Mobility Hubs in Los Angeles: Emerging Nodes of Transportation

So, we know mobility is an important part of our lives that allows us to participate in different activities and we know a hub refers to a center for an activity but is a “mobility hub” a thing? The idea of a mobility hub comes from a vision for a sustainable transportation system that offers seamless connectivity and integration between various modes of transport, all through a single platform. There are two components that differentiate a mobility hub from other transportation services: (1) they serve the “first/last mile trip” from transit and (2) demand-based services are offered through an information technology platform.

Mobility through Connectivity

Mobility hubs, typically located at major transit stations, are designed to provide “on-demand” transportation through first/last mile transportation solutions. They are strategic locations where people using one mode or service can use another service to reach their final destination to both easily and conveniently. Mobility hubs are not only an extension of local transit service and infrastructure networks for walking and bicycling, but also a venue to access carshare services!

Perhaps as exciting as the availability of these mobility options, is that mobility hubs also offer a host of other amenities that solve the first/last mile challenge. These can include electric vehicle charging stations, bicycle repair stations, secure bicycle storage facilities, like El Monte’s new “Bike Hub, transit hubs, ridesharing services, personal lockers, electronic signage of real-time arrival times, and departure transit information.

It can be easy bein’ green! We’re excited for mobility hub amenities, like Metro’s really green El Monte Bike Hub, a secure bike parking room, to come to LA. Next up: Hollywood/Vine Bike Hub!

In addition to the first/last mile services, mobility hubs integrate recent technology innovations to allow you to use all these mobility hub amenities and services through a single application. Just like tweeting or submitting a 311 request, you should be able to reserve and/or pay for the services from your phone. A mobility hub can allow you to, for example, reserve a carshare vehicle through a mobile app on your phone or on your computer via an online portal while riding the bus, hop off the bus at a transit station, and immediately hop into your reserved vehicle. Just like many of the other apps and digital products available today, mobility hubs take advantage of quick and easy payment schemes to provide seamless connectivity. Who can’t get behind that?

Integrated Mobility Hubs Project in Los Angeles

By this time next year, Los Angeles will join the ranks of more than 600 cities around the world with a bikeshare system! On June 25th, the Metro Board offered their stamp of approval  for both the LA County Bikeshare Plan and a bikeshare vendor (Bicycle Transit Systems, Inc.) Shortly thereafter, the Los Angeles City Council voted on August 28th to partner with Metro in launching a pilot bikeshare program in Los Angeles, which will take place in mid-2016 with up to 1,000 bikes and 80 stations in Downtown L.A.

This decision is momentous! Bikeshare is a critical component of a larger initiative taking place in the Los Angeles Metropolitan region, the Integrated Mobility Hubs Project.

In September 2010, the City of Los Angeles and Long Beach were awarded $8.35 million by the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) program, administered the Metro, to implement a regional Integrated Mobility Hubs Project.

The Project creates new options for first-and last-mile multi-modal mobility, including:

  • 13 new integrated mobility hubs at major transit stations in Los Angeles County (5 in Hollywood, 5 in Downtown Los Angeles, and 3 in Long Beach)
  • Secure bike parking, bikesharing, and carsharing at each integrated mobility hub
  • 85 satellite hubs in Hollywood, Downtown LA, and Long Beach with bikeshare and secured bicycle parking kiosks to surround the hubs with a network of bicycle dock stations
  • Mobility Hubs Portal integrating trip planning information, reservation access, and pricing through the web, mobile app, phone number and kiosk
  • Expanded transit routes and service hours to link students to educational facilities and workers to employment centers

Other hub services may include:

  • Guaranteed ride home
  • Integrated/combined transit pass with mobility hub service
  • Online usage reporting with basic reporting tools including driver logs, vehicle trip counting, etc.
  • Mobility Hub Retail Discount Card

An important goal of the Project is to enhance welfare recipients and low-income individuals’ access to employment opportunities, job training, community colleges, and other educational centers throughout Los Angeles. Thanks to JARC funding, the Project will offer vouchers for reduced membership fees to Mobility Hub services and amenities based on income eligibility.

This past month, the City of Los Angeles and Long Beach, in collaboration with Metro and CH2M HILL, developed an Operating Plan to make this Project a reality. The Operating Plan describes Mobility Hub locations in Hollywood, Downtown LA, and Long Beach and their amenities, as well as detailed capital and operating costs associated with implementation. Planned Mobility Hubs in Downtown LA have already garnered support and prime real estate. In a recent agreement with the developer of the Wilshire Grand Center, set to open two blocks from Metro’s 7th/Metro Center Station in 2017, the City of Los Angeles will occupy 600 square feet of space in the completed tower and receive $500,000 to cover Mobility Hub operating costs.

Mobility hubs provide access to convenient travel in places as dense yet sprawling as Los Angeles by packaging existing transit and mobility options, first/last mile solutions, and real time information so that they are easy to understand and payment is efficient. As the region moves forward with rail, bikeshare, bike hubs, and car sharing, pieces of the larger puzzle are coming together before our eyes!

The LADOT Bike Blog would like to thank Tomas Carranza, Senior Transportation Engineer in Development Review Section, for his time and expertise in collaborating on this piece.

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