The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (L.A. Metro) has launched an Equity Information Hub under its Metro Equity Platform to enable community members access to its equity-focused initiatives and resources encouraging active inclusion in the agency’s planning process. L.A. Metro’s Community-Based Organization (CBO) Partnering Strategy is another important tool under the agency’s Equity Platform.
Equity Information Hub
Designed to encourage engagement through publicly accessible content, the Equity Information Hub is a website that provides data and resources necessary to identify and reduce racial, socioeconomic and gender barriers and ensure all Los Angeles residents have equitable access to L.A. Metro services and programs. It provides links to many of L.A. Metro’s equity tools, engagement resources, case studies and industry best practices in a centralized virtual location. Language translation capabilities are also available.
“Through its Equity Platform, L.A. Metro is dedicated to finding ways to increase access to L.A. Metro’s projects, programs and initiatives for all our customers,” said Glendale City Council Member and L.A. Metro Board Chair Ara J. Najarian. “It is through these efforts that L.A. Metro can become the transportation of choice, as well as an economic catalyst for our county.”
The Equity Information Hub highlights the Equity Planning and Evaluation Tool pilots, including one that is being implemented for the Long Beach – East L.A. Corridor Mobility Investment Plan (formerly I-710 Task Force), reflects a community-focused approach for improving communities along the Long Beach Freeway (I-710) corridor. L.A. Metro seeks to offer multi-modal options to help improve air quality and mobility for people and goods, support and enhance public health, quality of life and make all travel modes safer. The plan includes engaging residents in the cities of Bell, Bell Gardens, Vernon, Los Angeles, Maywood, Huntington Park, South Gate, Cudahy, Downey, Lynwood, Compton, Paramount, Signal Hill and Long Beach. Unincorporated communities of East L.A. and Walnut Park are also part of the corridor.
“Equity is a fundamental part of every aspect of L.A. Metro’s work, whether it’s building affordable housing near transit stations, offering reduced fares to families, children, students and seniors or collaborating with community-based organizations to reach marginalized communities,” said L.A. Metro Board First Vice Chair Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker. “We must use the equity information hub and other advanced tools to help in our efforts to enhance the quality of life for all residents of Los Angeles.”
The Long Beach to East L.A. Corridor Mobility Investment Plan will eventually implement projects recommended by local community members. Projects could include new bike lanes, more ADA-compliant pedestrian bridges and sidewalks, incentivizing telecommuting programs, micro-distribution hubs and synchronized street signals between cities.
CBO Partnering Strategy
As part of its equity toolbox, L.A. Metro has developed specific programs to address inequities that transit customers regularly face within marginalized communities such as south Los Angeles and portions of the San Fernando Valley, among others. L.A. Metro’s CBO Partnering Strategy is a guiding document that allows L.A. Metro to standardize its approach to building community relationships and working with grassroots community organizations.
“Angelenos depend on L.A. Metro as their primary mode of transportation, which is why we must ensure that our planning, engagement and decisions are equitable for all of our customers as we expand our transit system,” said L.A. County Supervisor and L.A. Metro Board Member Hilda Solis. “To that end, we must be attentive to the concerns of our customers—regardless of where they live, work or recreate.”
Metro’s CBO strategy has been used successfully on the Vermont Transit Corridor Project, which is now studying the possible implementation of a rail line along Vermont Boulevard from Hollywood to south Los Angeles that would connect four active L.A. Metro Rail lines.
The Vermont Transit Corridor Project held focus groups, engaged riders at bus stops, hosted and participated in community and school events, provided briefings, organized community listening sessions and partnered with 20 CBO partners during 32 community conversation events. The CBOs that partnered with L.A. Metro provide services to stakeholders who traditionally do not engage with the agency’s transportation planning projects.
A similar approach is being used for the Long Beach-East L.A. Corridor Investment Plan. L.A. Metro worked with 15 CBO partners, including the Long Beach Negro Council of Women, Families in Good Health, Teamsters Local 848, Avance Latino and Salvation Army, along with other organizations in the corridor. A CBO administrator will be selected to support the partnerships between the communities and L.A. Metro due to the number of stakeholders and cities within the corridor. The investment plan seeks to provide safe, multimodal options to move people and goods while creating healthy, zero-emission, sustainable and equitable solutions for residents in the cities along the corridor.
“This platform will help L.A. Metro address the inequities of the past that continue to have an impact today and guarantee transportation investments are prioritized by communities with the highest need,” said L.A. County Supervisor and L.A. Metro Board Member Holly J. Mitchell. “Our goal through this work is to ensure the voices of our customers are heard, no matter their socioeconomic status, ethnic background or where they reside in the county.”
Other equity initiatives
“It’s imperative L.A. Metro continue to lead with equity in its projects, programs and service delivery,” said L.A. Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins. “Our Equity Platform contains important tools, like our CBO Partnering Strategy, that we use to identify and remove barriers faced by our customers no matter where they live in Los Angeles County.”