Los Angeles County Congestion Reduction Demonstration National Evaluation Plan
This report provides an analytical framework for evaluating the Los Angeles County (LA) Congestion Reduction Demonstration (CRD) effort under the United States Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) Urban Partnership Program Agreement (UPA) program. It identifies the hypothesis and questions to be tested and answered in the evaluation; the evaluation analyses and measures of effectiveness; and the data needed to conduct the analysis.
In 2006, the U.S. DOT, in partnership with metropolitan areas, initiated a program to explore reducing congestion through the implementation of pricing activities combined with necessary supporting elements. This program was instituted through the UPAs and the Congestion Reduction Demonstrations (CRDs). Within each program, multiple sites around the U.S., including Los Angeles, were selected through a competitive process. The selected sites were awarded funding for implementation of congestion reduction strategies. The applicants' proposals for congestion reduction were based on four complementary strategies known as the 4Ts: Tolling, Transit, Telecommuting/Travel Demand Management, which includes additional travel demand management (TDM) strategies, and Technology.
The UPA/CRD national evaluation is sponsored by the U.S. DOT. The Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS JPO) is responsible for the overall conduct of the national evaluation. Representatives from the modal agencies are actively involved in the national evaluation. The Battelle team was selected by the U.S. DOT to conduct the national evaluation through a competitive procurement process.
The purpose of the national evaluation is to assess the impacts of the UPA/CRD projects in a comprehensive and systematic manner across all sites. The national evaluation will generate information and produce technology transfer materials to support deployment of the strategies in other metropolitan areas. The national evaluation will also generate findings for use in future federal policy and program development related to mobility, congestion, and facility pricing. The Battelle team developed a National Evaluation Framework (NEF) to provide a foundation for evaluation of the UPA/CRD sites. The NEF is based on the 4Ts congestion reduction strategies and the questions that the U.S. DOT seeks to answer through the evaluation.
The Los Angeles County CRD Projects
The Los Angeles County (LA) Congestion Reduction Demonstration effort is led by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro). The CRD projects are being implemented with the assistance of a number of supporting agencies especially the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT). The Los Angeles County CRD projects are intended to reduce congestion, promote throughput, and enhance mobility in the I-10 and I-110 corridors, and in downtown Los Angeles. Figure ES-1 shows the location of the L.A. CRD project elements.
Figure ES-1. SR 520 Location
The U.S. DOT is allocating $210.6 million in Federal grant funding for the Los Angeles projects. These funds are drawn from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) 5309 Bus and Bus Facilities Program (the “Bus Program”). The Los Angeles County CRD projects are briefly described as follows.
Transit Improvements. Over half of LA's CRD budget will be devoted to transit improvements. The frequency of Metro Rapid service in the I 10 El-Monte Busway and I 110 Harbor Transitway corridors will be significantly increased through the acquisition of new buses. 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 Station connection; expansion of the Pomona Metrolink Station (platforms and parking); 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. Since the current I 10 HOV lane operates near 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.
Intelligent Parking Management (IPM). LADOT will be deploying an IPM (also known as “ExpressPark”) in downtown L.A. to alleviate congestion by reducing parking space seek time, an important source of traffic congestion. 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 advanced technologies to help downtown travelers rapidly locate available parking spaces and to apprise them of current parking prices.
Technology. L.A. will employ advanced technologies in support of both the HOT and IPM efforts. These technologies include algorithms that estimate HOT lane capacity and detect 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 Promotion (Telecommuting/Travel Demand Management). L.A. will use a variety of promotional methods to increase the number of registered vanpools, and major employer-based ridesharing in general, in the I 10 and I 110 corridors. The methods include subsidies to travelers and vanpool operators and promotional outreach to major employers.
Some transit elements of the Los Angeles County CRD programs are expected to be operational in July, 2010. Most of the remaining projects elements will be deployed by December, 2010. The major exception is a new Metro transit operating and maintenance facility. It is scheduled to be completed in December, 2011.
