Metro serves as transportation planner, coordinator, designer, builder; and transit operator for Los Angeles County's 88 cities. It is responsible for preparing the Long-Range Transportation Plan for Los Angeles County. The 2000+ buses and rail lines operated by Metro–which include an extensive BRT network and 73.1 miles of passenger rail lines–average 1.54 million boardings each weekday. Metro also partially funds 16 municipal bus operators and Metrolink. As noted earlier, Metro is coordinating the overall L.A. CRD effort, and is managing its transit and ridesharing project elements.
Figure 2-1. Organization of Los Angeles County CRD Project Stakeholders
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). Caltrans District 7 includes Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. District 7 is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the largest urban freeway system in the country. It built and manages 468 HOV lane-miles in Los Angeles County and has implemented an advanced Transportation Management Center (TMC) for monitoring and managing L.A. and Ventura County freeway systems. Caltrans is leading the CRD HOT projects on the I 10 and I 110 freeways.
The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT). LADOT provides the transportation infrastructure and services on L.A.'s arterials and feeder streets. It operates the Adaptive Traffic Control System (ATCS), a computer-based real-time traffic signal monitoring and control system for L.A. arterials. LADOT is leading the CRD Intelligent Parking Management (IPM) project which will use advanced sensing and communication technologies, including a Parking Guidance System, as well as pricing strategies, to achieve fuller utilization of downtown L.A. parking capacity and to make it easier for travelers to find available parking spaces.
Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG). SCAG is the designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for six counties in Southern California: Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura and Imperial. The region encompasses a population exceeding 18 million residents in an area of more than 38,000 square miles. SCAG is mandated by the federal government to do region-wide research and planning for transportation, growth management, hazardous waste management, and air quality. SCAG is playing a supporting role in the L.A. CRD effort. Its principal contributions involve survey data collection and transportation modeling.
San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments (SGVCOG). SGVCOG represents more than two million residents and 31 incorporated cities and unincorporated communities in the San Gabriel Valley. SGVCOG formed the Pasadena Gold Line Construction Authority to build the Metro's 13.6-mile Gold Line light rail from downtown Los Angeles to Pasadena. SGVCOG is an important stakeholder in the success of the CRD project and has a special interest in the social equity impacts of the projects.
South Bay Cities Council of Governments (SBCCOG). SBCCOG serves 15 cities and unincorporated areas in the southeastern corner of L.A. County. The SBCCOG area has 1.4 million residents. The SBCCOG helps its member cities to obtain transportation funding from local, state, and regional sources. It maintains a continuously updated assessment of the area's transportation needs. It also funds studies to analyze congested corridors and ways of mitigating that congestion. Like SGVCOG, SBCCOG has a special interest in the social equity impacts of the CRD projects.
Southern California Regional Rail Authority (Metrolink). Metrolink is a regional rail transit system formed by five county transportation agencies: Metro, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC), San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG), and the Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC). Metrolink has seven rail lines, two of which (the San Bernardino Line and the Riverside Line) travel through the San Gabriel Valley in the vicinity of the I 10 corridor and connect to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. The Pomona Metrolink station will benefit from several CRD-funded improvements including the addition of 100 new parking spaces and the expansion of platforms to accommodate longer eight-car trains.
Other L.A. CRD Partners. Other regional partners for the Los Angeles County CRD effort include: Foothill Transit which serves the I-10 corridor and Gardena Transit and Torrance Transit, both of which serve the I 10 corridor; the California Highway Patrol (CHP) which will provide safety data related to the HOT implementation, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department which has a Metro Division that is expected to be a source of security incident data for the Metro park-and-ride lots and transit stations.
2.3 L.A. CRD Projects and Deployment Schedules
In Los Angeles the CRD projects are collectively known as the "ExpressLanes". The projects are briefly summarized in the following paragraphs.
Transit Improvements. Over half of LA's CRD budget will be devoted to transit improvements. Metro bus rapid transit service in the I 10 El-Monte Busway and I 110 Harbor Transitway corridors will be greatly increased with headways as close as three minutes during peak periods. Other major improvements include a new downtown transit operating and maintenance facility; improved Artesia Transit Center security; expansion of the El Monte Transit Center; the creation of an El Monte Busway/Union Center connection; and the implementation of additional transit signal prioritization in downtown Los Angeles.
High Occupancy Toll (HOT) Lanes. L.A. will use CRD funds to convert HOV lanes to HOT in the I 10 and I 110 freeways. This will expand freeway capacity by permitting toll-paying, single-occupancy vehicles to use slack, HOT lane capacity. L.A. is committed to maintaining a minimum speed of 45 MPH at all times in the HOT lanes through dynamic pricing. Since the current I 10 HOV lane operates at capacity during peak travel periods, L.A. also plans to add an additional HOT lane to the section of the I 10 bounded by the I-710 and I-605 interchanges. It will do this through restriping and buffer changes pending FHWA approval of these modifications.
Intelligent Parking Management (IPM). L.A. will be deploying an IPM system in downtown L.A. The purpose of the system is to alleviate congestion by pricing parking so as to encourage use of alternate modes such as transit and by reducing parking space seek time, an important source of traffic congestion, by providing travelers information through a parking guidance system. IPM entails demand-based pricing of city managed parking to promote space turnover and to maintain balance between the parking spaces available and the number of travelers wishing to make use of those spaces. The IPM effort will use the advanced technologies described in the following paragraph to help downtown travelers rapidly locate available parking and to apprise them of current parking prices. The IPM will be deployed on approximately 7,500 city-owned off-street parking spaces and approximately 5,500 on-street spaces.
Technology. L.A. will be employing advanced technologies in support of both the HOT and IPM efforts. These technologies include algorithms that detect HOT lane capacity and parking spot availability; and advanced, real-time information dissemination technology that will make this information available to travelers through their computers, cell phones, PDAs, and electronic signage.
Ridesharing Expansion (Travel Demand Management). L.A. will use a variety of promotional methods to promote ridesharing, with a particular focus on Metro subsidized vanpools. Strategies include subsidies to travelers and vanpool operators and promotional outreach to major employers. This strategy falls within the Telecommuting/Travel Demand Management "T" of the U.S. DOT "4 T" strategies for the UPA/CRD sites. The L.A. CRD local partners have requested that the reference to telecommuting be dropped in the L.A. evaluation documents because telecommuting is not included among their strategies.
Figure 2-2 provides additional details about the projects, shows their locations in the Los Angeles region, and lists the scheduled deployment dates of project elements.
Figure 2-2. Map Depicting Los Angeles County CRD County Project Corridors, Project Elements, and Scheduled Completion Dates.