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Forward Motion, April 2022

Click here to watch our save the date video!


2022 Mobility 21 Summit Registration Now Open!

Early bird registration is now open for the Mobility 21 Summit — California’s largest one-day transportation conference and expo on Friday, Aug. 19 at the Disneyland Hotel. “Future Forward,” the theme of this year’s Summit, promises to bring together more than 1,000 transportation stakeholders, industry leaders and elected officials.

Registration includes access to top industry decision-makers and elected leaders, three general sessions, a choice of eight breakout sessions and a dynamic expo hall with more than 100 exhibitors. General registration includes breakfast buffet, seated luncheon and a $50 Disney voucher available for pick-up by attendee at 4:00 PM. Click here to book your hotel room!

Are you still thinking about sponsoring the Summit? It’s not too late! Help support Southern California’s transportation future while getting the best access, visibility and value for your marketing dollar. Click here to learn more or contact Kristin Slocum to sign up today.



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

James (Jim) McCluskie is an infrastructure 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 ability to serve clients in the 21st century marketplace, including the all-important movement of goods in our seaports, on our highways and railways, and through the rapidly evolving technologies that support our supply chains.

Jim also serves as Project Executive for the $1.9 billion I-405 Improvement Project and oversees a regional staff of more than 220 professionals in five Southern California offices.

As an active member of the Southern California business community, Jim is currently a member-at-large for the Chamber’s Officers and Leadership Cabinet, to which he was nominated for a 3-year term ending June 30, 2025.

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

Moffatt & Nichol provides planning, design, economic, optimization, and strategic advisory services to infrastructure clients in North and South America, and to global supply chain clients worldwide.


Mobility 21 Advisory Board Member Spotlight:
Eric C. Shen
Director of Capital Projects/Chief Engineer
Alameda Corridor-East Project

Eric Shen is Director of Capital Projects, Chief Engineer representing the Alameda Corridor-East (ACE) Project for the San Gabriel Valley of Governments and is responsible for implementing a wide spectrum of capital projects. Shen administers five on-going freight rail-highway grade separations and two at-grade safety improvements under the ACE Project, with nearly $1-billion in total project costs. In partnership with Los Angeles County Metro and Caltrans, Shen oversees the construction of the State Route 57/60 Confluence Chokepoint Relief Project, a $420 million improvement to the second-highest truck accident location in Southern California and the 7th-most congested truck chokepoint in the United States. Shen is also the Principal-in-Charge for the San Gabriel Valley Transit Feasibility and the Vehicle-Miles-Travel (VMT) Regional Mitigation Fee studies.

Previously, Shen served as Director of Mid-Pacific Gateway, Maritime Administration (MARAD) of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). Shen’s Area of Responsibility encompassed 16 seaport authorities and 25 commercial deep-water and river ports in five Western States and three U.S. territories. Shen’s professional tenures also include having been the Port of Long Beach’s Director of Transportation Planning, the City of Pasadena’s Transportation Planning & Development Manager/Principal Engineer, and a consultant specialized in Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) integration and multimodal planning.

Shen is known for his collaborative and progressive leadership style. Shen previously represented the Port of Long Beach as an Advisory Board Member to Mobility 21. Appointed by the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences, Shen served on the Technical Activities Council (TAC) and chaired the Marine Group and the Ports & Channels Committee. Currently Shen is an At-Large WTS-LA Board Director. He is the recipient of the WTS-LA Honorable Secretary Ray LaHood Award and the Educator of Year by the Orange County Engineering Council.

Shen is a registered Professional Engineer in Alabama and California (Civil), a Professional Transportation Planner (PTP), and a Certified Port Executive (CPE). Appointed by the University of Southern California (USC) as Adjunct Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Practice, Eric teaches courses in the Viterbi School of Engineering and the Sol Price School of Public Policy. Eric received a BSCE with honors and a MSCE from University of California, Irvine.


