Blog

Forward Motion, August 2022

Thank You For Attending the Summit!

On behalf of the Mobility 21 Board of Directors, thank you again for joining us at the 21st Annual Mobility 21 Southern California Transportation Summit!

PHOTOS
Check out our Flickr album from the Summit!

VIDEOS
Missed one of the General Sessions? Catch the playback on our YouTube channel.


Mobility 21 Advisory Board Member Spotlight:
Sarah Catz
Director Center for Urban Infrastructure

Sarah L. Catz is the Director of the Center for Urban Infrastructure at Brandman University – Chapman University System and a Researcher in the Institute of Transportation Studies at University of California, Irvine. She joined the Mobility 21 Advisory Board in 2015.

During the past two decades, Sarah has been a leading transportation/infrastructure and public policy expert and has played a key role in critical transportation and infrastructure projects, both at the local and state levels. She has served as the state’s acting Deputy Secretary of Transportation as well as the project manager for The Commission on Building for the 21st Century, a California infrastructure commission that included projects within water, transportation, housing, facilities and technology areas. While with the state of California, Catz also helped secure state funding for critical infrastructure projects, including major rail projects in Southern California.

Sarah spent 10 years on the Board of Directors of the Orange County Transportation Authority and served as Chairman of the Board and was a founding member and two-term chairperson of the Board of Directors of Southern California Regional Rail Authority (Metrolink). Sarah is a past chair of the Orange County Forum, a nonpartisan current affairs organization convening the Orange County civic community to exchange ideas and discuss public policy issues with distinguished speakers and national leaders.

Sarah was recently appointed to the University of California Institute of Transportation Studies Board of Advisors. She is also an attorney and public affairs consultant.

Sarah has been recognized by The League of Women Voters of Orange County with the “OC Woman of Achievement” Award and by OC Metro Magazine as one of “10 Women Making a Difference in Orange County.” She also is the recipient of the California Transportation Foundation Tranny Award for “Citizen of the Year” and has been named “Woman of the Year” three times by the Orange County Chapter of WTS.

Sarah received her law degree from the University of Santa Clara and her bachelor’s degree from George Washington University.


Mobility 21 Advisory Board Member Spotlight:
Joe Toolson
Senior Vice President and South West Area
Regional Manager
Mott MacDonald

M. Joseph Toolson is currently Senior Vice President and South West Area Regional Manager for Mott MacDonald (MM). As a part of this international full-service engineering organization of over 16,000 employees world-wide, he brings expertise in Rail and Transit, Highways and Bridges, Utilities, Airports, and transportation program systems delivery. He is a student of project implementation in completing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering with an emphasis in Structural Engineering from San Jose State University in 1988. He has furthered his education through international training at MM.

Throughout his 30-year career, he has focused in different sectors of transportation from planning, engineering, and environmental, to design, and construction implementation, and claims. He has a firm understanding of the issues which surround project delivery specifically in transportation infrastructure which he has learned from his participation with multiple self-help county programs starting with the original Measure A in Santa Clara County legislated to improve regional transportation. Along with this program in Santa Clara, he has supported the project delivery teams associated with many other transportation improvement programs throughout the State of California such as those in Alameda, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Orange Counties.

Aside from fulfilling his role as a South West Regional Manager for MM, Mr. Toolson has also served many major regional projects including the OC Bridges grade separations, SR-22 Design-Build, and I-405 Improvement Project as a technical consultant lead for the Orange County Transportation Authority. Mr. Toolson’s past roles have also included serving as a practice lead for MM for Highways and Bridges and Deputy Practice Lead for the Program Management practice.


Clean Vehicle Policy Summit and Car Show
By Invitation Only – Space is Limited
Please RSVP Today

Complimentary event in Los Angeles with full access to speakers, elected officials, transportation agency and industry leaders, Automotive Research Center open house, and car show.

