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Open Access Publications from the University of California
Cover page of Micromobility Equity in Los Angeles

Micromobility Equity in Los Angeles


In 2019, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation’s (LADOT) micromobility program brought together the agency, scooter operators, and other stakeholders to create a holistic regulatory framework that established operational requirements and expectations to promote the safe and effective use of micromobility scooters, primarily dockless e-scooters, and e-bikes. While the program has effectively expanded the usage of micromobility and mitigated externalities associated with dockless vehicle programs, it has been less effective at ensuring access, particularly in underserved neighborhoods such as the Equity-Focused Mobility Development Districts. In a mixed-methods approach, we combine micromobility data from LADOT, interviews with private operators and community-based organizations, and case studies of micromobility equity programs in other US cities to inform our three policy recommendations for LADOT. The three key policy levers are a reduction in the number of operators allowed within the program, strengthened outreach requirements with enforcement from LADOT, and a modification to the penalty schedule that does not deter deployment in the San Fernando Valley. These policies would create more favorable market conditions for increasing operator deployment in the equity zones while advancing LADOT’s goal of improving access to shared mobility.

Cover page of Bus Shelter Equity: A study of the distribution of bus shelters in Los Angeles County and unincorporated communities 

Bus Shelter Equity: A study of the distribution of bus shelters in Los Angeles County and unincorporated communities 


This research project analyzes the distribution of bus shelters at Los Angeles Metro bus stops and the process for funding, building and maintaining bus shelters in unincorporated areas. The study employs quantitative methods using data from Metro, the County, and other publicly available data to measure distribution along three geographies (Supervisorial Districts, unincorporated areas, and Supervisorial District 2), and four equity measures to characterize neighborhoods with unsheltered bus stops (heat exposure, access to shade, wait time, and socio-economic and transit-related conditions). The study also uses qualitative methods to examine Public Works’ process for implementing bus shelters in unincorporated areas. The analysis shows that Supervisorial District 2 has the greatest bus shelter need compared to other County districts. In addition, Public Works is at a critical moment for bus shelter development in unincorporated Los Angeles County as it seeks to replace all ad-shelters and to engage with a new vendor. Public Works has an opportunity to improve data collection for evaluating past and future bus shelter siting along lines of equity.

Cover page of Change for the Meter: Exploring the Equity Implications of Market-Priced Parking

Change for the Meter: Exploring the Equity Implications of Market-Priced Parking


As California aims to curb its transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions, policymakers and planners are implementing strategies to disincentivize single occupancy vehicle (SOV) use. Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI) is a global non-profit organization specializing in community development and design. KDI was interested in understanding the most gender and racially-equitable approaches to disincentivize driving, given Los Angeles' dispersed development pattern and decentralized job centers. This capstone research project aims to better understand whether one proposed method of reducing SOV use—pricing parking—disproportionately affects people of color and female and gender minority drivers. The project uses a mixed-methods approach, beginning with a review of relevant academic literature to understand travel behavior, the theory behind pricing parking, and the equity implications of raising transportation costs. The research design also includes an analysis of the USC Understanding America Study (UAS) Survey 379, field observations, and an in-person survey in Hollywood. The small sample size limits the generalizability of the Hollywood findings. However, the survey is helpful in better understanding the variety of people's parking preferences and responsiveness to potential parking-related policies. Finally, the project uses case studies to identify other cities' strategies to price parking to meet their community needs. Each methodological approach used in this report works together to build a more comprehensive understanding of parking behavior and preferences in Los Angeles. The findings reveal that parking preferences and experiences vary by race and gender. This report includes seven policy and planning recommendations that could redistribute the benefits of market-priced parking.

Cover page of Low-Stress Bikeway Analysis: Looking at the City of Beverly Hills' Bicycle Network Post-Covid

Low-Stress Bikeway Analysis: Looking at the City of Beverly Hills' Bicycle Network Post-Covid


