Blog

Forward Motion, April 2021

2021 Mobility 21 Virtual Summit

This year’s Mobility 21 Virtual Summit will be held over two days – Thursday, Sept. 30 – Friday, Oct. 1 from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM each day. We are pleased to provide our 2021 Summit attendees with a custom virtual conference and expo hall experience, featuring a virtual business card exchange, expo booth video chat, video chatrooms with agency leaders, hidden “Easter eggs” throughout the conference for chances to win prizes, and more!

Virtual Summit Highlights:

  • Full educational content with broadcasts of 3 General Sessions and 8 Breakout Sessions
  • 3D Virtual Expo with special prizes
  • Opportunities for Virtual Networking
  • Mailed to you before the Summit:*
    • Summit Bento Box with curated conference info, snacks and mementos to match program highlights
    • Conference bag with promo items and printed event program

*Depending on ticket eligibility

Registration:
Early Bird: $210 (until Aug. 13)
Student/Military Personnel: $165
Late registration is $325 after Aug. 13. Don’t delay!



Mobility 21 Advisory Board Member Spotlight:
Jim McCluskie
Vice President
Moffatt & Nichol

James (Jim) McCluskie is a transportation professional with more than 30 years of engineering management and project oversight experience. As Moffatt & Nichol’s Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, Jim is a key driver in expanding Moffatt & Nichol’s transportation capabilities to keep pace with client visioning in the 21st century marketplace.

He also serves as Project Executive for the $1.9 billion I-405 Improvement Project and as vice president for the project’s joint venture design team, Pacific Infrastructure 405 Designers.

As an active member of the Southern California business community, Jim is currently a member-at-large for the Chamber’s 2020-2021 Officers and Leadership Cabinet.

Throughout his career, Jim has actively worked on major transportation projects through design-build, public-private partnerships (P3) and design-build-finance-operate procurement methods, bringing value through his strategic management skills in long-range planning and programming.

Moffatt & Nichol’s transportation practice provides planning, design, economic, and strategic advisory services to transportation clients in North and South America, and to global supply chain clients worldwide.


Mobility 21 Advisory Board Member Spotlight:
Jason McLear
Vice President, Construction Western Region
Lane Construction Corporation

Jason began his career as a Job Engineer in 1992 on Lane’s taxiway project at the Pittsburgh International Airport. In his 29 years with Lane, he has steadily worked his way up to his current position of Vice President of Construction for the Western Region of the USA. As Area Vice President, he is responsible for Lane’s I-10 Express Lanes project in San Bernardino County, California and the I-405 Express Lanes project from Renton to Bellevue in Seattle, WA.

Between August 2018 to January 2021, Jason was the Project Director on the I-10 Express Lanes project for SBCTA in Southern California. Before this project he was the Project Director on Lane’s SH360 Toll Lanes project in Tarrant County, Texas.

Jason’s career path from Job Engineer, to Project Engineer to Project Manager took him to projects in Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, North Carolina, and Texas before his assignment in Southern California.

Jason received his BS in Civil Engineering from Clarkson University in 1992. He is also a past president of ASCE’s Construction Institute.


Summit Platinum Sponsor Spotlight:
AECOM

Help Deliver the Future of Transportation in California

Perhaps the key challenge to improving our transportation system is developing a workforce that can renovate aging infrastructure and implement innovative and sustainable new approaches to reducing gridlock and truly improving mobility for all.

At AECOM, hiring, training, mentoring, and providing career development opportunities for a capable and diverse workforce is the key to improving transportation in our state. As the world’s premier infrastructure firm – 48,000 strong across seven continents – we hire the best talent in the industry, offering dynamic and fulfilling careers for experienced professionals, skilled tradespeople, military veterans and recent graduates. We’re planners, designers, engineers, consultants and construction managers who partner with our clients to solve some of the world’s most complex challenges. We’re passionate about delivering a better world. AECOM workforce development efforts include:

PROFESSIONALS: The lives of professionals are constantly evolving, building on experience and taking on new challenges. AECOM seeks to provide the opportunities and flexibility to create a career of your own.

