May 6, 2021|Cassie Halls, Emma Huang and Joshua Schank
In June 2019, Los Angeles Metro (LA Metro), in partnership with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT), installed a peak-hour bus lane in downtown Los Angeles. Although the 1.8-mile bus lane was deployed as a temporary strategy for addressing anticipated traffic delays due to rail station closures, it had an outsized effect.
The bus lane greatly improved mobility, accounting for more than 80 percent of people moving in the corridor or around 10,000 bus riders a day during the peak-hour period. Person-throughput increased 37 percent compared to pre-traffic conditions with limited reduction of the capacity in general use lanes for private vehicles. Two-thirds of bus customers and two-thirds of operators reported time savings. This perceived time savings is consistent with observed travel times, which improved up to 30 percent throughout the corridor.
The Flower Street pilot demonstrated that a bus lane—when deployed as a tactical pilot—can gain widespread approval, and can greatly improve mobility in a heavily trafficked corridor by maximizing existing street space.