Los Angeles, CA: Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Los Angeles DOT

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Metro Rapid

Project Description

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) have collaborated to design, build, and operate the Metro Rapid Program, a new, high quality mode of transit that offers faster travel choices for bus riders. The program is an express arterial bus service based on eight key attributes, and has proven successful with passenger travel times reduced by as much as 29% and ridership increases of nearly 40%. Metro Rapid currently operates a total of 65 route miles along four corridors throughout Los Angeles County.

Metro Rapid at Station

Metro Rapid at Station

Project Development and Innovations

The Metro Rapid program employs the following attributes: frequent service, bus signal priority, headway-based schedules, simple route layouts, less frequent stops, integration with local bus service, level boarding and alighting, and color-coded buses and stations. When implemented together, these attributes have significantly reduced passenger travel times, improved service frequency and reliability, and reduced delays associated with signalized intersections and dwell times at bus stops. Approximately 1/3 of the reduction in travel time is associated with the bus signal priority system, with a majority of the balance attributed to fewer stops and headway-based schedules. Nearly 1/3 of the increase in ridership is from people who have never before ridden public transit.

The bus signal priority system is based on communications between antenna embedded in the street pavement, radio transmitters mounted underneath the bus, and the LADOT’s Transit Priority Manager (TPM) computer. Once a bus identification and location are received by the TPM, the computer determines the need for traffic signal priority. If a bus is ahead of the scheduled headway by 50% or greater, then no signal priority is granted. However, if a bus is behind the scheduled headway by 50% or greater, then signal priority is granted to assist buses in maintaining their headway. MTA’s Bus Operations Control Center monitors the real-time progress of buses and helps manage bus "bunching" and "gaps" as they progress along the corridor.

Metro Rapid Bus Operations Control Center

Metro Rapid Bus Operations Control Center

Vehicles currently operated by the Metro Rapid program are standard-size 40-foot low-floor compressed natural gas vehicles. They provide nearly level boarding and alighting and have a special exterior paint scheme that is coordinated with the station design.

To identify Metro Rapid as a new mode of transit, separate from the integrated local bus service, stations were designed with the following five principles in mind. Station locations are predominantly far side of the intersection, separate from local stops, which are located predominantly nearside of the intersection. Real-time passenger information regarding the arrival times of approaching buses is provided at each station.

Station Design Principles

Simplicity and Clarity - Dare to be simple. Eliminate extraneous elements and focus on only those symbols, signs, and structures needed by the rider;

Boldness – Cut through visual complexity and street clutter by consistently using strong colors, typography, and logos both on the station and bus;

Consistency – Maintain a reliable and consistent set of images, materials, and settings to reassure transit passengers of an integrated system;

Flexibility – Use design elements which can be used in an extremely wide range of urban settings and can be easily upgraded over time; and,

Cost Effectiveness – Create designs that are easy to fabricate and are subject to the cost benefits of mass production. Select materials which are durable and easy to maintain.

Single Canopy Station

Single Canopy Station

Bus Arrival Time Display at Station

Bus Arrival Time Display at Station


Program Expansion

The Metro Rapid Expansion Program will be implemented in five phases through 2008. Twenty-two corridors will be added to the existing four corridors at a rate of four per year.

Metro Rapid Expansion Program

Metro Rapid Regional Transit Network Phased Implementation Plan.The Los Angeles County MTA is building a regional network of 28 Metro Rapid corridors over the next five years. Currently, four Metro Rapid corridors are in operation, with 2 additional corridors scheduled to open every six months.The four corridors currently in operation are as follows:-Wilshire/Whittier Metro Rapid: operates between the City of Santa Monica and the City of Montebello;-Ventura Metro Rapid: operates between the Universal City Metro Red Line station and Warner Center;-Vermont Metro Rapid: operates between the Metro Green Line Vermont Station and Metro Red Line Sunset Station;-Broadway Metro Rapid: operates between the Metro Green Line Harbor Freeway Station and Patsaouras Plaza/Union Station in downtown Los Angeles.

Additional attributes will be introduced as the program expands. These include exclusive lanes, high capacity buses, and a local bus feeder network

High Capacity Bus

High Capacity Bus

Custom interior seat fabric and artwork for interior spaces will be added to each bus. Concrete seat clusters with Metro Rapid "red" accents will be installed on MTA property where Metro Rapid services connect with MTA’s Metro Rail system.

Program Evaluation

Metro Rapid Demonstration Program Evaluation Report


For current/additional information, visit the following web site:

Contact Information
Mr. Rex Gephart, gephartr@mta.net
Director, Regional Transit Planning
Regional Transportation Planning and Development
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
One Gateway Plaza, 23rd Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90012-2952
Phone: 213-922-3064
Fax: 213-922-2845

Mr. Sean Skehan, sskehan@dot.lacity.org
Senior. Transportation Engineer
Los Angeles Department of Transportation
221 North Figueroa Street, Suite 600
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: 213-977-7845
Fax: 213-580-5180

Related Item : Los Angeles Metro Rapid Demonstration Program