Summit Platinum Sponsor Spotlight:
AECOM

At AECOM, we believe infrastructure has the power to create opportunities for generations to come. It’s time for our industry to build better infrastructure for a more sustainable and equitable future. We’re listening to clients and the communities we serve to improve lives and livelihoods, and to create sustainable legacies for generations to come.

This is already starting to happen. In Los Angeles, a 15.2-mile Exposition Line extending from downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica is connecting underserved communities and people to job-rich centers on the west side.  In San Bernardino County, the 9-mile Redlands Passenger Rail Project is an advanced regional transportation project designed to connect residents, businesses and visitors to a variety of leisure, education, healthcare and other destinations.

AECOM brings to each project a complete, diverse, and interdisciplinary team of experts to holistically analyze potential environmental and social consequences, actively engage all stakeholders, and ensure the project’s effects to equity communities are fully integrated into the planning process, resulting in maximum positive effects.

AECOM draws upon our global network of 47,000 professionals to bring our clients globally tested innovations, including digital equity analytical tools. We’re one team driven by a common purpose to deliver a better world by helping our clients plan and build smart, resilient projects that uplift communities, improve access and sustain our planet.


On the move in Southern California

In Los Angeles, we’re the prime designer for LA Metro’s Regional Connector, linking up light rail lines across the city.

In San Bernardino County, we’re helping create an innovative zero emissions passenger rail vehicle.

From highways and bridges to subways, rail lines, and airports, Mott MacDonald is at the forefront of transportation planning and infrastructure — in Southern California and around the world.

We’re committed to designing the smart cities of the future. Combining engineering knowhow with asset management and digital technologies, we achieve efficiency, realize value, and deliver better outcomes for our clients.

Mott MacDonald (www.mottmac.com) is a $2 billion global management, engineering, and development firm. Our 16,000 employees and more than 180 offices serve clients in 150 countries worldwide.


Summit Platinum Sponsor Spotlight:
Parsons

Parsons helps communities around the world move people and goods safely and efficiently. Our professionals use the latest technologies – including augmented and virtual reality, XD modeling, and drones – to deliver complex roads, bridges, tunnels, highways, and transit solutions. When facing their toughest mobility challenges, our clients turn to Parsons for functional, dependable solutions that their communities can rely on.

We are leaders in the digital enablement of traditional transportation infrastructure. By integrating new technologies – like intelligent transportation solutions – with legacy infrastructure – such as replacing highway toll booths with all-electronic tolling systems, we improve traffic efficiency and save money for our clients.

We actively design, install, and integrate next-generation transit solutions, including large-scale broadband upgrades, bus and transit fleet electrification, rail and bus communications systems, transit vehicle autonomy, and analytics-driven back-office payment systems.

We’ve not only imagined the future of transportation – we’ve realized it. We have delivered complex transportation infrastructure that move customers over, under, around, or through their toughest challenges since 1944. We have the expertise and technology needed to get the job done.


Metro Celebrates Completion of Track Work for Regional Connector Project

Reaching a major construction milestone for the Regional Connector project, Metro has officially completed construction of all the track work, guideway systems and station platform areas for the Grand Av/Bunker Hill Station, paving the way for train and systems testing.

USA Civil West California District, Inc. and Traylor Brothers, Inc. will design and build the $1.8-billion Regional Connector that will connect the A (Blue), E (Expo) and L (Gold) Lines in downtown Los Angeles, saving Metro transit riders valuable time by eliminating transfers and giving them a one-seat ride through DTLA. The entire transit project is now 90 percent complete.

Metro’s contractor has been able to achieve one of the best safety record of all of Metro construction projects, with more than six million hours worked without any lost time due to injury or incident. This is a testament to all the dedicated men and women working on this project representing one of the best safety records in the construction field.

The Regional Connector will also add equitable access to new destinations such as Broadway Historic Core and the performing and Visual Arts venues of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Colburn School, MOCA and the Broad Museum.

Officials took a train ride to the Historic Broadway Station as part of Monday’s media event.