CRAFT/TRADE: A craft or trade can take you anywhere, and when you join a global company, you have unlimited opportunity to grow and excel.

MILITARY/VETERANS: Passionate people ready to make an impact with the training, experience and perspective gained through military service bring invaluable skills and experience.

EARLY CAREERS/GRADUATES: Working side-by-side with the industry’s best thinkers and creators can help you turn your education into limitless career potential.


Summit Platinum Sponsor Spotlight:
A
uto Club of Southern California (AAA)

Auto Club Promotes Bicycle Safety Month with Free Educational Events

The Auto Club of Southern California is proud to recognize National Bicycle Safety Month in May. To promote safe cycling, the Auto Club is partnering with local bicycle and traffic safety advocates to host four virtual and free public bicycle safety workshops throughout the month. The focus is on providing e-bike and bicycle safety information for new and prospective cyclists, as well tips and best practices for motorists interested in learning more about safely driving near bicycles.

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, Burbank Transportation Management Organization, and city of Oceanside, as well as several state legislative district offices, are partnering to present the workshops in Los Angeles on May 13, Orange on May 15, San Diego on May 19 and Kern on May 26. To sign up for any one of the free virtual sessions, click on the above links. All participants will receive a free resource kit.

In addition, the Auto Club is presenting a special virtual workshop for its 14,000 employees, in 21 states, to encourage safe bicycling for commuting and exercising, and partnering with bicycle component manufacturer Full Speed Ahead to offer a special discount to employees during Bicycle Safety Month.


Summit Platinum Sponsor Spotlight:
HDR

HDR and iyai+ Continue Investing in Future Generations of Infrastructure Leaders

HDR joins Introducing Youth to American Infrastructure (Iyai+) and San Bernardino Valley College (SBVC) to educate and motivate students to be tomorrow’s infrastructure workforce with emphasis on participation of young women and communities of color. This virtual summer program is open to all San Bernardino County High Schools. Upon completion, students earn the College’s “Job Skills Readiness Certificate” preparing them to enter college or the workforce.

The Iyai “+” represents desired values and outcomes of equity and inclusion, resilience, sustainability, safety, and security. The theme is “We Make Normal Happen: Introducing the Critical Infrastructure Sectors…”. Students who complete the program can apply for two paid internships for the 2021-22 academic year. The Iyai+ Community-Builder Internships are in recognition of the late Dr. Juanita Jones- Abernathy, a national civil rights icon and founding Iyai+ Board member; and sponsored by HDR.

Iyai+ was founded three years ago by Dr. Beverly Scott ….“Our unique, multi-sectoral programming would not be possible without the robust participation by local and national public sector agencies, private firms and non-profits, such as Caltrans, HDR, Metrolink, Omnitrans, and WTS.”

HDR is proud to sponsor Iyai+ and the SBVC infrastructure workforce program. Want to get involved?

Visit www.iyai.org


Metro Transit App Now Displays COVID-19 Vaccination Locations

Thanks to a collaboration with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Metro’s official app, Transit, is now displaying locations across L.A. County where residents and workers age 16 and older can get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Metro riders open Transit every day to track their bus or train. Now riders will also see yellow pins in the app showing where they can get vaccinated, including at local pharmacies, thanks to regularly-updated information directly from Public Health. Riders can tap on the yellow pins in Transit to make a vaccination appointment through the official Public Health website and get transit directions to their vaccination location.

As a reminder, face masks are required when riding Metro, and Metro has installed mask dispensers on our buses, trains and in rail stations for those who need one. Even if you have been vaccinated, please continue to wear a mask to protect yourself and others.


The Orange County Transportation Authority’s many efforts toward protecting the environment are highlighted in a new webpage that shows all the agency is doing to be responsible stewards of what makes Orange County such a special place. Photo courtesy of OCTA.

New Website Highlights OCTA’s Commitment to Keep Orange County Moving Toward a Cleaner, Greener, Healthier Future 

Whether moving toward a zero-emission bus fleet, providing vanpools to reduce vehicle miles traveled, or directly protecting open spaces, OC’s transportation agency celebrates Earth Day every day.