Adopted in April 2021, the City of Beverly Hills Complete Streets Plan includes a holistic bicycle network that has since been in the works for implementation. The vision prioritizes an accelerated installation of crucial east-west and north-south low-stress bicycle facilities to provide access to schools, parks, commercial areas, and the Metro Purple Line stations, connected with existing bikeways within and outside the City of Beverly Hills.However, the recommended holistic network was developed pre-Covid. The City would like to establish whether the existing bicycle network and proposals presented in the Complete Streets Plan would still produce a low-stress network, or if the network should be revised with different streets or bicycle facility types.For this analysis, I developed a research design that prioritized utilizing traffic data in tandem with best practices identified with the guidelines examined in my literature review. I began my research through a collection of motor vehicle speed and traffic volume data, or annual average traffic count (AADT), for streets identified in the City’s Complete Streets Plan that was adopted and/or recommended for bikeway facilities as part of the City’s vision for a holistic network. This was done to ensure that the City could still reach its goal of a wholly connected, low-stress network through streets that could attain that vision.Through StreetLight Data, I ran analyses for each street considered as part of the City’s Complete Streets Plan. This was done as part of my bicycle network analysis to determine the level of stress, and therefore appropriate bicycle facility types for each street. The data collected's timeframe reflects pre and post-Covid numbers to provide a comparison of vehicular traffic trends. These years were chosen to show the impact of Covid on current traffic patterns, if any. In doing so, I looked to see if there were any notable changes in vehicular volume and speed on these streets from 2019 to 2022. I gathered mid-day speed at the 85th percentile when collecting motor vehicle speed data. This was done to see if there were any apparent increases or decreases in volume or speed through a typical weekend for each street analyzed.For streets that had a notable increase in volume (>2000 difference) and speed (>5mph difference), I noted should be improved with bicycle infrastructure up- grades if not already planned in the Complete Streets Plan.For streets with a minimal difference or decrease in volume and speed, I noted the probability of the previous bikeway facility considerations remaining to accept- able - but regardless should still be examined for improvements to infrastructure.Through this analysis, I was able to determine significant changes, if any, in traffic data pre- and post-Covid in the City of Beverly Hills. Recommendations for upgrades to bicycle infrastructure are based on these noted changes. Top priority corridors are also recommended based on current traffic data, with considerations from the Complete Streets Plan observed. Further considerations are presented to improve the City's holistic bikeway network through policy and design recommendations. These recommendations are focused on improving the City's bicycle network in terms of accessibility, connectivity, and most importantly, safety.

Cover page of Center of a Tension: An Analysis of Center Turn Lanes

Center of a Tension: An Analysis of Center Turn Lanes


Removing a center turn lane from a three-lane road does not appear to interfere with safety goals. In fact, in some cases, it appears it may improve safety. I compared streets with a center turn lane to those that once had a center turn lane, but later removed it. The streets that once had center turn lanes — but later removed them in favor of treatments such as bike lanes — registered an average of 42% fewer crashes per million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) than the comparison streets with center turn lanes. Furthermore, the additional safety benefits held up when measuring across a selection of sub-crash groups, such as fatal and severe crashes and pedestrian and bicycle collisions. While a before-and-after analysis suggested that part of this effect can be attributed to lower crash densities on our treatment streets, this did not invalidate the fact that these streets still observed absolute reductions in crash rates after the removal of a center turn lane, suggesting that center turn lane removal can coexist with safety objectives.

Cover page of Slow Streets! Your Streets? An Evaluation of Speed-Reducing Countermeasures on LA Slow Streets

Slow Streets! Your Streets? An Evaluation of Speed-Reducing Countermeasures on LA Slow Streets


The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) initiated the Slow Streets program to create opportunities for multimodal transportation and outdoor recreation during the Covid-19 pandemic. The program initially used low-cost barricades and signage to demarcate Slow Street segments before upgrading to six new traffic calming measures, or countermeasures, in Phase 2 that were designed to reduce speeds. This report evaluated their effectiveness through analyzing StreetLight speed data and employing a custom formula comparing speed changes on Slow Street segments to estimate each countermeasure’s speed-reducing effect. Nearly half of the segments experienced speed increases after countermeasure installation. Though it was difficult to attribute these speed increases to any reasons with certainty, we speculate that the countermeasures may not have caused great enough changes in street geometries to significantly alter driver behaviors and reduce speeds. Drivers may be using Slow Street segments to “cut through” traffic, and Slow Streets may not have been able to evade speed increases that have occurred on many streets during and after Los Angeles’ stay-at-home orders went into effect. Based on the results, LADOT should prioritize the installation of treatments located at or near intersections, which have shown to be most effective. LADOT should also reduce lane widths on entire street segments rather than at certain points along the street and consider alternative materials to work around current design restrictions. Finally, LADOT should perform a qualitative study of the effectiveness of the program and improve information access of the Slow Streets network by publishing interactive maps online.