The Regional Connector Transit Project is a 1.9-mile underground light-rail extension that will connect the A Line (Blue), the E Line (Expo) and the L Line (Gold) in downtown Los Angeles and will include three new stations that include the Little Tokyo/Arts District Station at 1st Street/Central Avenue, the Historic Broadway Station at 2nd Street/Broadway and the Grand Av Arts/Bunker Hill Station at 2nd Place/Hope Street.

Once fully completed and operational, the project is expected to serve 88,000 riders daily – including 17,000 new riders – and save commuters up to 20 minutes by reducing the need to transfer for those riding to and through downtown L.A. The project will offer seamless North-South and East-West rail service — with one light rail running between Long Beach and Azusa and a second light rail line between Santa Monica and East Los Angeles. The two lines will share five DTLA stations where riders can easily transfer.

Construction of Metro’s Grand Av Arts/Bunker Hills Station has been a complex undertaking due to the depth of the station, which is approximately 100 feet below street level — the deepest rail station in the agency’s entire rail system. More than 33,000 cubic yards of steel and concrete have been used to construct the station. More than 90,000 cubic yards of soil was excavated to build the station.

With track and guideway work now completed, Metro has begun train and systems testing in preparation for revenue operations, which is anticipated this Fall. Workers will now be concentrating on finishing the station’s plaza concourse and ancillary levels, testing remaining HVAC and fire/life safety systems, and completing station artwork, elevator and escalator installations.

To mitigate noise and vibration impacts to the community’s preforming art institutions the Grand Avenue Arts/Bunker Hill Station uses a special type of floating slab track system. Here are a few more pics from today are below and an album of photos is here:

 

Station Art

Also featured at the Grand Av Arts/Bunker Hill station is new artwork at the concourse, designed by artist Pearl C. Hsiung, that towers over 60 feet— the tallest glass mosaic mural in the Metro system. Titled High Prismatic, the work recognizes the ever shifting and dynamic geological and cultural landscape of Bunker Hill. View the time lapse video of the mosaic dry-fit process completed by Metro Art prior to the mosaic installation. At the train platform, a new artwork on porcelain enamel steel designed by artist Mungo Thomson titled Negative Space, brings a stunning image of the cosmos, captured by the Hubble Telescope, underground.

Site-specific artworks commissioned by Metro Art are featured at each of the three new stations along the Regional Connector Transit Project. Artists Andrea Bowers, Audrey Chan, Mark Steven Greenfield, Pearl C. Hsiung, Clare Rojas, Mungo Thomson and Clarence Williams were selected through an open, competitive selection process following the recommendation of a panel of community-based arts professionals.  Learn more about these artworks and Metro Art at www.metro.net/art.

For more information on the Regional Connector Transit Project and construction updates, please visit to www.metro.net/regionalconnector.


OCTA’s pilot program will eventually include 10 plug-in buses to be tested along with hydrogen fuel-cell electric buses as part of push toward 100% zero-emission fleet.

OCTA Debuts First Plug-in Battery Electric Buses

While Earth Day provides a chance once a year to focus on environmental protection, the Orange County Transportation Authority remains committed at all times to protecting what makes the county such a special place to live and to keeping people moving with a balanced and sustainable transportation system.

The latest effort toward a greener Orange County is the introduction of the first two plug-in battery electric buses into the county’s fleet of OC Buses.

The two plug-in electric buses have begun operating on routes throughout various parts of the county, part of a pilot program of 10 plug-in electric buses that will be tested. The remaining eight buses are expected to be delivered later this year.

“This is another important step toward zero-emission transportation technology – one that will help bring even cleaner air quality to Orange County,” said OCTA Chairman Mark A. Murphy, also the Mayor of Orange. “This is a great opportunity for us to test the latest technologies to ensure we continue providing the highest level of safe, reliable transit.”

In 2020, OCTA also began operating 10 hydrogen fuel-cell electric buses. This new pilot will help determine which technology – or mix of technologies – will work best for Orange County moving forward.