Friday, September 9, 2022
Join us at the Historic Auto Club Building in Downtown Los Angeles for a clean vehicle policy summit with leading voices in transportation, along with a car show, featuring the latest zero emission vehicles and charging stations. Space is limited. Register at ZEV.eventbrite.com

  • Policy Summit (invitation only, breakfast included): 8:00 am – 11:00 am
  • Automotive Research Center Open House (invitation only): 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • Car Show (open to the public): 8:00 am – 2:00 pm

Policy Summit (invitation only) | 8:00 am to 11:00 am:

  • Senator Dave Min | California Senate District 37
  • Kome Ajise, Executive Director | Southern California Association of Governments
  • Zanku Armenian, Director of Local Public Affairs | Southern California Edison
  • Joshua Cunningham, Chief of Advanced Clean Cars | California Air Resources Board (CARB)
  • Juanita Martinez, Regional Director, Government Affairs | General Motors
  • Megan McKernan, Automotive Research Center | Automobile Club of Southern California

California is leading the nation into a future of clean vehicles. Come learn and participate in a discussion about this increasingly electrified future. Topics of discussion will include the cost of electric and other clean vehicle ownership and use; ensuring equitable access to clean mobility; vehicle technology, range, utility, availability, and choices; energy and charging availability, reliability, and cost; government goals, policies, opportunities, and challenges; transportation service and infrastructure solutions; and consumer perceptions, knowledge, questions, desires, and concerns. Come hear leading voices in transportation discuss these and related topics as California strives to achieve its air quality targets while ensuring equitable access to zero emission technology.

ARC Open House (invitation only)
11:00 am to 12:00 pm

The AAA Automotive Research Center (ARC) started in the 1960s to provide information to policymakers and the public about vehicle emissions. Since then, the ARC’s role expanded to include research and analysis on the latest vehicle technology, including automated and electric vehicles. The ARC also evaluates a broad spectrum of vehicles for the annual  AAA Car Guide.

The state-of-the-art automotive test facility, located at the Historic Auto Club Building in Downtown Los Angeles, will host an Open House from 11:00AM to 12:00PM following the policy discussion. Come check out the ARC’s temperature-controlled test cell with four-wheel drive dynamometer and learn more about its most recent advanced vehicle technology projects.

Clean Car Show (open to the public)
8:00 am to 2:00 pm

Come learn more about electric vehicles, EV chargers, and more at this clean vehicle showcase. A variety of zero emission vehicles will be on display, ranging from battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell passenger cars to an all-electric Metro bus and FedEx delivery truck. Companies and agencies will be on hand to talk about charging equipment and other resources to help you drive emission free. The car show is open to the public.

Parking: Limited parking will be available off 27th Street just west of Figueroa
Transit: Metro Rail E (Expo); Metro Buses 37, 81, J, and 4X; Dash F, 419, 422, 423

REGISTER NOW


Skyland Ranch STEM campers conduct an experiment at a learning station funded by a previous HDR Foundation grant. This new grant will expand opportunities for more than 600 additional students to participate in the environmental education program during the next school year and beyond.

Summit Platinum Sponsor Spotlight
HDR

HDR Foundation Expands Funding for Career Awareness and STEM Education Programs

Workforce development and STEM programs are topics on all of our minds.  The HDR Foundation is taking action by funding local programs to introduce youth to careers in STEM and infrastructure.  A great example is our partnership with the Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio Council.  The Council offers programs for inland empire students to have hands on learning experiences while visiting Skyland Ranch STEM Camp.

“I am HDR and Girl Scout proud… together we are making a tremendous impact in our community,” says Lisa Reece, client development leader, who has now sponsored three grants to GSSGC. “Not only are the Girl Scouts benefiting from our investments, but they are also leveraging our grants to attract additional donors like U.S. Bank and Southern California Edison to continue to expand the program to benefit more students. I was able to see the kids interacting with the equipment we provided previously, and it’s clear these hands-on experiences make a lasting impression.”

These programs are also made possible by a network of volunteers from WTS-IE, IYAI+ and others.  If you are interested learning more, contact Lisa.Reece@hdrinc.com.


