Blog

Forward Motion, September 2021

Mobility 21 Hosts 2021 Virtual Summit

Mobility 21 was honored to present the 20th annual Southern California Transportation Summit virtually this year! The Summit featured incredible discussions, expert panelists, face time networking, exhibitor microsites and engaging live chats during the General and Breakout Sessions.

2021 Virtual Summit by the Numbers:

• 2 days – Thursday, Sept. 30 – Friday, Oct. 1, 2021
• More than 1,000 attendees
• 3 General Sessions
• 8 Breakout Sessions
• More than 60 speakers
• More than 85 virtual exhibitors


Mobility 21 Advisory Board Member Spotlight:
Ural Yal

Vice President, District Operations
Flatiron West, Inc.

Ural Yal brings decades of heavy civil infrastructure experience in California to Mobility 21’s Advisory Board.

Ural serves as a Vice President & District Manager for Flatiron’s Southwest Division. He has held this position since 2019, overseeing Flatiron’s projects in Los Angeles and surrounding counties. Flatiron is a leading heavy civil contractor with a 30-plus year history in the Southern California construction market, having delivered hundreds of infrastructure projects throughout the region.

“Ural not only brings industry expertise, his energy and optimism are contagious,” says Dale Nelson, Senior Vice President of Flatiron’s Southwest and Central Divisions. “His ability to collaborate within a diverse team allows him to provide tremendous value to industry organizations such as Mobility 21.”

Among the key projects Ural currently has in his portfolio: the transformational Automated People Mover at LAX, the largest construction contract in the history of the City of Los Angeles, that Flatiron is delivering as part of the P3 consortium. It will permanently change the landscape of how people get around at one of the most important airports on the planet. Other important projects include improvements on SR-710, I-5, Highway 1, SR-210 and the new Redlands Passenger Rail Project. All of these projects call for the technical and innovative expertise that Flatiron has made its hallmark across North America.

Besides Mobility 21, Ural lends his expertise to other organizations as well, including serving as vice-chair of AGC-California’s Highway/Transportation Division.

Ural is a graduate of Istanbul Technical University. He earned his MBA at California State University, Dominguez Hills. Ural is a California licensed Civil Engineer.


Mobility 21 Advisory Board Member Spotlight:
Kristin Decas
CEO & Port Director
Port of Hueneme

With a solid reputation as a proven leader in the maritime industry, Kristin Decas has repeatedly demonstrated her ability to build vision and implement strategy through open, collaborative processes that foster impactful results.

The Port of Hueneme has realized several successes since Kristin began her tenure as CEO & Port Director back in February 2012. Tonnage totals reached significant new milestones with cargo growing from 1.3 million tons in FY 2012 to over 1.73 million tons in FY 2021, marking the Port’s strongest sustained trade years since its inception in 1937. Port trade related activity spurs $1.7 billion in economic activity and 15,834 direct, indirect, induced and influenced jobs, increases of 113% and 55% respectively over 2013 performance. Most recent successes include securing a $3.3 million California Air Resources Board grant for zero emission equipment and infrastructure and a $12.3 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant. Over $55million in infrastructure improvements have advanced during Kristin’s tenure watch, including the installation of shoreside power for refrigerated cargo ships and a harbor deepening project that will also re-nourish local beaches. Kristin championed the first Port Banana Festival in 2012, an annual event now drawing over 12,000 visitors to the Port.

Kristin served as the President of the California Association of Port Authorities (CAPA) from 2015-2019. CAPA represents California’s 11 deep water ports, providing educational leadership and advocacy on issues related to transportation, trade, the environment, land use, and energy.

Kristin made history when she became the first woman to run both the Port of New Bedford in Massachusetts and the Port of Hueneme in California. In 2015, she was elected to Chair the American Association of Port Authorities, the fourth woman to hold the post in the association’s 106-year history.

Kristin currently lives in Oxnard, Calif. with her husband, and is the proud mother of two daughters, Chloe and Gina.


Summit Platinum Sponsor Spotlight
The SEED School of Los Angeles County

Preparing the Next Generation of Workers
In an ever-changing global economy, the need to expand the next generation of workers for the future of the mobility sector has never been greater. In partnership with LA Metro, The SEED School of Los Angeles County (SEED LA) will shape, expose and prepare students to fully embrace college and careers through a rigorous STEM and nurturing boarding program.
With a planned opening in August 2022, SEED LA will be California’s first public boarding college-prep STEM high school in South LA. The admissions lottery will be weighted for youth who are experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity, foster youth, or youth who have an immediate family member who is incarcerated. Young people who have demonstrated tremendous resilience in the face of adversity hold enormous potential to become key leaders in our community, if given access to appropriate opportunities and tools.