The move is part of OCTA’s plan to convert the OC Bus fleet to 100% zero-emission technology by 2040.

The $10.4 million contract with New Flyer of America, Inc. was approved by the OCTA Board of Directors in 2020 for the 10 plug-in electric buses.

The buses may not be immediately distinguishable from other OC Buses to passengers, since they carry the familiar blue, white and orange branding. They are charged through a plug-in port either in the front or back of the bus and the batteries are not visible on board.

Similar to the hydrogen fuel-cell electric buses, they carry a logo that reads: “Zero Emission for a Healthy Community.”

OCTA is also working with Southern California Edison to install a new transformer and other infrastructure at OCTA’s Garden Grove base to enable charging of all 10 buses, with an option to expand if and when more plug-in buses are purchased.

OCTA has already gradually transitioned its fleet over the years, from diesel-burning buses to clean-burning renewable compressed natural gas (CNG) buses with near-zero-emission engines. The state has set a requirement to transition to complete zero-emission transit within the next 20 years.

Two years ago, OCTA approved a zero-emission bus (ZEB) rollout plan, which was submitted to the California Air Resources Board.

The plan is not a commitment to a specific type of technology. OCTA is testing both hydrogen fuel-cell electric buses and plug-in battery electric buses to determine which ZEBs best meet OCTA’s needs related to operations, maintenance and cost, among other factors.

The 10 plug-in electric buses are each the standard 40-foot length with capacity of up to 76 riders. The buses have an estimated range of 160 to 200 miles between charges, which will allow them to run for a full day and be charged nightly at the bus base.

When all 10 of the buses arrive, five are scheduled to run on a new Bravo! limited-stop route between Anaheim and South Coast Metro in Santa Ana. The other five will operate throughout Orange County.

The hydrogen fuel-cell buses, which also create no emissions, began operating in January 2020, when OCTA debuted its hydrogen fueling station in Santa Ana. In all, it represented a $22.9 million investment. More than half of that funding – $12.5 million – came from California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment – particularly in disadvantaged communities.

The plug-in buses are paid for by a mix of state funding, including through the Solutions for Congested Corridors (SCCP) and State of Good Repair (SGR) programs, and through the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP) administered by Caltrans.

OCTA operates more than 500 buses in the regular OC Bus system across Orange County. For now, most of those buses run on CNG with near-zero-emission engines but OCTA is working toward the goal of producing zero emissions.

OCTA will begin phasing in additional zero-emission buses as part of future bus purchases. At the same time, staff will continue to analyze emerging technologies and work with partners to secure funding for purchase, operations and maintenance of the buses.

The effort aligns with California’s Innovative Clean Transit Rule, a first-of-its kind regulation in the U.S. that sets a goal for public transit agencies to gradually transition to 100% zero-emission bus fleets by 2040. The Innovative Clean Transit Rule is part of the state’s comprehensive program helping to achieve California’s air quality and climate goals.

Photo attached: Two of 10 plug-in battery electric buses have began operating in Orange County as part of the Orange County Transportation Authority’s pilot program testing the latest zero-emission bus technologies.


Metrolink is First Passenger Rail Agency in the Nation Powered by Renewable Fuel

This month, Metrolink publicly shared its switch to renewable fuel, making the agency the first in the nation to completely power all its locomotives by the cleaner burning alternative.

“It’s a proud achievement to be the first rail agency in the nation to use renewable fuel to move people around southern California,” Metrolink Board Chair Ara Najarian said. “We are committed to continue working toward better air quality in our region and lessening our effect on climate change for the planet.”

To meet its aggressive climate targets, Metrolink launched a pilot program of renewable fuel in its locomotives in early 2021. The renewable product is made of recycled natural fats and vegetable oils. It contains no petroleum fossil fuels and thus burns cleaner reducing harmful pollutants and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions of carbon dioxide by up to 80 percent.

