First, an initial 108 corridors were identified as potentially promising candidates to be included in the BRT network. These corridors included lines operated by Metro and some of the larger municipal transit operators in Los Angeles County. Factors guiding the identification of the initial candidates included recent reports and studies, corridors with headways of 15 minutes or better, recommendations from the project’s technical advisory committee, new corridors that could improve connections to the existing transportation system, or those with the potential to improve regional connectivity and generate political support for new BRT improvements.
Evaluation Techniques Developed
The second screening step involved analysis of the initial 108 corridors using several factors, including existing bus ridership, the strength of possible connections to other high-capacity public transport services, and political support as mentioned earlier. A regional balance of candidate corridors throughout all four stages of screening was maintained by ensuring that a minimum number of corridors were advanced from each sub-region of the county. Several corridors were immediately eliminated at this stage in order to avoid redundancies with other studies or development projects already underway. As a result of this stage, 43 corridors were selected for the next level of evaluation.
At the third stage of screening, additional criteria were used to analyze these 43 transit corridors. These criteria included:
Ridership potential via a “transit suitability index,” which was a combination of population and employment densities and auto dependence among residents, in order to help evaluate corridors with strong patronage potential but with little existing service;
The total number of regional connectivity points to major transport facilities (e.g., rail, BRT, airports); and
Adjacent corridor planning considerations, which could make the corridors under consideration redundant with plans already underway.
The 43 corridors were then ranked based on a combined score in each of the above areas. The results for the 43 corridors were presented to the project’s technical advisory committee (TAC) and other stakeholders for review. Based on their input, 14 corridors were selected to be advanced to the next level of detailed analysis and field reviews. In order to ensure that the potential candidate corridors and recommendations represented a balanced, countywide BRT system that was not confined to a few communities, the TAC members were asked to select two to three corridors from each sub-region of the county among the 14 candidates at this stage.
To begin the final phase of analysis, corridor field reviews were conducted in order to evaluate the most effective ways to implement peak period bus lanes and/or other bus speed improvements where buses experience delay. As a result of the field reviews, a set of recommendations was developed for each of the 14 corridors that included a variety of proposals designed to improve service to BRT standards, as well as recommendations for bus lanes, queue jumps, repaving where needed, implementation of other key BRT attributes such as limited stops, parking restructuring, and installation of transit signal priority (TSP) or optimization of the TSP system where it already exists. Enhancements to the streetscape, as well as each corridor’s economic development potential, were also evaluated during the field reviews stage.
Cost and Benefit Analyses
In order to prioritize and rank the remaining 14 corridors for final recommendations, a cost and benefit analysis was conducted. The cost and benefit analysis compared the capital costs, operating costs, travel time savings, and projected increase in ridership and revenue for each of the 14 corridors. Economic development potential was not measured any further in this study.
The final list of nine regional BRT candidate corridors were identified and recommended for a more detailed corridor level analysis and environmental review. The map in Figure 2 illustrates the final nine corridors recommended for additional study and potential development.
Further steps undertaken for any of the recommended corridors will include a more detailed corridor level analysis and/or environmental review, detailed planning and conceptual design work, public outreach, and further work with the affected jurisdictions along the individual corridors. Two of these studies are currently underway.