UrbanTrans, Playa Vista
UrbanTrans, Playa Vista
For six straight years, Los Angeles has won the dubious distinction of having the worst traffic congestion in the world. The city also has a unique problem: everyone is aware of how bad traffic is, yet everyone still drives and single-occupancy vehicle usage rates remain very high.
Aaron Gaul and Ma’ayan Dembo of UrbanTrans North America joined us to talk about a unique new model they’ve used as part of their Compass program, which was created to ease the region’s ongoing problems with gridlock. Their model can be summarized into three simple categories: design, delivery, and data.
Data is becoming an increasingly important aspect of commuter programs, as technology-driven tools make it possible to generate deep data-based insights. Design refers to how the actual elements of the program and its related services fit together, while delivery relates to making it easily accessible to commuters.
One of the unique aspects of the “3D” model is that it is not linear in nature. There is no simple progression from inception to development to design to implementation. Rather, all three elements work together, and interact with and inform one another. Data supports a strong design, a strong design eases the program’s delivery, and the post-delivery phase generates more data, which can then be used to upgrade and improve the program’s overall performance.
UrbanTrans Playa Vista’s Compass TDM program covers about 5,500 commuters, and showed a strong 44 percent growth rate in 2016, which carried over into 2017 with further growth of 12 percent. The Compass program was designed to mitigate the number of solo-driving trips made during the peak of the PM rush hour.
The process began with surveys distributed to commuters through their employers, who partnered with the program. These surveys generated important data-based insights, but rather than using them to make a linear jump from data collection into program design, UrbanTrans continued to distribute and collect them on an ongoing basis so the increasingly deep insights could inform the initiative’s evolving nature. In essence, UrbanTrans made a significant investment in generating comprehensive, quality data, and the results speak for themselves.
Since the program’s launch, year-over-year average vehicle ridership rates have continually risen among Playa Vista commuters. In 2014, it was 1.19 riders per vehicle; by 2017, it had climbed to 1.41 for an improvement of 15.6 percent. Single-occupancy vehicle commute rates have dropped from 71.4 percent in 2014 to 65.3 percent in 2017.
To learn more about how this dynamic, interactive model works in practice, be sure to view Gaul and Dembo’s full presentation.