The Orange County Transportation Authority has launched a new webpage that outlines the agency’s ongoing commitment to a balanced, equitable and sustainable transportation network.
While the launch coincided with Earth Day on April 22, OCTA’s commitment to a culture of sustainability and safeguarding Orange County’s air, land and water is a full-time effort that prioritizes protecting the environment for generations to come.

“From our zero-emission bus program to funding local projects that protect water quality, habitat and wildlife, OCTA always focuses on two important goals,” said OCTA Chairman Andrew Do, also the county’s First District Supervisor. “We work to keep Orange County moving safely and efficiently, and also protect and preserve the environment that makes this such a special place to live.”

The new site, www.octa.net/green, outlines how OCTA focuses on multiple aspects of the environment as the agency works to enhance public transportation, improve freeways and streets, and collaborate with regional and state partners to create a greener, more sustainable future.

Some of those efforts include:

  • Preserving and conserving land and water
    • OCTA has purchased 1,300 acres of open space from willing sellers in Orange County’s foothills and along the coast to permanently preserve important plant and animal species. The land preservation has helped offset the effects of widening and improving freeways.
    • More than $10 million has been allocated to restore some 350 acres of open-space land to its natural state, helping native plant and animal species thrive.
    • Competitive grant funding to cities has helped capture transportation-related pollution before it reaches waterways. More than 33 million gallons of trash have been captured, helping keep local waterways and the ocean cleaner and safer for wildlife and people.
  • Green Bus Transit
    • The OC Bus fleet runs on clean, renewable energy now and is headed toward a 100 percent zero-emission future to bring even cleaner air to Orange County.
    • OCTA is conducting a zero-emission bus pilot program, testing 10 fuel-cell electric and 10 plug-in electric buses.
    • In 2020, OCTA debuted the largest hydrogen fueling station for transit in the nation.
    • That same year, 40 transit support vehicles were replaced with zero-emission electric vehicles.
  • Clean Travel Modes
    • The OC Flex microtransit option is a pilot program that debuted in 2018 to help remove cars from the road and reduce air pollution.
    • OCTA has awarded more than $140 million for active transportation programs that encourage walking, bicycling and other healthy travel options that lead to even cleaner air.
    • In Orange County, OCTA supports Metrolink commuter rail, which reduces vehicle miles traveled by more than 339 million miles systemwide.
  • Cleaner Journeys on Freeways & Sustainable Streets
    • OCTA has led the synchronization of more than 3,000 traffic signals, ensuring that drivers along those streets hit more green lights and spend less time idling in traffic, resulting in fewer emissions and greenhouse gases.
    • Cleaner air has also been made possible through a strong vanpool program that encourages employees to share the ride.
    • OCTA, which oversees the 91 Express Lanes in Orange County, pioneered congestion management pricing, leading to more efficient travel and less congestion.
    • OCTA helped establish one of the most extensive HOV-lane connector networks in the state with carpool lanes on nearly all of the non-tolled freeways in Orange County.

OCTA also works with partners to study the effects of climate change and with members of the community to ensure the agency continues to plan for the future.

“When Orange County voters overwhelming renewed our local sales tax measure 15 years ago, one thing we clearly heard was that in addition to improving transportation, we needed to be responsible stewards of our environment,” said OCTA CEO Darrell E. Johnson. “I’m proud to say that we continue to fulfill that promise for a cleaner, healthier future.”

Visitors to the website are encouraged to explore OCTA’s environmental efforts at their own pace and click on additional links to discover more information about each of the programs.

Those who take a brief quiz are entered for a chance to win a $100 gift card. The quiz can be found on the website through April 30 or by clicking here.


West Valley Connector to Receive $86.75 Million in Federal Funding

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is allocating $86.75 million in funding to the West Valley Connector, a 100% zero-emission Bus Rapid Transit system that will link Ontario International Airport, two Metrolink lines and multiple activity centers from Pomona to Rancho Cucamonga.

The funding is through the FTA’s Capital Investment Grants (CIG) Small Starts program and will cover one-third of the Connector’s estimated $262.67 million Phase One capital cost.

