A new report from a nonprofit that advises cities on transit and mobility issues lays out an ambitious plan to reduce the number of vehicles on Los Angeles roads by 100,000 in the next five years. That amounts to about two percent of the total number of automobiles clogging up streets and freeways daily, potentially resulting in a reduction of nearly 375,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually.
Released Wednesday, the report was compiled by the Shared-Use Mobility Center. It provides a range of suggestions for how the county could capitalize on the recent expansion of its rail network and rise of alternative transportation options like ridesharing and bikesharing in order to make residents far less dependent on automobiles as their primary mode of travel. Some of the goals highlighted in the report include:
Adding 10,000 new bikeshare bikes
Most cities in Los Angeles County don’t even have bikesharing programs right now, but they’ve gradually begun to pop up in Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Long Beach, and Downtown LA. The report proposes a $23 million expansion to current and future bikeshare programs that would more than quintuple the number of bikes now available to riders.
Attracting 34,000 new public transit riders
Metro aims to add 20,000 riders as it continues to expand its network of rail and bus lines with funds secured through its Measure R ballot initiative, approved by voters in 2008. For the transit agency to meet this goal, voters will probably have to sign off on another half-centsales tax increase this November that will fund a legion of new projects.
Encouraging 16,800 riders to use carpooling or ride-splitting programs
Services like Uber and Lyft have taken off in Los Angeles—largely at the expense of the city’s much more strictly regulated taxi industry. The report suggests LA could encourage riders to make use of the ride-splitting features of those services (like UberPOOL) by creating designated pickup/dropoff zones and subsidizing trips to and from public transit. The city could also experiment with public-private microtransit systems adopted by cities like Kansas City (yes, the authors of the report want LA to look at Kansas City for inspiration).
Adding 8,400 cars to the city’s carshare programs
This one is a little odd, since the object here is to reduce the total number of cars on the road, but the report argues this would be a case of subtraction by addition. It suggests programs like Zipcar and recently-launched Santa Monica program WaiveCar could remove 9 to 11 private vehicles from area thoroughfares. The city of Los Angeles is in the process of launching its own carsharing program focused on serving low income areas. The report suggests the city seek to add an additional 2,000 vehicles to the program.
Shared-Use Mobility Center unveiled the report at an event in Downtown LA in conjunction with representatives from Metro, LADOT, the American Public Transportation Association, Uber, and Lyft.
In an announcement from the nonprofit, Metro CEO Phil Washington seemed at least somewhat enthusiastic about the report, saying, "public transit and shared mobility together offer a true transportation alternative to getting around the county by car, and are vital to the future of the region."
The mobility center's Executive Director, Sharon Feigon, stressed the importance of LA moving quickly to adopt suggestions outlined in the report. "We believe it is vital that Los Angeles County embrace the goals outlined in this plan and work to scale up transit, bikesharing, carsharing and ride-hailing to help reduce congestion on the region’s roadways and increase affordable, environmentally sound transportation options for all residents," she said.