“This transition by Metrolink to using renewable fuel will help further reduce the air pollutants from our locomotives and improve the air quality for all the communities along our 538 miles of track,” said Metrolink Board Vice Chair Larry McCallon, who is also a member of the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s Governing Board. “It is certainly the right thing that we needed to do for the health of our children and our quality of life.”

Metrolink began powering 100 percent of all its locomotives with renewable fuel in February.

Metrolink shares this cleaner emissions milestone, as it continues to pursue zero-emissions technologies of hydrogen fuel cell and battery electric and regards renewable fuel as a bridge to zero-emissions. By reducing locomotive emissions, Metrolink is easing environmental impacts on climate change and improving air quality for all.


RCTC is seeking federal funding to extend the 15 Express Lanes 14.5 miles to Lake Elsinore to expand travel options, increase travel time reliability, and manage long-term traffic congestion spurred by increased goods movement and population growth.

RCTC Requests Federal Funding to Continue Coachella Valley Rail Development, Extend 15 Express Lanes to Lake Elsinore, and Build New Third Street Rail Crossing in Riverside

RCTC submitted requests this month for Community Project Funding through the U.S. House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee to help further planned transportation projects in the Coachella Valley and in western Riverside County.

The projects will expand transportation options and safety for both the county and the region.

Requests for $5 million each were made of Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Alex Padilla, and Representative Raul Ruiz for the Coachella Valley-San Gorgonio Rail Corridor Service Project.

Caltrans and RCTC are proposing daily passenger rail service between Los Angeles and the Coachella Valley. The project would transform southern California, creating economic opportunity in disadvantaged communities, improving access to job centers and attractions, providing alternatives to traveling on I-10, and reducing emissions to improve air quality.

RCTC and Caltrans have nearly completed the program-level environmental document for this proposed service.  The funding would allow work to advance to the next stage – project-level environmental studies and preliminary engineering of the 76-mile eastern section of track, up to six stations, a new third main track, and associated grade crossings and signal improvements on the eastern end of the corridor.

A $3 million request was made of Representative Ken Calvert to help fund design of the proposed Interstate 15 Express Lanes Project Southern Extension.

RCTC has proposed extending the existing 15 Express Lanes by an additional 14.5 miles, from Cajalco Road in Corona, through the Temescal Valley, to Route 74/Central Avenue in Lake Elsinore. Once built, the project is expected to improve traffic operations and travel times, expand travel choice through carpooling and mass transit, increase travel time reliability, and manage long-term traffic congestion spurred by increased goods movement and population growth. Preliminary engineering and environmental studies are under way now.

In addition, RCTC requested $3 million of Representative Mark Takano to help fund construction of the City of Riverside’s Third Street Grade Separation Project.

The city proposes reducing public safety risks by redirecting vehicle/pedestrian/bicycle traffic below the busy railroad tracks at Third Street. Riverside is trisected by two freight rail lines, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and Union Pacific Railroad. These rail lines carry more than 75% of the freight handled by the Ports of L.A. and Long Beach through Riverside. Every day, approximately 128 trains pass through the city. At-grade crossings pose safety risks, create traffic delays, increase emissions from idling vehicles, and delay emergency response. The $3 million-request would allow construction of the project to separate Third Street from the railroad tracks and connect the downtown and Eastside communities of Riverside.

RCTC hopes to build upon its success of securing $5 million in Community Project Funding from Representative Calvert for the Smart Freeway Pilot in Murrieta and Temecula and will continue to advocate for additional funding from state and federal partners.


The SCAG Regional Data Platform is Now Live

SCAG’s Regional Data Platform (RDP) is a revolutionary system for collaborative data sharing and planning designed to facilitate better planning for cities and counties of all levels across the region. As one of SCAG’s largest and most transformative initiatives to date, RDP places data and technology in the hands of local jurisdictions to support more robust, transparent and collaborative community planning.

The RDP platform includes web-based tools for local jurisdictions and regional stakeholders to access data to support planning, analysis and public engagement. For jurisdictions in the SCAG region, a suite of Esri licenses may be available to support your planning work and build technological capacity in the region.