The 19-mile Bus Rapid Transit system is a key element of an emerging state-of-the-art transit network between San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties. Other projects include the Redlands Passenger Rail/Arrow System, which eventually will feature the first zero-emission passenger train in North America; a proposed tunnel connecting Metrolink to ONT; and a proposed high-speed rail line from Las Vegas to the Rancho Cucamonga Metrolink station.

“We’re so grateful to Sen. Feinstein and Secretary Buttigieg, as well as Congressional Members Pete Aguilar (CA 31) and Norma Torres (CA 35), for their support in securing funding for the West Valley Connector. In addition to the ONT Loop, the Arrow line and the proposed Vegas rail project, the Connector will play an important role in one of the most dynamic transit stories in the United States,” said Frank J. Navarro, President of the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA), which is overseeing development of the project.

“I’d like to thank Transportation Secretary Buttigieg and the FTA for this grant that will continue the much-needed process of improving transit options in San Bernardino,” Feinstein said in a released statement. “Providing fast, frequent bus service that connects the Ontario airport, key business hubs and communities throughout the region will improve quality of life and provide business growth and job creation opportunities throughout the region. These are zero-emission buses that operate these routes, so we’re not only moving people throughout the region quicker, we’re doing so in an environmentally conscious way. I hope to see more smart investments like this as we continue to improve and modernize our nation’s infrastructure under the Biden administration.”

Said David Avila, Chairman of the Omnitrans Board of Directors: “We’re excited about expanding our network of Bus Rapid Transit options and look forward to operating this innovative service for the residents of San Bernardino County.”

The $86.75 million targeted to the West Valley Connector represents the largest award among four that were announced Monday for Bus Rapid Transit projects in California, Utah and Washington State.

The West Valley Connector will operate as part of Omnitrans’ sbX BRT service. The project includes the purchase of 40-foot zero-emission buses and construction of 21 new bus stations. Connections will include the Rancho Cucamonga station, part of Metrolink’s heavily-traveled San Bernardino Line, Metrolink’s Riverside Line in Downtown Pomona, along with major destinations such as ONT, the Ontario Convention Center, Ontario Mills and Victoria Gardens.

Phase One of the project will include an upgrade of a portion of existing Route 61, which runs along Holt Boulevard, adding approximately 3.5 miles of a center-running dedicated bus-only lanes.

Start of construction is anticipated in 2022.

For more on the West Valley Connector, please visit: https://www.gosbcta.com/project/west-valley-connector-brt/


Historic Traffic Relief Project is Coming to the Valley and Westside

On March 25, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) voted to embark on a Preliminary Development Agreement (PDA) with two teams competing to build a rapid transit system from the San Fernando Valley to the Westside and potentially to LAX and the South Bay.

This novel and innovative PDA approach toward potentially entering into a Public-Private Partnership will bring together funding from both the private and public sectors to ultimately pay for and construct one of the biggest and most ambitious construction projects ever undertaken in the United States. The Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor Project will at long last bring commuting and travel relief to the most impacted roadways in the world—the 405 Freeway and the residents along this 19-mile corridor.

As Metro CEO Phil Washington noted, “As we work diligently to create a world-class transportation system here in the Los Angeles region, we will also be creating a new market for infrastructure innovation that can potentially help us build the most challenging project Metro has ever built.”

The two teams competing for the project bring different technologies to what essentially will be an intense transit competition over the next couple of years with the most extensive community outreach and engagement effort ever undertaken by Metro. The best technological, financial, sustainable and accountable proposal will emerge at the end of this period and then design and construction will commence with an estimated project delivery date of 2028 to the Westside and 2030 if it is extended to LAX and the South Bay, per the monorail proposal.

One team, the LA SkyRail Express (LASRE), is comprised of John Laing, BYD, HDR, Gensler, Innova and Skanska is proposing an electric, automated monorail system from the Valley to the Westside, and offered an extension to LAX, as well as a proposed direct connection to UCLA. The line would run along the median of the 405 and stations would be off the freeway but near key commercial and cultural centers. Total cost is estimated at $6.1 billion for the Valley to Westside, and still under the Measure M budget of $9.5 billion for the entire corridor from the Valley to LAX.

