It’s time to have a real conversation about what it will take to get Los Angeles moving again. We’ve compiled solutions that have been proven to work in the greater Los Angeles region and around the world, and will soon add more ideas from thought leaders and transportation experts.
The average LA driver now spends over 100 hours every year stuck in traffic. That number is climbing quickly and stands as some of the worst traffic in the entire world. The time we waste costs us each over $2,400 in lost productivity and fuel, to say nothing of the personal sacrifices and complicated life decisions we make every day just to avoid traffic.
For example, see Olympic Blvd above. As this video model demonstrates, current traffic conditions during rush hour are a nightmare, leaving commuters trapped while trying to get on the 405 or just passing through the Westside.
What would happen if we took the best solutions from above and combined them together to form a “Go Zone,” with the goal of reducing traffic congestion in some of LA’s worst traffic hot spots?
This video models the impact of possible near-term solutions in Los Angeles combined together to form a “Go Zone,” to relieve congestion and get traffic hot spots like Olympic moving again.
These solutions, which include a decongestion fee system during peak traffic hours, increased incentives for ridesharing, more frequent and reliable transit options, and better crosswalks and bike lanes to make walking and cycling safer and more enjoyable, have been proven to enhance mobility in cities around the world.
Together, these mobility innovations can do more than improve traffic conditions, they fundamentally transform our streets to move us past a “drive-it-alone” model of transportation.
What is the 100 Hours Project?
100 Hours is a public engagement effort by the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) to explore and discuss real solutions for our worst traffic hot spots in the Los Angeles area so that Angelenos can spend more time on what really matters.
The average resident of Los Angeles loses over 100 hours in traffic every year, making the LA commute one of the worst in the world. Without action, this average amount of time spent in traffic is expected to get even worse.
The financial and personal costs that Angelenos pay for congestion are staggering: we each spend an average of over $2,400 on lost productivity and fuel alone, to say nothing of the personal sacrifices and complicated life decisions we make every day to avoid traffic.
It’s time to have a meaningful conversation about what it would take to not only alleviate traffic congestion, but make Los Angeles No. 1 in transportation innovation.
Why Los Angeles?
As Angelenos cross the 100-hour threshold for amount of time lost to congestion, the region continues to re-imagine its transportation future. Los Angeles County leads the nation in public transportation investments, which coupled with services like ridesharing, provides unprecedented access to mobility without the need to own a car. Additionally, significant Vision Zero investments aim to make walking and biking safer and more enjoyable. Angelenos have demonstrated that we are ready for a conversation about transportation solutions that get the city moving.
What is the ultimate goal of the campaign?
The primary goal of the 100 Hours campaign is to explore and discuss real transportation solutions in light of the record-breaking traffic that our region faces. What lessons can we learn from other regions and how can we implement solutions in a way that works for LA?
The first step is to engage Angelenos in a conversation and hear directly from those affected daily by LA traffic. How would you like to get around? What sacrifices are you currently making because of congestion? What alternatives would allow you to live, work and play in Los Angeles more efficiently?
We then plan to gather community ideas and analyze best practices from around the world so we can better understand how Los Angeles can decongest local traffic hot spots and complement regional efforts to improve transit, walking, and biking options.
What’s a Go Zone?
A “Go Zone” is a concept for addressing specific traffic hot spots with a range of tools and incubating what can work to relieve local traffic problems.
The question posed by 100 Hours is, how do we structure Go Zones that make sense for LA? Elements could include: decongestion fees, new ridesharing models, and “first/last mile” solutions that bridge the gap from home or work to transit stops.
Our region’s transportation problems can seem daunting, but we hope that focusing on a comprehensive set of solutions for local problems can reignite our imagination.
What’s a “decongestion fee”?
A decongestion fee is a mobility management tool that aims to combat the negative impacts of traffic and provide congestion relief. Drivers would have the option to pay for less congested arterial roadways during peak times when congestion is at its worst. By charging a fee to enter and use the streets within a highly-congested area at peak periods, drivers would be incentivized to make more informed travel choices and explore mobility alternatives.
A decongestion fee system has been proven to reduce traffic enough to make a significant difference. In other cities with high levels of congestion, adding a decongestion fee system during peak hours has eliminated gridlock. For example, Stockholm saw an 18%-22% reduction in traffic with a decongestion fee of approximately $1.50 to $3.00 (in U.S. dollars). A smart system can be customized to the context and geography of Los Angeles with discounts on the fee for low-income households, zone residents and higher occupancy vehicles.
Although the primary purpose of a decongestion fee is to reduce traffic congestion, it also generates revenue that could be used to fund transit, biking and safer streets that create mobility options into and within a Go Zone.
How would the solutions we discuss impact equity?
Low-income households and communities often pay the highest price for congestion, traveling long distances to work with less flexibility, making the need for solutions especially critical for those concerned with equity. These households would benefit dramatically from improved traffic flow and complementary transit upgrades.
Low-income drivers could be provided with an exemption on all or most of a decongestion fee. This would maximize the positive impact a Go Zone could have on low-income communities.
Can we really reduce traffic in LA?
Transportation may seem like a daunting issue in LA, but there are proven solutions around the world that have worked to improve traffic flow. We are Los Angeles, a region that has taken on and overcome great challenges. Let’s talk about how we can implement real solutions and make them our own.
How can I learn more and get involved?
The next and most important step is to share your ideas about how to improve mobility in your community. If you care about fixing the historic level of traffic in LA, join the 100 Hours conversation, share this information with your friends and family, and get involved locally.