Here’s how LA’s transit network changed over the last decade
It’s been a wild decade for anyone getting around Los Angeles.
A $1 billion widening project on the 405 opened—and produced disappointing results. Ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft shook up the travel habits of many Angelenos, while navigation apps led drivers on increasingly circuitous routes. And, of course, electric scooters began popping up on sidewalks, roadways, and in the Pacific Ocean.
But one of the most significant developments of the last decade is the expansion of the region’s rail network, which local leaders have billed as the eventual fix to LA’s notorious traffic congestion.
In 2008, LA County voters approved a sales tax initiative funding construction of new transit lines; in 2016, they doubled down on that commitment, approving a second and more far-reaching measure.
It will still be many years before Los Angeles has a truly comprehensive web of trains and rapid buses, but the maps below show the progress that’s been made in that direction in the last 10 years.
A 2009 Metro system mapVia Metro
A 2019 Metro system mapVia Metro
The most significant change is the arrival of the E (formerly Expo) Line, which opened between Downtown and Culver City in 2012 and was extended to Santa Monica in 2016. The light rail route quickly became one of the most ridden lines in Metro’s system, and carried more than 60,000 daily riders before temporary station closures began this summer.
Ten years ago, the Gold Line’s northern terminus was the Sierra Madre Villa Station, in Pasadena. Now the rail route extends all the way to Azusa, with a farther addition to Pomona getting underway.
The San Fernando Valley’s Orange Line and the South Bay’s Silver Line—bus rapid transit systems that travel along a dedicated roadway, so they don’t share lanes with cars—have also been extended in the last decade. The Orange Line now reaches Chatsworth, while the Silver Line extends to San Pedro.
These developments have opened up new travel options for those trying to get around without a car. But so far, that hasn’t translated to more ridership. Metro trains and buses carried more than 300,000 additional passengers on a typical weekday in 2009 than in the first half of 2019.
Looking at Metro’s more comprehensive bus and rail map, it’s clear to see why a handful of rail and rapid bus projects haven’t been enough to drive up ridership.
A 2009 Metro bus and rail mapVia Metro
A 2019 Metro bus and rail mapVia Metro
Los Angeles County’s transit network is overwhelmingly dominated by bus routes, and buses still carry the vast majority of overall riders. Though Metro has succeeded in boosting rail ridership since the Expo Line opened, bus riders are leaving the system in droves.
To address this issue, the agency is now working on a major reconfiguration of its bus network. Called NextGen, the project will include adjustments to routes and schedules to capture riders poorly served by the existing system.
With LA’s transit network set to expand much further in the decade ahead, it will be doubly important that Metro attract the ridership needed to make it work longterm.
Interactive Map Shows Where Metro Thinks Multimodal Improvements Should Be Built – Streetsblog Los Angeles
Users can toggle between layers that show data collected around “accessibility, connectivity, demand & community support, equity, safety & comfort, and sustainability”
The map of Metro’s Draft Prioritized Active Transportation Network was revealed last week during community stakeholder briefings. In its default view, it shows where bikeways, pedestrian districts, and first-last-mile station improvements are prioritized by the agency. SBLA is calling this the Default Map here, and it’s the cover image above.
But the interactive map allows viewers to isolate the graphing for each of these infrastructure priorities. The darker the color of the graphing, the higher the weighted score that location received for planning priority. This is based on criteria discussed below.
Not only can viewers take in solo views of each type of would-be (maybe?) active transportation project, but we can also toggle on and off views of the data that led Metro to these priorities: Accessibility, Connectivity, Demand & Community Support, Equity, Safety & Comfort, and Sustainability.
Let’s start with a look at one of the most visually overwhelming data fields: “Opportunity Score.” It refers to the density of walkable destinations within an area (shops, restaurants, schools, parks). Again, the darkest color (blue) represents the highest score.
While the cities in the SGV most prioritized for improvements (Pasadena, El Monte, Pomona) correspond on both the Default Map and the “Opportunity Score” map, it shows many other areas that are also shaded in dark blue, including Baldwin Park, Alhambra, Covina, and more.
Next let’s view the region’s Existing Bike Network. The pink lines represent shared-use/off-street paths(Class I). Green signifies bike lanes (Class II). Yellow is Class III bicycle routes and bike friendly streets. Purple refers to Class IV, protected bike lanes.
Metro’s mapping of existing bike facilities is incomplete and has errors. In the SGV, it is missing some newer facilities including protected bike lanes on Workman Mill Road (opened April 2021) and on Valley Boulevard (opened March 2022). Metro misidentifies several bikeways in the city of L.A., including Northeast L.A.’s Monterey Road bike lanes (shown as protected from South Pasadena to Huntington Drive, but the actual projection only goes a few blocks in the Monterey Road Pass) and several bikeways in DTLA (existing 2nd Street, 5th Street, 6th Street, 11th Street, Figueroa Street, Grand Avenue, and Main Street bikeways are all mapped incorrectly).
Cross referencing with the Default Map, Metro places heavy priority for Bikeways along Valley Boulevard/Holt Avenue in El Monte and Pomona (where the SGV Transit Feasibility Study suggests building a BRT line). Looking at the Existing Bike Network and the Bike Collisions map (below) there’s a sore need in this corridor.
