Changes in Transit Use and Service and Associated Changes in Driving Near a New Light Rail Transit Line

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Changes in Transit Use and Service and Associated Changes in Driving Near a New Light Rail Transit Line


Los Angeles is pursuing possibly the most ambitious rail transit investment program in the nation with plans to open six new rail transit lines between now and 2019. The report provides policy makers and planners a better understanding of the potential impacts of Los Angeles Metro’s rail transit investment program by assessing the changes in transit use of nearby residents and nearby bus service associated with the Expo Line, the first of the six new lines. Our findings indicate that changes in bus service that are coincident with the introduction of new light rail transit can negatively affect the overall transit ridership in the corridor. In addition, we find that households living near new Expo Line light rail stations reduced their vehicle miles traveled (VMT), but those households living near bus stops that were eliminated as part of the service change increased their VMT.



Dr. Nixon is an Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at San José State University. Her research and teaching interests in environmental planning and policy focus on the relationship between environmental attitudes and behavior, particularly with respect to waste management and linkages between transportation and the environment. She holds a BA from the University of Rochester in Environmental Management and a PhD in Planning, Policy, and Design from the University of California, Irvine.


Dr. Boarnet is Professor of Public Policy and Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California. Dr. Boarnet’s research focuses on land use and transportation, links between land use and travel behavior and associated implications for public health and greenhouse gas emissions, urban growth patterns, and the economic impacts of transportation infrastructure. He is co-author of Travel by Design (Oxford University Press, 2001), a comprehensive study of the link between land use and travel. Dr. Boarnet is a fellow of the Weimer School of the Homer Hoyt Institute for Real Estate, and he received the 2013 David Boyce award for service to regional science from the North American Regional Science Association.


Dr. Douglas Houston (BA, University of Texas, Austin; MA, PhD, UC Los Angeles) is an Assistant Professor of Planning, Policy, and Design at the University of California, Irvine. His research focuses on the environmental and health implications of urban development and transportation systems. His recent work has appeared in the Journal of Transport GeographyEnvironment and Planning A, and the American Journal of Public Health and assesses the environmental and land use implications of vehicle-related air pollution for residents of goods movement corridors and evaluates the implications of compact development and transit investments on travel behavior and activity patterns. This work has received support from the California Air Resources Board, the California Department of Transportation, the University of California Transportation Center, and the California Endowment, and it uses travel surveys and real-time location and pollution tracking techniques to inform policies seeking to make neighborhoods more compact, mixed-use, and transit accessible in hopes of reducing vehicle travel and associated air pollution.


Dr. Steven Spears (B.S., Clemson University; Pg.Dip., Cardiff University; MURP, Virginia Commonwealth University; PhD, University of California, Irvine) is an Assistant Professor in the School of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Iowa. His research focuses on understanding how attitudes, perceptions of the built environment, and habits affect transportation mode choice and physical activity. His recent work has appeared in Transportation Research Part A – Policy and Practice and Urban Studies and is focused on the impact of transit investments on travel attitudes and behavior. This work has received support from the University of California Transportation Center and has implications for the design of policies that encourage attitude change to help maximize return on investments in sustainable transportation infrastructure.


Dr. Lee received her doctoral degree at the University of Southern California (USC) and her dissertation focuses on how perceptions, local land use, and environmental characteristics are related to transit use, with a particular emphasis on walk access to transit. Dr. Lee has been a research assistant with the National Center for Metropolitan Transportation Research (METRANS) at USC, collaborating with her colleagues on several transportation research projects. She received a scholarship from the Los Angeles Chapter of the Women’s Transportation Seminar in November 2011. Dr. Lee is currently a Research Professor in the Institute of Urban Sciences at the University of Seoul, and she is extending her transport research using transit and pedestrian travel data from the Seoul metropolitan area.

May 2015
Rail transit
Bus transit
Public transportation
Vehicle miles travelled



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