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Mobility Perspectives

LA Metro is Leading a Movement to Accelerate Innovation, Private Sector We Need Your Help!

Phillip A. Washington | November 9, 2018

 

There’s a new movement in L.A.

A movement toward a better way to work, play, connect with family, get to school or even catch a Dodgers or Rams game.

Our current transportation system doesn’t always serve us well and the L.A. region regularly ranks among the cities with the worst traffic congestion nationally and internationally. Our drivers spend an average of 104 hours trapped in soul-crushing traffic each year.

L.A., the “Car Capital of the World,” is trying a new route by providing more alternatives to driving through the Measures R and M sales taxes approved by L.A. County voters in 2008 and ’16, respectively. The two measures are powering the largest infrastructure program in the United States that includes bus and rail projects, walking and biking improvements and projects designed to eliminate long-standing bottlenecks on local highways and freeways.

L.A. Metro acknowledges we have to be exhaustive in our search for transportation solutions. We need to be bold. We need to take risks. We need to innovate.

To that end, Metro’s Office of Extraordinary Innovation has developed an unsolicited proposals process to expedite the implementation of new innovations and technology. Unlike a traditional Request For Proposals (RFP) process that limits ideas we receive, we’ve opened our agency to receiving potential solutions from all industries and disciplines. This program lets innovators pitch to us, giving them valuable insight into Metro’s inner workings and an accelerated path to implementing solutions.

It’s an approach that was successfully implemented in Denver’s Regional Transportation District. And we’re already seeing results in L.A. after just two years, with Metro having received more than 110 such proposals. Thus far, 18 of those have reached the second phase of the process and are undergoing detailed reviews that could eventually lead to implementation, including a proposed privately funded aerial tram between L.A.’s Union Station and Dodger’s Stadium.

The process includes looking at public-private partnerships to help finance and accelerate mega-projects such as the Sepulveda Transit Corridor and the West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor, which is a new light rail line between Artesia and downtown L.A. We’re also planning a MicroTransit on-demand service to help supply more short trips within communities and help people reach transit stations.

To encourage more innovative solutions, we will launch the Metro Accelerator Forum Series on December 4 at Union Station. The series is designed to harness the ingenuity of private sector innovators and entrepreneurs to solve some of L.A. County’s most pressing transportation challenges and to help transform its transportation network.

This first forum’s theme: Think You Can Solve Traffic? will begin the discussion on new ways to begin to solve transportation challenges in L.A. County. Solving traffic is one of Metro’s biggest challenges. Every year, $13.3 billion is lost in time and productivity in Los Angeles County due to traffic congestion. Poor air quality from congestion leads to an estimated 454 premature deaths each year and costs to society due to pollution are estimated at $4 billion.

That’s what we’re trying to fix.

We need your ideas on getting more people to consider alternatives to driving alone such as carpooling, transit, walking and biking, persuading drivers to avoid driving during peak periods and using congestion pricing (tolled highway facilities) and other tools to ease L.A.’s infamous traffic congestion. We are also accepting submissions for such solutions through Jan. 31.

Future Accelerator Forums will pose similar innovation challenges on topics like improving customer experience, reliability, safety and security in the hopes of receiving solutions that we can advance toward proof of concept and, ultimately, implementation.

It’s all part of our broader efforts to harness the creativity and ingenuity of leaders in the transportation and tech industries and beyond to help solve L.A. County’s unique challenges.

Not all of these ideas will work. Some will fail. We can’t be afraid of that.

So here’s our challenge to all of you: We want your ideas. We want your innovations. We want your solutions.

Metro is proud to again partner with LA CoMotion to bring problem solvers together from across the world and the entire spectrum of the transportation industry – public, private, nonprofit – to tackle the world’s transportation challenges. The ideas and innovations being discussed at this forum will help guide the future of mobility for all of us.

We want you to be a part of this movement for better regional mobility.

Topics: Autonomy

Phillip A. Washington, CEO, LA Metro

In his position as LA Metro CEO, Phillip A. Washington is responsible for providing oversight of an agency that transports 1.4 million boarding passengers on an average weekday, riding on a fleet of 2,000 clean-air buses and six rail lines. Washington was a leader in the successful effort to pass a new half-cent sales tax in LA County, which garnered 71.15% voter approval. Measure M will build 40 major highway and transit projects in the first 40 years, create 778,000 jobs through construction and various programs, and provide $133.3 billion in economic impact.