The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (Metro) board approved two contracts and options totaling more than $5.5 million to assess how and where it would be possible to pilot a package of mobility improvements including congestion relief pricing in L.A. County.
Metro awarded WSP USA Inc. a $3-plus million contract for the study’s technical services. Services will include investigating the feasibility and framework for testing and implementing motorist pricing strategies, evaluating several potential pricing models, identifying a location to pilot the program, and establishing an implementation plan that prioritizes equity for all road users.
Metro also awarded a $1.9 million contract, plus a $589,840 extension option, to Guidehouse LLP to help engage the public in every step of the feasibility study. The contractor will reach out to stakeholders and the public to ensure their involvement and concurrence with a potential pilot program somewhere in the county. Extensive outreach will be conducted with community-based organizations and community members representing low income and other vulnerable populations at the local, county, and sub-regional levels.
Any congestion relief pricing strategy will be accompanied by corresponding mobility improvements such as additional, faster, more frequent, and discounted or free public transit, and safer walking and bicycling opportunities.
The strategy could enable those who choose to drive to have a fast and reliable trip while providing funds to dramatically improve travel times and customer experience on other modes, thereby reducing traffic, improving mobility and air quality, and creating a more sustainable regional transportation system for all.
As part of the feasibility study, Metro will create a stakeholder advisory panel to help solicit input from key constituents and add experts in road usage charging, mobility pricing, and equity to its existing Policy Advisory Committee. The study will also include the specific upgrades to public transit and first/last-mile solutions that will be necessary to accompany any proposed pricing concept.
Following completion of the 18- to 24-month feasibility study, Metro will recommend one or more areas within L.A. County to conduct a potential pilot. The Metro Board will decide whether to move forward with a pilot at that time.