Chapter 8

Transportation is an essential factor contributing to the quality of life in Los Angeles. Transportation facilities and policies are integral elements in achieving the vision of the Citywide General Plan Framework Element. A comprehensive strategy of physical and operational improvements and behavioral changes that reduce the number and length of trips generated is necessary to ensure future mobility in the City.

The transportation system of the future will need to be a fully integrated, multimodal system that offers multiple travel choices to Los Angeles travelers. Choices for person trips must include numerous forms of transit (rail, bus, Smart Shuttle, jitney, taxi, and other), highway (drive-alone, carpool, and vanpool), and non-vehicle options (telecommuting, electronic communication, and bicycling). New facilities and services will greatly enhance accessibility within communities, particularly in these communities with limited economic resources.

The transition to this multimodal system has already begun, with major investments in Metrolink, Metrorail, and a freeway high- occupancy vehicle system. Renewed efforts to develop innovative new transit service concepts are also underway. These efforts must be continued and enhanced through a strategic transportation implementation program in order for the transportation system envisioned in the Framework Element to be realized.

Even with the integrated multimodal transportation system in place, the accessibility and mobility objectives of the Framework Element will only be achieved through substantial shifts in travel behavior. These shifts will include significant increases in transit utilization and carpooling/vanpooling. They also include a reduction in person-trips as people choose to take advantage of telecommunication technologies. Without these changes, levels of service will decline significantly due to increases in vehicular travel.

The Framework Element transportation system includes proposals for major improvements to enhance the movement of goods and to provide greater access to major intermodal facilities such as the ports and airports. Many of these programs are already underway, such as the Alameda Corridor and the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Master Plan.

The City of Los Angeles is recognized worldwide for the high level of mobility of its people. This level of mobility has been made possible by intense investment in the transportation system over the past half century.

Investments in the highway and freeway system, the transit system, Los Angeles International Airport, the Port of Los Angeles, and the railroad system have contributed, not only to growth in individual mobility, but also to economic growth that has made Los Angeles one of the great economic centers of the world. Los Angeles has truly become a major center for national and international trade and tourism, and an important hub for international air travel.

As it moves into the 21st century, Los Angeles should see its transportation systems progressively evolve into one integrated multimodal system characterized by increased choice and accessibility. This evolution has already begun with recent investments in light rail (the Metro Blue and Green Lines), heavy rail (the Metro Red Line), and commuter rail (Metrolink). Innovations in transit service have begun to augment the Citywide bus system (LACMTA and LADOT), already one of the largest in America, with new community services (DASH) and new commuter bus services that use private operators. New technologies are also beginning to have an impact on the transportation system. Intelligent-transportation technologies are increasing roadway and intersection capacities and enhancing taxi and shuttle operations. Opportunities to combine new technologies with new service concepts (such as SMART Shuttles) are also being explored.

To support the vision of the Citywide General Plan Framework Element, transportation investment and policy will need to follow a strategic plan that builds upon recent achievements. Greater choice and accessibility, made possible by new, multi-modal facilities and services as well as improved access to key transportation facilities, will enhance the many economic resources of the City, improve the environments where people live and work, and support greater equity.

Citywide transportation facilities and related policies should:

Capitalize on existing and currently committed infrastructure (e.g. the highway and freeway system, High Occupancy Vehicle lanes, the Alameda Corridor, Metrorail, Metrolink, LAX, the Port of Los Angeles, and Union Station);

Recognize the need to adopt land use policies and implement feeder systems to better utilize the committed infrastructure; and acknowledge that advanced technology will help make the existing transportation system more efficient in two ways: transportation system management (e.g. Automated Traffic Surveillance and Control [ATSAC] system and Smart Corridors) and reduction of vehicle trips by providing alternative methods of bringing people and information together (e.g., a more comprehensive telecommunication network). With a population of nearly 3.5 million people, the City of Los Angeles comprises about two-fifths of the population of Los Angeles County, and one-fourth of the total population in Southern California (Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura Counties and the western portions of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties). Its 1.9 million employees represent roughly the same percentages of county and regional employment.

Because of the City's size and the role it plays in the regional economy, future development in Los Angeles and the City's implemented transportation policies will have a significant impact on all of Southern California. At the same time, regional transportation policies and programs will have an impact on conditions in Los Angeles. Consequently, effective mobility necessitates the coordinated actions of all cities and counties within the region.


The General Plan Framework Element has a vision that includes a multimodal transportation system that provides choices and accessibility to everyone in Los Angeles. This vision is achievable and realistic. It cannot be achieved, however, without some difficult decisions to support the facilities and the behavioral changes that are incorporated within the vision.
The following is a summary of key transportation issues, based on analysis found in the Framework Element technical background reports.


The quality of life for every citizen of Los Angeles is affected by the ability to access work opportunities and essential services. It affects the City's economy as well as the living environment of its citizens. This is as true for people who must rely on travel options other than the automobile as it is for those who drive. Transportation policy needs to ensure that basic accessibility needs are met. 2


Analysis indicate that rail and bus transit improvement, transportation system management, and behavioral change (trip reduction and mode shift) strategies will all be needed to fulfill the transportation vision of the General Plan Framework Element. These strategies require significant investments in rail and bus transit, as well as public policies to encourage shifts away from the single-occupant automobile to other choices.

In essence, through a series of difficult investment and policy decisions, transportation is being reinvented in Los Angeles. The new concept of transportation is one of increased choice and accessibility. It incorporates shifts toward new transit services and new technologies to reduce the impacts of vehicle travel.

Without these changes, accessibility will likely decline throughout the City. Between 1990 and the year 2010, population in Los Angeles is expected to grow by 24 percent, housing by 20 percent, and employment by 20 percent. This growth, combined with regional growth outside of Los Angeles, will result in an estimated 35 percent increase in vehicle travel, which in turn could cause average travel speeds on the regional highway network to drop by as much as 50 percent, assuming that only those highway and transit improvements that are currently funded will be implemented (1).

(1). Currently funded improvements include only those projects fundable within the current State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), including the Red Line to North Hollywood, the Blue Line to Pasadena, the Green Line, and High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes on SR-91, I-110, SR-134, SR-170, I-210, and I-405.


The General Plan Framework Element vision promotes increased employment opportunities within its boundaries to ensure an adequate number of jobs and maintain its fiscal viability. Since the Framework Element's vision concentrates the majority of these jobs in targeted growth areas located throughout the City, transportation planning and programming decisions need to support this development/ employment strategy.


The Framework Element vision also promotes conserving the existing character of its residential neighborhoods (see Chapter 3: Land Use). To help achieve this goal, actions are needed to minimize or prevent the intrusion of additional traffic into the neighborhoods.


Economic growth is essential to the long- term future of the City. To support all facets of the City's economy, the movement of goods must be efficient and access to major intermodal facilities such as ports, airports, and major multimodal facilities must be adequate. It is equally important that ground access to key transportation facilities is readily available.


In order to achieve the transportation vision, a comprehensive and long-range strategic approach is needed to implement transportation improvements, services, and Programs. This strategic approach should establish priorities between regional and local programs, and determine the appropriate level of private sector participation. Without such a strategic approach, it will be difficult, for the City to establish appropriate priorities for allocation of funds and implementation of programs.


Revitalization is critically needed in economically depressed areas. The transportation system should provide mobility within these areas as well as link residents of these areas with economic opportunities and social services located throughout the region.




Goals, objectives, and policies as well as related implementation programs are set forth in the Transportation Element of the General Plan (CF 97-1387/CPC 96-424 GPA) adopted by City Council on September 8, 1999.


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