The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) released a new report that shows dramatic improvements in the quality of life for the region between 2008 — when Los Angeles County voters approved Measure R — and 2015.
More than 480,000 L.A. County residents live within a half mile of several projects that have opened since 2009: the Expo Line’s first phase to Culver City, Gold Line extensions to East Los Angeles and Azusa and the Orange Line extension to Chatsworth. More than 22% of the county’s population now lives near Metro Rail, a Metro bus rapid transit (BRT) line or Metrolink commuter rail.
The report shows that new rail and BRT services provided access to more than 300,000 jobs in the region. Buses and trains now arrive on-time more frequently than before and transit travel times are faster than or similar to driving times along many rail and BRT routes.
“Today, residents across the county are experiencing a better quality of life by using rail and BRT services in significantly higher numbers and enjoying improved transit access to more jobs,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “Thanks to Measure R, Metro can leverage local dollars to complete and win larger amounts of state and federal grants.”
Highlights from the initial Quality of Life study show that since 2008, Metro has made great strides to improve customer service by providing a more reliable travel experience for its customers with buses arriving at their stops on time 13% more often with fewer equipment breakdowns.
Metro customers today now have better ways to communicate and connect over a variety of technology and social media platforms. Riders can now load transit fare onto their TAP cards via the internet and use their TAP cards to ride almost every transit service in Los Angeles County. They can access real time transit information using multiple apps for smart phones and they can interact with Metro on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the agency’s blog. The report shows customer satisfaction is up 5% from 83% in 2008 to 88% in 2015.
The study also shows that Metro services support many of the county’s most disadvantaged communities, providing low-cost transportation choices to help residents get to work, school, parks and other important destinations. A total of 31 new transit stations have opened with more than 60% of the population around those new stations being disadvantaged.
Metro also provides alternative transportation choices beyond transit including running the nation’s largest vanpool program and organizing carpools though an employer-based ride-matching program. The report shows that since 2008 annual vanpool trips have increased from 2.2 million to more than four million in 2014. Metro also funds door-to-door paratransit services for people with disabilities through Access Services with usage up 77% over the last four years. Wheelchair boardings on Metro’s regular bus service has increased from 489,850 boardings to more than one million in 2014.
Metro has provided funding to vital bicycle and pedestrian facilities, connecting L.A. County to jobs, housing and transit. The county has 1,600 miles of bike lanes and bike paths, of which 930 miles have been built since 2008. The report also shows that 68% of Metro rail riders walk to trains with 4% riding bikes to rail stations. On the bus side, 83% of riders walk to bus stops with 5% using their bike. In Los Angeles County, 99% of the residents live near a bus stop — with 80% of residents living near a Metro bus stop.
Looking ahead, the report notes that thanks to the passage of Measure R, Metro has the tools to transform transportation in Los Angeles County with projects expected to create more than 425,000 construction jobs and labor income in excess of $27 billion. That is expected to benefit the local economy with $51 billion in direct spending on construction projects over a 30-year period, resulting in more than $80 billion in economic output.