It was interesting to hear comments about monorail at the last few MTA meetings and in the media. In researching current monorail systems in operations, according to the International Monorail Association, 42 cities around the world have urban monorail systems totaling 269 miles and over 400 stations and several are being designed and built in several countries including Salvador and São Paulo Brazil, Cairo, and Bangkok.

The second team, Sepulveda Transit Corridor Partners is headed by Bechtel Corporation, Meridiam and American Triple I Partners. Their plan is to build a heavy rail system with tunneling 60% of the alignment and elevated guideway 40% of the alignment, from the Valley to Westwood at a projected cost of $10.8 billion.

Both teams have significant transportation and transit experience here and around the world and promise fast and user-friendly rides with both access and fare equity for a diverse ridership along the route.

The Rebuild SoCal Partnership, an organization of 2,750 contractors and 90,000 union workers, stands ready to help build the selected project and in doing so, seeing thousands of jobs created. We were proud to support MTA’s Measures R and M as well as SB 1 for transit and infrastructure funding. Our members have been leaders in building many of the region’s road, rail, bus, aviation and water projects for over 100 years.

But we also see huge opportunities for scores of young apprentices, minority subcontractors, disadvantaged business enterprises, women-owned businesses and veterans to contribute to this landmark project. We are encouraged to see the significant DBE commitment made by both teams for the PDA phase, and look forward to continued commitment throughout the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the system.

This is a unique and complex undertaking with underground earthquake faults, utilities, ground water storage and supply and geotechnical challenges facing the ultimate winner of this two-team competition. But that’s what is so novel about MTA’s approach and will prove beneficial to commuters along the 405.

We watched the last MTA Board meeting where this project was discussed ahead of the final vote in March. Clearly, there will be debate about alignment, additional funding sources, station locations, the best way to connect to UCLA and commercial centers and life cycle costs. And this is where the public input throughout the process will greatly impact the choice of one team to finance, design, build, operate and maintain the regional transit system that will dramatically improve the region’s congested commute.

MTA Board member and City Councilman Paul Krekorian who represents the Valley was absolutely correct in his comments at the recent board meeting that the Valley cannot be shortchanged in this process and with the final project design. That is exactly what the PDA process selected by MTA will ensure!

Once we are post-COVID (and, hopefully, that day will come soon), we know the gridlock, lost hours, driver frustrations and bad air quality will return to the 405. So, let’s keep this project on track and moving as fast as these two teams and the MTA are promising LA.


Transportation Corridor Agencies Win Coveted
Engineering Award for Oso Parkway Bridge Project

The Transportation Corridor Agencies’ (TCA) Oso Parkway Bridge Project was recognized by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Orange County Branch as Outstanding Bridge Project of the Year at a virtual ceremony in March.

The project, which celebrated its grand opening in January, enhances mobility for South Orange County residents and commuters by connecting the 241 Toll Road and Los Patrones Parkway. A new sidewalk and dedicated bike lanes improve safety for students and families traveling to Tesoro High School. Additionally, businesses in cities such as Rancho Santa Margarita, Mission Viejo, Rancho Mission Viejo, San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente benefit from increased connectivity provided by the roadway.

The project is the culmination of a dynamic partnership between the Transportation Corridor Agencies, which funded the nearly $40 million project; OC Public Works, which oversaw construction; and Caltrans, which owns the 241 Toll Road. This project, which enhances mobility throughout the region, was funded by TCA with zero taxpayer dollars and zero new debt.

The American Society of Civil Engineers Orange County Branch is part of a global civil engineering community. The local branch is the fourth largest in the organization, with over 2,500 members in Orange County. Every year, the ASCE branch invites nominations for project and individual awards that recognize civil engineering projects and professionals for their achievements, according to the organization’s website.

To view the virtual grand opening, which includes a unique virtual ribbon-toss ceremony that garnered a record-setting number of views for The Toll Roads, visit YouTube.com/TheTollRoadsOC. For more information on the project, including a fact sheet, photos, map and timeline, visit https://thetollroads.com/oso-parkway-bridge-grand-opening.


15 Express Lanes open April 10 in Riverside County

Drivers have a new travel option with the opening of the Riverside County Transportation Commission’s 15 Express Lanes on April 10.