Students will acquire a variety of skills and engage in 21st-century practices through inquiry, critical thinking, reasoning, collaboration, and creative design. This will happen not just through interdisciplinary courses in STEM, but through a mentor program linking students to professionals in the industry, internships at Metro and with industry partners, and field trips both locally and globally to give students a deeper understanding and appreciation for the infrastructure that we all rely on.

Industry leaders are invited to partner with SEED LA. Find out more www.seedschoolla.org


The Orange County Transportation Authority is providing Youth Ride Free passes, allowing youth age 6 to 18 years to ride free anywhere on regular OC Bus routes through February 2022. Photo courtesy OCTA.

OCTA Offers Free Bus Rides for all OC Youth

The Orange County Transportation Authority has launched a Youth Ride Free Pass, a six-month promotional program that allows more than a half-million youth in Orange County the opportunity to ride free wherever OC Bus travels.

The Youth Ride Free pass allows passengers ages 6 to 18 years to ride any OCTA fixed-route bus in Orange County for free during the six-month program, which runs through the end of February 2022. According to recent U.S. Census data, that makes more than 520,000 youth in that age group eligible to ride free.

“Allowing our youth in Orange County to ride the OC Bus for free will encourage a new generation of riders to discover the convenience and benefits of public transportation,” said OCTA Chairman Andrew Do, also Chairman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors. “This program is good for our community, for our schools, and for our economy.”

Also important, giving more youth access to shared rides reduces traffic congestion, taking cars off local roads and improving air quality in the process.

OCTA is working with school districts across Orange County to distribute the passes, giving parents the chance to request the pass for their children.

“Providing free public transportation to students who use this service to travel to and from school will serve as a vital resource for our families,” said Santa Ana Unified School District Superintendent Jerry Almendarez. “We know many of our students rely on OCTA each day to commute not only to our campuses, but also to their jobs and other activities. This program will help further meet a need of young people in our community.”

Originally intended for youth up to 13 years old, OCTA board members earlier this year voted to expand the pass to reach high-school-age teens, as well.

Approvals were granted from Caltrans and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), which will fund the pass through grants made possible by the California Climate Investments program, 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 Youth Ride Free pass expands on the recent success of the Community College Pass Program, which allows thousands of community college students throughout the county unlimited rides on OC Bus anywhere in the county.

Based on the student pass program’s success at Santa Ana College and the School of Continuing Education, OCTA worked with each college to expand that program to Santiago Canyon College in Orange, Golden West College in Huntington Beach, Fullerton College, Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, Cypress College and Irvine Valley College.

The Youth Ride Free program is part of a phased campaign to encourage riders to return to OC Bus as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic recedes. The free pass runs through February, at which time data will be reviewed for potential next steps.

The pass, available by request from parents, is a physical pass with a magnetic stripe. OCTA will continue working to distribute the passes in partnership with local K-12 school districts, as well as at the OCTA store and online.

For more information on how to request a Youth Ride Free pass, visit www.OCBus.com/YouthRideFree.


California’s largest toll road network doubles its open accounts in four years. Click here to watch the video: https://youtu.be/03rrocWZMNA

Orange County’s Toll Roads Attain 2 Million Open Accounts

The Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) – responsible for planning, designing, financing, constructing and operating Orange County’s more than 420 lane miles of Toll Roads – Thursday evening reached the milestone of having 2 million open FasTrak® accounts.

The milestone occurred just four years after TCA realized 1 million FasTrak accounts and two years after reaching 1.5 million FasTrak accounts. To celebrate, the 2 millionth accountholder will receive a gift of $500 in toll credits.

“We are pleased to see the increased growth of accountholders and ridership. The rapid growth of our accounts is evidence that every day more drivers see the value The Toll Roads provide in their personal lives to support spending more time with family or increased productivity while also reducing congestion on I-5, I-405 and State Route 55,” said TCA CEO Samuel Johnson.

The FasTrak brand was created by TCA in 1993 as the only preestablished account that can be used to pay tolls electronically on every tolled bridge, lane and road in California — stretching from northern California to the international border.

TCA has remained an innovator in the industry since its creation as recently seen through its leadership role in adopting new technology statewide that supported TCA as the first California agency to introduce sticker transponders, increasing customer appeal while reducing costs and allowing TCA’s elimination of account fees. 

By the numbers:  

  • There are more TCA FasTrak accounts than residents of the following 14 states (and the District of Columbia): Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming and Rhode Island.
  • More than 5.5 million transponders have been issued to TCA FasTrak accountholders; that’s nearly two for every Orange County resident.
  • 92% of all tolls paid on The Toll Roads are paid via a FasTrak account.
  • FasTrak accountholders who prepay their tolls and commute to and from work on The Toll Roads save a minimum of $40 a month.