Existing Bike Network
Demand & Community Support + Equity
There’s some clear overlap between the following red graphed map that represents “Total Demand” for Active Transportation (darkest coloring means most demand), and the mapping of the Equity Focus Communities, shaded in brownish-yellow. In the Default Map, we see some of this addressed with a prioritized bike lane along Garvey Avenue in Rosemead and Monterey Park, and pedestrian districts in Alhambra, Rosemead, and Azusa.
Safety & Comfort
Now let’s see the following three maps charting Collisions for Bikes (green dots), Pedestrians (orange dots), and First-Last-Mile travelers (purple dots), as well as the very telling High Speed/High Volume map (purple lines). By far, the highest concentrations of collisions are in Pomona, Monterey Park, El Monte, and Pasadena, hence the darkest shaded projects on the Default Map.
And Metro rounds out the data by marking up where CalEnviroScreen Scores exceed 75. Here, the San Gabriel Valley’s job hubs are all covered with burnt orange digital paint: Industry and the La Puente Valley, Baldwin Park, Irwindale, El Monte, Montebello, Pomona.
High CalEnviroScreen Score
Of course, it’s all much more interesting once you start overlapping data sets to see if the imaginary infrastructure is going where it should. Here’s a map showing the prescribed Bikeways (tan-to-black lines), the Existing Bike Network (colorful lines), Bike Collisions (green dots), areas with High Demand for Bikes but Low Income (blue shading), and Equity Focus Communities (brownish-yellow shading).
To create your own combinations of data, and look at the rationale behind Metro’s suggested projects, view the map here.
These maps inform Metro’s Active Transportation Strategic Plan. To some extent the plan will informs Metro investments in bike projects (including through Metro MAT grants and Measure M Subregional Program – see SGV MSP coverage from last October and December), but, for the most part, the plan doesn’t necessarily get implemented, because Metro does not own or control the right-of-way where bike/walk facilities would be located. These facilities are typically on streets, controlled by local municipalities: cities and the county. So even when Metro draws a line on a map, a local city will have to evaluate trade-offs (like finding space by removing parking or travel lanes), approved its own mobility plan, design the project, assemble funding, etc.
SBLA San Gabriel Valley coverage, including this article and SGV Connect, is supported by Foothill Transit, offering car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the new Gold Line Stations across the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling into the heart of downtown L.A. To plan your trip, visit Foothill Transit. “Foothill Transit. Going Good Places.”
Sign-up for our SGV Connect Newsletter, coming to your inbox on Fridays.
Streetsblog Editor Joe Linton contributed to this post.
Metro map of world cities
|Moscow, Russia)||Saint-Petersburg, Russia)|
|Volgograd (Russia)||Yekaterinburg, Russia)|
|Kazan (Russia)||Nizhny Novgorod, Russia)|
|Novosibirsk, Russia)||Samara (Russia)|
|Kyiv, Ukraine)||Minsk, Belarus)|
|Tashkent (Uzbekistan)||Kharkov, Ukraine)|
|Amsterdam, Netherlands)||Athens, Greece)|
|Barcelona, Spain)||Berlin, Germany)|
|Brussels, Belgium)||Budapest, Hungary)|
|Bucharest (Romania)||Valencia (Spain)|
|Warsaw Poland)||Vienna, Austria)|
|Hamburg, Germany)||Genoa (Italy)|
|Glasgow (UK)||Copenhagen (Denmark)|
|Lille (France)||Lyon (France)|
|Lisbon (Portugal)||London, Great Britain)|
|Madrid, Spain)||Milan, Italy)|
|Munich, Germany)||Newcastle (UK)|
|Nuremberg (Germany)||Oslo (Norway)|
|Paris, France)||Prague, Czech Republic)|
|Rome, Italy)||Rotterdam (Netherlands)|
|Sofia (Bulgaria)||Istanbul, Turkey)|
|Stockholm, Sweden)||Turin (Italy)|
|Ankara (Türkiye)||Bangkok (Thailand)|
|Kaohsiung (Taiwan)||Hong Kong (Hong Kong)|
|Guangzhou (China)||Izmir (Türkiye)|
|Kyoto (Japan)||Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)|
|Mumbai (India)||Nagoya (Japan)|
|Osaka (Japan)||Beijing, China)|
|Busan (South Korea)||Sapporo (Japan)|
|Seoul (South Korea)||Singapore (Singapore)|
|Istanbul, Turkey)||Taipei (Taiwan)|
|Tehran (Iran)||Tokyo, Japan)|
|Haifa (Israel)||Hiroshima (Japan)|
|Cairo (Egypt)||Tunisia (Tunisia)|
|Atlanta (USA)||Boston (USA)|
|Brasilia (Brazil)||Buenos Aires, Argentina)|
|Vancouver (Canada)||Caracas (Venezuela)|
|Las Vegas (USA)||Miami (USA)|
|Mexico City (Mexico)||Montreal (Canada)|
|New York, USA)||Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)|
|Sao Paulo (Brazil)||San Francisco (USA)|
|Santiago (Chile)||Toronto (Canada)|
|Philadelphia (USA)||Houston (USA)|
|Melbourne (Australia)||Sydney, Australia)|
Metro Map 2023.
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