Summit Platinum Sponsor Spotlight
Rebuild SoCal Partnership

Californians pay the highest gas tax in the country. While these funds are supposed to be dedicated to maintaining and improving our transportation infrastructure, our roads perpetually congested and we are nowhere near a state-of-the-art transit network.

Over-regulation and inefficient project delivery systems are often to blame for our failing infrastructure. But one new, significant reason is Sacramento’s focus on the reduction of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) over highway capacity enhancement projects.

In theory, fewer miles traveled would mean less wear and tear on roads and less need for improvements or repairs. However, in California, the disappointing reality is there are no practical alternatives to roads or freeways. Transit systems take forever to build and don’t go where we need them to go. And for many working families, cars provide greater mobility flexibility and access to job opportunities and affordable housing.

The current VMT reduction strategy will result in more congestion, goods movement delays, and will ultimately hurt the state’s climate goals. Instead, California needs thoughtfully planned capacity enhancements that reduce both congestion and emissions while a more carefully planned transition to new modes of transportation is developed.


RCTC opened a new lane on southbound I-15 between Corona and Temescal Valley on July 23 to improve traffic operations in this heavily traveled area. 

RCTC Reaches Major Project Milestones and is Looking “Future Forward” in 2022

It’s still summer, but the Riverside County Transportation Commission has already completed four highway projects in 2022, reached a major milestone for new passenger rail service, and is preparing to open a new interchange this fall. This year is shaping up to be a big one for project delivery with more on the horizon, designed to keep communities connected and the economy moving “future forward.”
The four newly opened projects include:

  • The 91 Corridor Operations Project, which added a new lane to westbound 91 between Green River Road in Corona to the southbound 241 connector, improving the morning commute – Opened in January 2022
  • The I-15 Railroad Canyon Road Interchange in Lake Elsinore, which is enhancing safety and traffic flow for residents and neighboring commuters from Canyon Lake – Opened in April 2022
  • The Route 60 Truck Lanes in the Badlands between Moreno Valley and Beaumont now provides a safer, more efficient way to travel between western Riverside County and the Coachella Valley – Opened May 2022
  • The I-15 Interim Corridor Operations Project, which added a lane on southbound I-15 between Corona and the Temescal Valley to improve traffic operations – Opened July 2022

Also in July, the Commission certified the Tier 1 “program-level” environmental document for Coachella Valley Rail, a major milestone for this proposed daily intercity passenger rail service between Los Angeles and the Coachella Valley. The next step is to secure funding for the Tier 2 “project-level” engineering and environmental studies for this long-range project. RCTC will be applying for federal and state grant funds this fall to move this project to the next phase.

Just around the corner is the planned opening of the I-215 Placentia Avenue Interchange in Perris. This new interchange will improve access to I-215 in this growing area and enhance traffic flow and air quality. The opening will be coordinated with the roadway extension of Placentia Avenue led by the City of Perris.

Other projects are coming soon. Of note are reconstruction of the 71/91 Interchange in Corona, construction and operations of the Smart Freeway Pilot Project in Temecula and Murrieta, improvements to the Moreno Valley/March Field Metrolink Station, engineering and environmental studies of the I-10 Highland Springs Interchange in Banning and Beaumont, and design of the Mid County Parkway Ramona Expressway segment in the County of Riverside.

Please watch for project updates by registering to receive RCTC’s The Point monthly e-newsletter.


Video and Photos from Sneak Peek K Line Ride on Monday

Metro held a sneak peek for the K Line for the media, Metro Board Members, VIPs and stakeholders earlier this month. Check out the view from the train cab above.

Pre-revenue service testing is underway with more trains running from early morning to late night this week. If you walk, bike, roll or drive near the K Line, be safe and watch for trains! Because…trains haven’t run in the Crenshaw and Inglewood corridor since the 1950s, back in the days of the streetcar. To learn more about the project, click here.