The new tolled roadway includes two lanes in each direction in the median of Interstate 15 and will extend 15 miles between Route 60 in Eastvale/Jurupa Valley and Route 91 in Corona. Multiple entry and exit points are available within the 15 Express Lanes, including at least one in each city along the corridor.

“RCTC is excited to open these new lanes to provide another way to get to work, school, or recreational destinations,” said RCTC Chair and Palm Desert Mayor Pro Tem Jan Harnik. “We know that time is precious, and the express lanes offer convenience and reliable trip times for drivers,” she said.

To use the lanes, drivers must have a properly mounted FasTrak® transponder in their vehicle, linked to a prepaid account. New customers may open an account at riversideexpress.com or by calling 855-951-1500. A FasTrak® transponder issued by any California toll agency will be accepted in the 15 Express Lanes. Drivers pay the rate displayed for each travel segment when they enter the lanes. Rates adjust to real-time traffic conditions to help maintain free-flowing travel conditions.

Carpools of three or more per vehicle with an active account and a FasTrak® Flex (switchable) transponder pay a 50% discounted rate or ride for free for a limited time. Motorcyclists also ride at no charge, and drivers of zero-emission vehicles receive a 15% discount.

RCTC began construction of the $472 million project in April 2018. In addition to the new lanes, the project widened 11 bridges and added six sound walls. Funding was provided by Measure A, the voter-approved half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements in Riverside County, and federal sources. Toll revenue will be used to repay a $152 million federal transportation infrastructure loan and to operate and maintain the lanes. During design and construction, 3,300 jobs were created.

RCTC is monitoring traffic conditions and making adjustments to ensure smooth operations, with a close eye on traffic flow along southbound I-15 through south Corona and into Temescal Valley, which currently experiences daily bottlenecks during afternoon peak commute times. In this area, I-15 narrows to three lanes at Cajalco Road when traveling south. Environmental and engineering studies are under way now to accelerate the 15 Corridor Operations Project, which will add a non-tolled lane on southbound I-15 from the Cajalco Road on-ramp to the Weirick Road off-ramp. Construction could start in 2023 and the new lane may open in late 2024.

Construction also began in April on the 15/91 Express Lanes Connector, which will link the eastbound 91 Express Lanes to the northbound 15 Express Lanes and link the southbound 15 Express Lanes to the westbound 91 Express Lanes. The connector is expected to open in 2023.


SANDAG Digital Equity and Smart Cities Workshop

Striving for Digital Equity in the San Diego Region
The internet has become critical to our lives and livelihood, and access to high-speed broadband service is essential to modern life. The global pandemic brought to light the severe impacts of the digital divide on our unconnected and under-connected residents who do not have the same educational, economic, and social opportunities as -connected residents.

The digital divide is the growing gap between the members of society who have reliable access to broadband service and an adequate device for connecting to the internet and those who do not – mainly people with limited incomes, seniors, tribal communities, and people in rural areas.

SANDAG’s 2021 Regional Plan relies on reliable, high quality broadband connections to make a transportation system that is faster, fairer, and cleaner. Closing the digital divide and bringing connectivity to the region also promotes economic development, sustainability, and a better quality of life.

To close the digital divide, SANDAG is developing a Digital Equity Strategy and Action Plan. In January, the SANDAG Board of Directors – elected officials from each of the San Diego region’s 19 local governments – adopted a resolutioncommitting to end the digital divide. Since then, SANDAG has formed a Regional Digital Divide Taskforce, which brings together a wide range of stakeholders from the public and private sector to work collaboratively on real solutions that can be implemented in the near term.

On April 22, SANDAG hosted a virtual workshop focused on how local governments can take action to work toward digital equity and implement smart city initiatives. More than 100 people from nonprofit organizations and government agencies from all over the region joined the workshop to explore data, learn from a panel of cities that are implementing solutions, and discuss strategies for expanding high-quality broadband to everyone in the region.

Closing the digital divide is essential to our future and is an increasing priority for state and federal agencies. It is critical we act now to ensure that our residents have access to high quality broadband.

View a recording of the workshop to learn more.

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