L.A. Gridlock, Air Pollution Can Be Cut Significantly With Proven Solutions in Visionary Plan

Strategies Will Improve Region's Environment and Economy, Creating Thousands of Jobs

June 16, 2011
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(LOS ANGELES—June 16, 2011) Angelenos soon could enjoy clearer roads, easier access to jobs, clearer skies and an improved quality of life through the deployment and implementation of strategies set forth in a transportation plan released today by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).

"Vision Los Angeles: Accessing Los Angeles" is a consensus action plan designed to improve transportation access and mobility, and make housing and transportation more affordable, while improving air quality and reducing green house gas pollution. Nearly all of the 15 strategies in the plan are being used successfully somewhere in the world and build upon existing regional plans, including L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa's America Fast Forward initiative (formerly known as 30/10) whose goal is to complete 30 years of transit projects in 10 years.

By deploying the Vision Los Angeles strategies, the region can create tens of thousands of jobs in the construction sector. In addition, an analysis of the plan by Fehr & Peers, an internationally recognized transportation consulting firm, found that improving transit as proposed in the document would lead to greater access to tens of thousands of jobs throughout the County. The difficulty of getting to and from job centers is a key barrier to employment for many inner-city residents.

"With an unemployment rate of more than 12 percent, our region will see a tremendous benefit from thousands of potential jobs created by the implementation of Vision Los Angeles' strategies," said Bill Allen, CEO of the LAEDC. "The plan not only addresses our job creation needs, it will also help create a climate that attracts the best and brightest people to our communities by cleaning the air and improving mobility."

"This plan will pay dividends for both the region's environment and economy. It can help transform the region's transportation system from one of the least efficient to one that supports a vibrant, world-leading economy, helps clear the air and provides abundant travel choices for all Angelenos," said Kathryn Phillips, director of EDF's California Transportation and Air Initiative.

Currently, Los Angeles ranks as one of the world's largest metropolitan areas and is one of the most diverse and creative regions. Unfortunately, it also is one of the most polluted. Transportation accounts for more than two-thirds of smog-forming pollution and more than 40 percent of the greenhouse gas pollution (GHG) in the Los Angeles air basin. Traffic congestion costs $22 billion annually in lost time and increased health costs, while placing an unnecessary strain on the environment.

Vision Los Angeles actions would:

  • Improve air quality by reducing the time people spend commuting by car and offering alternatives to auto dependence; and,
  • Grow the region's economy and save Los Angeles County residents billions of dollars on transportation-related costs.

Vision Los Angeles features 15 strategies to reduce traffic congestion and related air pollution, as well as improve transportation options for residents and workers. The solutions fall into three "access" categories: 1) operating system; 2) hardware system; and 3) land use:

  1. Access Operating System solutions include developing a dynamic database that Angelenos can use from their cell phones to make informed decisions about where they're going and the most efficient way to get there
  2. Access Hardware solutions include expanding Metro Rapid service up to 15 percent and increasing Bus Rapid Transit region-wide. One of the strategies to achieve this goal is deploying public and private shuttles to and from business, educational and activity centers.
  3. Accessible Land Use solutions include developing Access Efficient Mortgage (AEM) pilot programs in which employees of certain industries have access to an employer-funded revolving loan fund to subsidize housing costs in areas proximate to employment, enabling a closer live-work relationship and significantly reduced transportation congestion and costs.

"The next step in realizing our vision is to implement the initial short-term actions, which will include starting key pilot projects to test their feasibility. These include implementing Transportation Management Associations in the healthcare, educational and entertainment industries and starting a program on Networked WorCenters and housing programs," said David Grannis, president and CEO of Point C, LLC, an experienced transportation-land use consulting firm that led the Vision Los Angeles work effort.

The Vision Los Angeles report includes input and consensus from a broad coalition of regional leaders from the public, private and non-profit sectors. The Bank of America Foundation, the William and Flora Hewett Foundation and the Dipaola Foundation provided financial support to produce the report. The plan and supporting documents are available on the Vision Los Angeles website: www.visionlosangeles.org.

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Vision Los Angeles Advisory Group
Members include leaders of the business and labor world (BizFed, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AECOM, Economic Alliance of San Fernando Valley, L.A. Chamber of Commerce, NBC Universal, Mattel, Inc.), non-profit/non-governmental sector (Natural Resources Defense Council, Union of Concerned Scientists, Green L.A., East Yard Communities For Environmental Justice, Coalition for Clean Air, L.A. Housing Fund, Los Angeles Community College District) and government (City of Los Angeles, County of Los Angeles, City of Pasadena, City of Alhambra, City of Glendale, City of West Hollywood).

About Environmental Defense Fund
Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading national nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. Check out the latest post on EDF's transportation blog, Way2Go. Follow EDF Transportation on Twitter @EDFtransport.

About the LAEDC
The LAEDC, the region's premier economic development organization is a private, non-profit organization established in 1981 under section 501(C) (3). Its mission is to attract, retain, and grow businesses and jobs for the regions of Los Angeles County. Since 1996, the LAEDC has helped retain or attract more than 171,300 jobs, providing $8.4 billion in direct economic impact from salaries and $144 million in annual tax revenue benefit to local governments and education in Los Angeles County. For more information, visit www.laedc.org and follow us on Twitter @LAEDC.

About the Consultants
The Vision Los Angeles plan was prepared by David Grannis and Jennifer Cohen of Point C, a consultancy that focuses on sustainable transportation. Analysis was also provided by Fehr & Peers, and process consultation was provided by Community Design + Architecture.