Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro)
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) serves as transportation planner and coordinator, designer, builder and operator for one of the country’s largest, most populous counties. More than 9.6 million people – nearly one-third of California’s residents – live, work, and play within its 1,433-square-mile service area. And LA Metro's buses may be the most famous in the world -- often making appearances and cameos in movies.
State law created the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) to oversee funding and coordination of all public transportation services within Los Angeles County. (See generally, Division 12 of the Public Utilities Code entitled "County Transportation Commissions beginning at Section 130000).
LA Metro recommends projects that will be federally funded under the Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Community Strategies (RTP/SCS). The RTP/SCS identifies strategies to meet mobility of all modes, legislative, financial, and air quality requirements in the six county area the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG). LA Metro identifies long range transportation improvement projects beyond those already programmed in the six-year federal funding plan. LA Metro coordinates the input provided to SCAG with local agencies in order to ensure consistency with city and county transportation plans and projects.
LA Metro also serves as the tax authority and implementation agency for a voter-approved sales tax measures; the most recent (Measure M) passed in November. Additionally, Metro programs projects for State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) funds, including special funds created by the state for programs like bicycle and pedestrian facilities and specialized transit for seniors and persons with disabilities; develops evaluation criteria based on federal or state guidance and selects or recommends the most competitive projects based on this criteria; and distributes funds to public transit operators for planning, program administration, bicycle and pedestrian facilities projects, public bus transit, and rail transit.
Metro's Congestion Management Program looks at the links between land use, transportation and air quality. Working with SCAG, LA metro prepares and updates the CMP to meet federal and state standards. RCTC relies on an enhanced traffic monitoring system of traffic counters at call boxes and Caltrans traffic monitoring sites to use immediate data to monitor the highway system.
LA Metro also participates in Mobility 21, a regional Southern California transportation advocacy group.
- Union Station Master Plan--Metro purchased Los Angeles Union Station in 2011 and has released a master plan that calls for upgrades and enhancements that will bring the facility to world class status. The plan prioritizes rehabilitation and restoration of the historic landmark and revitalization of the public space surrounding it. Union Station is rich with history and the plan preserves that history while offering amenities that cater to the diverse needs of the growing population of commuters in Southern California.
- Downtown LA Streetcar--Metro is currently planning for the construction and operation of a streetcar service in downtown Los Angeles. It will invigorate the downtown core and connect riders to existing bus and rail lines.
- Green Construction Equipment Initiative--As Southern California's population and economy grows, so does the construction of new infrastructure to support it. The machines used in this construction are powered by diesel engines and produce a significant amount of air pollutants. To help combat the emissions caused by diesel, Metro has adopted the Green Construction Policy and has committed to using green construction equipment and vehicles. In addition to minimizing pollutants, Metro will implement best practices to reduce emissions in all construction projects performed on Metro's properties. The Green Construction Policy guides planning, construction, and operations that improve air quality and promote health for Southern California residents.
- Advanced Transit Vehicle Consortium--In partnership with the City of Los Angeles, County of Los Angeles, and South Coast Air Quality Management District, the Advanced Transit Vehicle Consortium encourages the development advanced transit technologies, low emission technologies, and advanced composite vehicles. The ATVC was established in 1995 and has invested over $10 million in research and projects that improve transit, ease congestion, and reduce emissions. Metro currently operates the highest number of advanced composite buses in the world and has plans to secure several hundred more. In addition, other products of the ATVC include hybrid buses, a battery bus, and vehicle electrification.
The composition of the Metro's Board of Directors is comprised of 13 voting members and one ex officio member as provided by Section 130051 of the Public Utilities Code. The voting members include all five Los Angeles County Supervisors, the mayor of Los Angeles, 2 public members and one city council member appointed by the mayor of Los Angeles, and four mayors or council members representing the four geographical sectors of the county (currently the North County/San Fernando Valley, Southwest Corridor, San Gabriel Valley, and Southeast Long Beach sectors). The details of how the four sectors are defined (by the L.A division of the League of California Cities) and how members are selected from each sector (votes weighted by population by members of the City Selection Committee from that sector) and for how long (four years, staggered terms) are further defined in the statute. In addition, the Governor appoints a non-voting, ex-officio member, often the Caltrans District Director.
See Metro's website for a current roster of the board of directors.
LA Metro recently published a first-of-its-kind study (in the US) entitled "Understanding How Women Travel.” It is a frank assessment of the challenges faced by women when using the Metro system – from traveling with kids and strollers to safety to fares.
LA Metro uses an innovative permeable pavement solution at a bus yard to help protect the water quality for the Los Angeles Estuary.