L.A. Metro recruits industry ‘Dream Team’ to chart a new course heading into 2028 Olympic Games

Dec. 19, 2023
The authority’s Industry Advisory Council is designed to assist L.A. Metro address challenges that come with hosting major events, including supplemental bus service needs, seamless fare collection, security and stakeholder coordination.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (L.A. Metro) brought together a forum of public agency leaders for its fourth Thought Leadership Workshop on Large-Scale Special Events in Orlando, Fla., last month at the American Public Transportation Association’s TRANSform Conference & EXPO. The workshop provided L.A. Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins an opportunity to present the authority’s new Industry Advisory Council (IAC), which will advise L.A. Metro and steer future workshops focused on preparing for large-scale special events like the upcoming 2026 World Cup and 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games.  

Los Angeles is in a defining decade as it undergoes a significant transition towards a zero-emission bus (ZEB) fleet while simultaneously preparing to host some of the largest sporting events in global history. By bringing together industry experts through this new IAC and the workshops they help advise, L.A. Metro hopes to chart a smoother course for itself and fellow agencies as they seek to address challenges that come with hosting such major events, including supplemental bus service needs, seamless fare collection and security and stakeholder coordination. 

“These distinguished executives, combined, have more than 100 years of experience leading some of the largest transportation agencies in the world and many through large scale special events, from previous Olympic games to Super Bowls to Taylor Swift concerts and national conventions,” said Wiggins. “This counsel and insight will be invaluable to me as we plan for our historic events, as well as leave a legacy of industry insights for future special event planning.” 

Membership of the new IAC includes: 

  • Collie Greenwood, CEO –  Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority/Atlanta, Ga. 
  • Debra Johnson, general manager and CEO, Denver Regional Transportation District/Denver, Colo. 
  • Eulois Cleckley, director and CEO, Miami-Dade County Department of Transportation  and Public Works/Miami, Fla.  
  • India L. Birdsong Terry, CEP and general manager,  Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority/Cleveland, OH 
  • Jay Fox, executive director, Utah Transit Authority/Salt Lake City, Utah 
  • Ken McDonald, president and CEO, Long Beach Transit/Long Beach, Calif.  
  • Kevin Quinn, CEO, TransLink/Vancouver, B.C. 
  • M.J. Maynard, CEO,  Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada /Las Vegas, Nev. 
  • Nat Ford, CEO,  Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA)/Jacksonville, Fla. 
  • Richard Leary, CEO, Toronto Transit Commission/Toronto, Canada 
  • Tom Lambert, president and CEO,  Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County /Houston, Texas. 
  • Andy Byford, senior vice president for high-speed rail development, Amtrak 

The Thought Leadership Workshop included IAC members and other leading agencies from around the country. Keynote speaker Leon Daniels, officer of the Order of the British Empire, who served as managing director of surface transport at Transport for London for seven years, delivered insights on his role in overseeing the delivery of transport for the London 2012 Olympic Games. His guiding concepts for success included coordination and collaboration, from operations and media, to law enforcement and security. 

L.A. Metro is not alone in its need to accommodate temporary ridership increases for major events, as  virtually all large transit agencies operate in cities that host major events annually. Successfully managing events of such magnitude involves tackling challenges like managing large-scale crowd transportation, coordinating with partner agencies and key stakeholders, addressing security concerns and developing effective strategies to enhance the overall customer experience. 

As Daniels described it, this effort is a historic torch relay, a moonshot, where failure isn’t an option, where the event goes national and global and every person involved in bringing this to fruition will be able to look back on their tenure as an event of a lifetime.