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New Expo Line Won’t Make a Difference in Westside Traffic Congestion


A USC study, which was published recently in the Journal of Planning Education and Research, concluded that the $1B first leg of the Expo Line from USC to Culver City has had little impact on street and freeway congestion in areas along that route.

The “big data” project was conducted in partnership with the LA County Metro to determine what expectations for the new Metro line are realistic.

The study collected data from geo-located sensors along the I-10 freeway and nearby roads, for three months, as well as from other sources like ticket sales or ridership, according to LA Weekly. Researchers did report a significant overall increase in Expo Line ridership throughout the Culver City-Downtown LA corridor. The researchers noted that these latest findings are similar to previous studies on public transportation’s impact on traffic congestion.

The opening of Phase 2 of the Expo Line's $1.5B expansion early next year, which will bring light-rail service all the way to Downtown Santa Monica, may not offer Westsiders the relief from traffic congestion they had hoped for, but Sandip Chakrabarti, a post-doctoral researcher at USC’s METRANS Transportation Center, points out that it will have value for people who use it by choice or need, as mass transit expands access to residential and employment opportunities and improves the productivity of riders. [LAWeekly