Cover page of A Blueprint for Connected Public Transport for Los Angeles County

A Blueprint for Connected Public Transport for Los Angeles County


The intercity and intercounty public systems in the Southern California region still need to be fully integrated, which presents challenges to riders, like paying fares and accessing fare discounts, receiving real-time travel information, and making seamless intermodal transfers. Los Angeles County alone has 26 municipal transit agencies. Los Angeles Metro's (Metro) position as the primary and largest transit agency serving Los Angeles gives it the influence to lead integration efforts. Outside of Los Angeles County, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), Riverside Transit Agency (RTA), San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS), and Metrolink operate services that provide transit access between LA County and destinations in the Southern California region. Yet, the organization of these transit providers creates a complex transit system governance structure that challenges coordination across operators –limited coordination results in a fragmented regional transit system that can confuse riders and operators. The report uses responses from interviews with LA Metro, Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency, and Caltrans employees and data from the 2022 Metro Customer Survey Study and Metrolink 2022 Rider Survey to analyze the barriers to fare integration. After reviewing data and exploring case studies of integrated transit systems worldwide, this report recommends three actions that LA Mero can consider to enhance fare integration and create seamless transfers between intercity and intercounty transit providers. (1) Establish Initiatives for Equitable Fare Policies, (2) Analyze Current Governance Structures and; (3) Enhance Physical Infrastructure at Transit Station Areas.

Cover page of Dining or Parking? Managing the Curb During COVID-19 and Beyond: An Analysis of the L.A. Al Fresco Program

Dining or Parking? Managing the Curb During COVID-19 and Beyond: An Analysis of the L.A. Al Fresco Program


The temporary L.A. Al Fresco outdoor dining program provided crucial support to restaurants, bars and cafes during the COVID-19 pandemic. This research performs an economic analysis of the program, comparing parking meter revenue with sales tax revenue and compares treatment corridors with Al Fresco to control corridors without Al Fresco. Results show the program has been successful in keeping more than 80% of businesses open during the pandemic. Treatment corridors with Al Fresco generated an increase of $12 million in gross sales in 2022 compared to 2019. The City of Los Angeles stands to benefit economically and socially by transitioning into a permanent L.A. Al Fresco program.

Cover page of Al Fresco in the Time of COVID-19: Addressing the Barriers to Outdoor Dining in Los Angeles Communities

Al Fresco in the Time of COVID-19: Addressing the Barriers to Outdoor Dining in Los Angeles Communities


Mayor Garcetti launched the temporary Al Fresco Program in the City of Los Angeles to allow outdoor dining to support economically distressed eateries in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and stay-at-home orders. Since the program's inception, the City of Los Angeles has had a goal of a 50% participation rate in disadvantaged communities. The report aims to explore barriers disadvantaged communities face to apply to the L.A. Al Fresco program and finds solutions to increase program participation in these communities. The researcher conducted an eligibility survey of 7 and from that group 5 in-depth interviews with food and beverage establishment owners to understand the barriers to participating in the L.A. Al Fresco Program and the impact of COVID. Along with qualitative analysis, the report found that 27% of active eateries in the City of Los Angeles currently participate in the L.A. Al Fresco program. Interviewees expressed how they are still recovering economically from COVID-19, which has been compounded by inflation, leaving no interest in expanding their business through outdoor dining. The report recommends that the L.A. Al Fresco Program create a small restaurant outreach strategy through an L.A. Al Fresco ambassador program and develop partnerships with local economic development organizations to increase specialized support services for small businesses in under-invested communities to ensure access to the program without barriers.

Cover page of Charging the Future:  Assessing the environmental impact of a road user charge with mandatory electric vehicle participation

Charging the Future:  Assessing the environmental impact of a road user charge with mandatory electric vehicle participation


Transportation financing has historically relied on revenue from the gas tax. In recent years, however, the gas tax has faltered in its ability to support transportation projects. Policymakers and planners are currently searching for options to either supplement or replace the gas tax, one of them being a road user charge (RUC). With RUC being a reasonable solution to the funding crisis, many states, including California, have implemented pilot programs to explore its feasibility. While pilot programs and research often mention electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in their scope, most do not acknowledge how carbon emissions may change when adding a price to driving, since EVs do not currently pay for their road use. In order to address this gap, this project relies on a carbon model with three financing scenarios. Results indicate that the optimal funding solution to address funding and climate goals is a dual funding scheme (Scenario 2), which yields the least amount of carbon emissions in both the short and long run. Surprisingly, a universal RUC system (Scenario 3) produces the most carbon emissions, because an outright removal of the gas tax will incentivize consumers to buy less fuel efficient vehicles. Results also imply that there are environmental benefits to pricing EV drivers for their road use, since their carbon footprint declines when paying a RUC. These results inspire four recommendations, which are as follows: 1. Establish federal guidance with a dual funding scheme as the suggested solution to address the transportation funding crisis and to support national climate goals. 2. Replicate the model in other states. 3. Adopt a dual funding model in California. 4. Develop supportive policy for EVs and PHEVs in California.