Design Challenge

Leverage the greater Los Angeles public transportation system to make access to transit - and thus education, jobs, and social advancement - safe, equitable, and available to all Angelenos.

GOAL: Create solutions utilizing Los Angeles’ current transportation infrastructure that improve a core component of an Angeleno’s quality of life - mobility.


Accessible public transportation is a requirement for any major metropolis, and Los Angeles is no exception. The current infrastructure (via LADOT and LACMTA) is responsible for providing transport for a diverse population of roughly 10 million people. Los Angeles residents and businesses require a high level of personal and commercial mobility, and population increases and economic growth in the greater metro area have only resulted in an increase in the demand for mobility.

To foster a high quality of life, it is critical that residents have access to a safe and equitable transportation system that can accommodate future growth in population and employment. Though Los Angeles is making strides in creating additional capacity with the development of several concurrent projects, there is room for improvement and opportunities to enhance and increase public transportation ridership. 

This design challenge is focused on how we can leverage the current transportation infrastructure so that more Angelenos have access to safe, equitable, and reliable modes of transportation to get them to school, work, and beyond. In some cases, it may be necessary to address underlying mobility issues by implementing new technology, making transit easier and more desirable to use, improving walkability and bicycling, or offering incentives for carpooling and transit[1].

Pain Points

  • According to 2008-2012 census estimates, over 1.6 million people commute to work. Roughly 77% drove a car, truck, or van, while only 11% took public transportation.[2]
  • Over 1 million people on an average weekday ride the Metro bus, and another 350k ride the rail.[3]
  • Only 1% of workers commute by bike in Los Angeles.[4]
  • Los Angeles County motorists experience on average 61 hours of traffic delay annually, compared to the national average of 38 hours.[5] This time translates to a cost of roughly $1,300 in wasted time and fuel.[6],[7]
  • Only 36% of zero-vehicle households in the Los Angeles metro area can get to their place of employment in 90 minutes or less[8]
  • The Sheriff's Department was tasked with reducing crime on the Metro system by 8% a year, but total reported assaults, robberies and other crimes increased 28% in 2012 and 8.5% in 2013, according to audit data. Over a four-year study period, aggravated assaults climbed 75% to 280 in 2013, while robberies increased 43% to 407, according to FBI statistics included in the study.[9]
  • 2,043 bike accidents reported in Los Angeles in 2012.[10]

Key Resources

Metro Facts at a Glance -

California Transit by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility, Sept 2014

Los Angeles: the next great transit metropolis? by Jarrett Walker

Transit Access and Zero Vehicle Households

LA’s Transit Revolution By Matthew Yglesias

Key Data Sets

Transit Oriented Districts - LA County GIS Data Portal

Bike Paths - LA County GIS Data Portal

Crime & Collisions  -

Location of LA County Metro Bus Stops -

LADOT Traffic Counts Summary -

You Are Here 2012 Bicycle Accident raw data

Metrolink Lines with Reporting Districts (this data set shows crime reports within the Metro)

[7] Congestion Cost – Value of travel delay for 2011 (estimated at $16.79 per hour of person travel and $86.81 per hour of truck time) and excess gasoline consumption (passenger vehicles) and diesel (trucks) estimated using state average cost per gallon.

Interested in finding out more about the Transportation Challenge?