The RDP is now publicly available and provides access to:

  • Modern tools and workflows to streamline local and regional data collection, sharing and integration to facilitate the implementation of SCAG’s Local Data Exchange (LDX) process
  • A simple form-based system to request technical assistance from SCAG’s Local Information Services Team (LIST)
  • Web-based tools and applications to support planning, analysis and public engagement
  • Authoritative and standardized local and regional planning datasets curated by SCAG
  • An extensive library of learning resources and training materials
  • A suite of Esri licenses including ArcGIS Online, Pro, Urban, Business Analyst and Hub
  • A growing network of local and regional planners across Southern California

Through the RDP, SCAG aims to enable and empower local jurisdictions by providing enhanced data, advanced tools, and extensive resources to support stronger and more integrated local planning toward a healthier and more sustainable region.

To discover all the capabilities SCAG’s RDP has to offer, visit hub.scag.ca.gov today!


American Society of Civil Engineers Honors Transportation Corridor Agencies’ Commitment to the Environment with Two Industry Awards

Wildlife Protection Fence and Conservation Grazing Pilot Program lauded as Outstanding Projects.
At the 2022 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Orange County Branch Annual Awards Night, the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency’s (F/ETCA) State Route 241 Wildlife Protection Fence was recognized as the 2021 Outstanding Environmental Engineering Project of the Year and the F/ETCA’s Conservation Grazing Pilot Program was named the 2021 Outstanding Wildfire Hardening Project of the Year.

The ASCE Orange County Branch is part of a global civil engineering community representing an international profession that plans, designs, constructs and operates the built environment while protecting and restoring the natural environment. With more than 2,500 members, the Orange County Branch is the organization’s fourth largest. The awards ceremony was held on April 12 in Anaheim.

“We are excited and grateful to have, both, our Wildlife Protection Fence and Conservation Grazing Program honored by the civil engineering community,” said F/ETCA’s Chair and Yorba Linda City Council Member Peggy Huang. “For more than a quarter century, our environmental initiatives have protected the natural resources of more than 2,000 acres of habitat and open space. We don’t do it for the accolades, but the accolades are valued and celebrated.”

SR 241 Wildlife Protection Fence: 2021 Outstanding Environmental Engineering Project of the Year 

The F/ETCA worked in partnership with Caltrans to design, plan, install and monitor the Wildlife Protection Fence along the 241 Toll Road. The fence maintains wildlife movement and connectivity while reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions.

The 10-to-12-foot-high fence spans both sides of a six-mile stretch of SR 241, funneling wildlife to existing wildlife bridges and culvert under-crossings that allow protected passage to open spaces on either side of the road.

The fence was designed as a joint study with the University of California, Davis into the movement and health of the area’s wildlife. 2021 marked the completion of post-construction monitoring and the milestone achievement of concurrence from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The project reduced wildlife-vehicle collisions by nearly 100%, demonstrating the remarkable positive impact of TCA’s environmental efforts.

Conservation Grazing Pilot Program: 2021 Outstanding Wildfire Hardening Project of the Year

Conservation grazing, or targeted grazing, is the use of grazing livestock to improve and maintain the quality of biodiversity of natural areas. In February 2021, the F/ETCA started implementation of its Board-approved, science-based, pilot conservation program on its 23.2-acre Live Oak Plaza property.

Live Oak Plaza, located in Trabuco Canyon northeast of the 241 Toll Road, contains valuable oak woodlands, riparian and coastal sage scrub habitat for the threatened coastal California gnatcatcher and the endangered Riverside fairy shrimp. The site provides natural wildlife movement corridors to and from the Cleveland National Forest approximately one mile north and east of the property, and O’Neill Regional Park and Whiting Ranch Wilderness Parks approximately 0.75 miles to the south and northwest, respectively.

The pilot program is slated to last three years, with grazing occurring three times annually and lasting approximately two to three weeks. While other cities and agencies use different livestock such as goats for grazing, TCA is the only agency in Orange County to use cattle.

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