May 11, 2010

L.A. Metro to survey bicyclists

To better measure the environmental benefits that result from bicycling to and from rail stations in L.A. County, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) will be conducting customer surveys and bicycle counts at a number of rail stations throughout its system for approximately three weeks.

Bicyclists who park their bikes at rail stations as well as board and depart Metro rail vehicles will be surveyed. Counts will also be conducted to determine how many bicyclists access the station during peak weekday commuting periods and on Saturday mornings. Available in both English and Spanish, the surveys will ask questions about the bicyclist's origin, destination and choice of transportation mode(s), among others.

The bicycle counts and surveys will be conducted at 20 locations throughout the Metro Rail system. Locations will not be disclosed in advance in order to preserve survey integrity.

Metro is implementing climate change management projects as part of its Board-adopted Sustainability Implementation Plan. Results of this survey will be used to seek solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, very little data is available on bike utilization on transit from which to properly develop sustainable transportation solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and vehicle miles traveled (VMTs) for trips through Metro Rail facilities.

The surveys and counts will help develop this data by providing bicycle counts and information about the bicyclist's commuting habits, mode choices and needs. Metro will then be able to track trends and calculate VMT and associated greenhouse gas emissions reductions over time. The data also will assist in planning for bicycle parking at transit stations along with other Metro Bicycle Program issues.

In March 2010, Metro completed a bicycle survey and count on the Metro Orange Line, the dedicated Bus Rapid Transit line in the San Fernando Valley that contains both bicycle parking facilities and an adjacent dedicated bike path. Survey and count results are currently being tabulated and will be made available soon. Additional customer surveys and/or counts on other bus services may be planned in the future also.

The recently adopted State Law SB 375 recognizes that land use and transportation play an important role in reducing VMT and greenhouse gas emissions. By providing people with a choice of walking, taking transit, or riding a bike, Metro can help the state meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals.

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