Evaluation Analyses and Test Plans
The national evaluation of the Los Angeles County CRD projects focuses on the 11 of 12 analysis areas outlined in the NEF. (The goods movement analysis area was not judged to be relevant to the L.A. CRD projects.) Plans for collecting and analyzing the data to support the 11 analyses are described in 11 test plans. Table ES-1 presents the relationship among the analysis areas and the test plans.
|Data Test Plans||Evaluation Analyses: Tolling||Evaluation Analyses: Technology||Evaluation Analyses: Transit||Evaluation Analyses: Travel Demand Management (TDM)*||Evaluation Analyses: Congestion||Evaluation Analyses: Safety||Evaluation Analyses: Environmental||Evaluation Analyses: Equity||Evaluation Analyses: Business Impacts||Evaluation Analyses: Non-Technical Factors||Evaluation Analyses: Cost - Benefit|
|Surveys and Interviews|
— Major Input — Supporting Input
*= This corresponds to the “Telecommuting/TDM” analysis in the UPA/CRD National Evaluation Framework. 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.
The transit analysis area is summarized in Table ES-2 to provide a representative example of the hypothesis-driven evaluation approach used in the L.A. CRD National Evaluation Plan. Transit is a key element of the Los Angeles County CRD. The CRD transit projects focus on making riding the bus in the I-10 and I-110 corridors more attractive and convenient by significantly increasing the frequency of bus rapid transit (BRT) service, reducing bus travel times through signal prioritization; mitigating traffic bottlenecks through infrastructure investments; and by reducing travelers potential security concerns at park-and ride-lots and bus stops.
|Hypotheses/Questions||Measures of Effectiveness||Data|
|CRD projects will enhance transit performance within CRD corridors through reduced travel times, increased service reliability, and increased service capacity||
|User perceptions of security at transit stations/park-and-ride lots will be improved by CRD projects||
|CRD projects will increase ridership and facilitate a mode shift to transit within CRD corridors||
|Increased ridership and mode shift to transit will contribute to increased person throughput, congestion mitigation, and transit cost-effectiveness within CRD corridors||
|What was the relative contribution of each CRD project element to increased ridership/ transit mode share/ person throughput?||
The first hypothesis shown in Table ES-2 relates to the use of CRD funds to attain reduced transit travel times and improved service reliability by buses in the I-10 and I-110 corridors. Six measures of effectiveness (reduced end-to-end transit route trip times, reduced perceived door-to-door passenger trip times, etc.) are presented in the adjacent column. They enumerate the measures that the evaluation will use to assess the correctness of the hypothesis. The third column lists the key data elements that will be needed to compute the measures of effectiveness. In the case of the first hypothesis, these data elements include numeric transit travel time and reliability data, which will provide objective measures of service improvements. Required data also includes survey data that will help the evaluation determine whether transit users perceive these service improvements.
This transit analysis example typifies the multi-layered approach that will be used in many of the CRD evaluation analyses. In such a multi-layered approach, the later hypotheses focus on the intended “bottom line” results, which for the CRD is primarily to reduce congestion. The earlier hypotheses focus on the series of causes and effects that are intended to yield those bottom line results. In this case those earlier causes and effects consist of improving transit performance in order to increase ridership and transit mode share. Testing hypotheses at each of these layers helps explain how and why the intended congestion reduction results were realized or not realized.
Plans for collecting and analyzing data pertaining to the transit hypotheses and all other evaluation hypotheses are detailed in a series of data test plan documents. Preliminary versions of these data test plan documents are included within the body of this evaluation plan. Full, finalized versions of the data test plans will be generated in coming months.
Responsibility for collecting the data required by the evaluation resides with the Los Angeles County CRD partners. The Battelle evaluation team will provide guidance to the partners on data collection. The evaluation team is also responsible for analyzing the data and reporting results.
The next steps in the Los Angeles County CRD National Evaluation include developing the detailed test plans and initiating data collection and analysis activities. The detailed test plans will be developed based on this Los Angeles County CRD National Evaluation Plan. It is anticipated that the draft test plans will be developed by January 2010. The results of the Los Angeles County CRD national evaluation are expected in late-2012.