Before you ask: we don’t yet have an opening date to announce. Hopefully we’ll have the date very soon! We’re working hard to get there and we also need to first get approval from the California Public Utilities Commission. Stay tuned to The Source and our social media (TwitterFacebook and Instagram) — and thanks for your support, tax dollars and interest in our new light rail line. We’re eager and excited to deliver the line to you and see you on board!

Metro Board Members past and present and Metro CEO Stephanie N. Wiggins.


SCAG Demographic Workshop

In the post-pandemic era, our region faces uncertainty around the future of housing, mobility, and employment. What is the new normal, who will benefit, and who will struggle to adapt? How can we plan for a different future when the present is still heavily in flux?

Join SCAG at the 33rd annual Demographic Workshop, “Forecasting the New Normal,” where a lineup of leading experts will weigh in on what’s in store for post-COVID Southern California. The workshop, held in partnership with the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy, will be held virtually on the afternoons of Wednesday, Sept. 14, and Wednesday, Sept. 21.

Event panels will explore new pandemic-era demographic analysis, identifying which areas have begun to bounce back versus which are lagging behind, how different populations have experienced the rebound in different ways, and the impact of remote work and other emerging trends in our cities. The program will also include a keynote address by USC Provost Professor of Economics and Spatial Sciences, Matthew Kahn, and a series of expert-led roundtable discussions to build skills about topics discussed throughout the event.

Please visit scag.ca.gov/demographics for more information and to register for the free event.


OCTA Board members and executives join with administrators from Orange County’s nine community colleges to mark a milestone of all of the colleges participating in OCTA’s College Pass program, giving students free, convenient public-transit access to school, jobs and more.

OCTA’s Student Bus Pass Program Expands to All OC Community Colleges

All community colleges in Orange County are now on board with OC Bus.

The Orange County Transportation Authority in August marked a major milestone in the effort to provide OC Bus passes to thousands of community college students when it presented resolutions to all nine Orange County community colleges now participating in the College Pass program.

The College Pass, a shared-cost program that allows enrolled community-college students to travel free on any OC Bus fixed route, helps students access higher education, employment and recreational opportunities all across Orange County.

“It’s great to see how this program has expanded, reaching all of our community colleges,” said OCTA Chairman Mark A. Murphy, also the Mayor of Orange. “The College Pass is helping thousands of students discover how convenient and beneficial public transit can be and, at the same time, it is offering them easier accesses to higher education and the path toward their dreams.”

The College Pass program began as a pilot program in 2017 at Santa Ana College and expanded to each of the other community colleges in the county, including:

  • Rancho Santiago Community College District Continuing Education program
  • Santiago Canyon College
  • Fullerton College
  • Goldenwest College
  • Saddleback College
  • Irvine Valley College
  • Coastline College
  • Orange Coast College

At Monday’s Board meeting, OCTA CEO Darrell E. Johnson presented administrators from each of the colleges with a resolution thanking them for participating.

The program is a shared-cost program, partially funded by the colleges and by Clean Transportation Funding from the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction and Review Committee and the state’s Low Carbon Transit Operations Program through California Climate Investments.

The state’s California Climate Investments is 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.

By using the pass, college students enjoy a free, convenient ride while avoiding parking costs and hassles and contributing to a cleaner, healthier environment.

The program also has helped bus ridership, introducing new riders to public transit and removing barriers to higher education for students, some who say they wouldn’t be able to attend college without it.

An initial survey of students at Santa Ana College, where the program began. showed that 86 percent were satisfied with the college pass. Nearly 70 percent of those who rode the bus to school chose to also ride OC Bus to other destinations, and 96 percent said using the pass helps them achieve their educational goals.

Although bus ridership fell sharply during the COVID-19 pandemic, OC Bus continued with a modified schedule to help riders reach essential jobs, appointments and other important destinations. Service has gradually been added back based on demand and always guided by safety of passengers and coach operators.

For more information, visit http://ocbus.com/communitycollegepass.

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