FasTrak accountholders pay lower tolls (up to $2.07 per toll) than drivers without FasTrak who pay online, via The Toll Roads app or using the PayNearMe cash payment network. Drivers with a FasTrak Prepaid account qualify to enjoy an additional $1 off every toll through The Toll Roads’ frequent driver discount program.

To sign up for FasTrak, visit TheTollRoads.com or download The Toll Roads app.


Freeway Service Patrol to the Rescue

Imagine that your tire blows out, and you’re stranded along a busy freeway. Scary stuff – which is why SBCTA has teamed with Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol for the past 15 years to provide no-cost assistance for motorists who find themselves in the kind of untimely freeway-situation one San Bernardino County resident recently experienced.

Jefferson was traveling the State Route 210 freeway when one of his tires “exploded,” leaving him stranded and unsure how long it would take to find help. What he didn’t know was that help was minutes away, in the form of the Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) – a no-cost service of certified and trained tow truck drivers that patrol specific segments of the freeways to assist stranded motorists in need.

“Being stuck on the side of the highway is a terrifying experience that I wouldn’t wish on anyone,” Jefferson told us. “I’ve lived here for almost 10 years and I had no idea this program existed. But the driver approached me, was very kind about the whole situation, and made me feel very safe.”

The driver told Jefferson to “just stay inside your car and I’ll take care of everything, don’t worry.” Within five minutes, a spare tire was installed and Jefferson was on his way.

“Had he not been there I would have been stuck for hours trying to get ahold of someone,” Jefferson said. “This service is a wonderful use of our tax dollars and I 100% support it.”

We appreciate the kind words – and appreciate even more the great work our FSP drivers do. If you are stranded on the freeway, Freeway Service Patrol will:

  • Offer you a gallon of gas, if you run out.
  • Jump start your car if the battery is dead.
  • Refill your radiator and tape hoses.
  • Change a flat tire.

If the FSP driver cannot get your car going, it will be towed at no charge to the motorist to a designated location approved by the CHP.

The Freeway Service Patrol service operates during specific peak commute times, and tow drivers usually find stranded motorists within a short time of a vehicle breaking down. All FSP tow trucks are white and easily recognizable by the FSP logo on the doors. FSP drivers wear blue uniforms with yellow safety vests, all with the same FSP logo. Drivers also carry an identification card issued by the CHP.

For more information, please visit: goSBCTA.com/fsp.


RCTC is expediting construction of a new lane along the outer shoulder of southbound I-15 between Corona and Temescal Valley to help address traffic congestion in this area.

Coming Soon: New Lane on Southbound I-15 in Corona/Temescal Valley

Increased traffic congestion on southbound Interstate 15 between Corona and the Temescal Valley has prompted the Riverside County Transportation Commission, with support of agency partners, to approve adding a new lane between the Cajalco Road interchange and the Weirick Road southbound off-ramp, next to the I-15 outer shoulder.

An expedited schedule would allow construction of the I-15 Interim Corridor Operations Project (known as the 15 ICOP) to start next spring and potentially be open in late summer or early fall 2022.

“RCTC recognizes the difficulties that motorists face on a daily basis in this heavily traveled area, and we are expediting this project to help provide traffic relief,” said RCTC Chair Jan Harnik, who also serves as the Palm Desert Mayor Pro Tem. “This interim project may offer some relief, especially during the peak afternoon and evening hours on southbound I-15 through Jurupa Valley, Eastvale, Norco, Corona, and the Temescal Valley,” she said.

Since the opening of the 15 Express Lanes in April, traffic congestion has grown where the tolled lanes terminate at Cajalco Road in Corona, due to vehicles merging and weaving to the general-purpose lanes. During weekday afternoons and weekend peak hours, it can take 30 minutes for drivers to travel the five-mile stretch on southbound I-15 between the 91 and Cajalco Road.

The ICOP is the result of an agency task force led by staff from RCTC, Caltrans, the City of Corona, and the County of Riverside. The group began meeting in June to study alternatives and develop near-term improvements to help improve traffic flow. The CHP also has provided input regarding safety and vehicle pull-over locations.

To add the new lane, crews would strengthen the pavement of the outer and inner I-15 shoulders to handle traffic loads for an interim three-year period until RCTC’s 15 Corridor Operations Project could be completed. The interim project would provide three 11-foot wide lanes, one 12-foot wide lane, a varying 3 to 8-foot wide outer shoulder, and a varying 2 to 5-foot wide inner shoulder on southbound I-15 between the Cajalco Road and Weirick Road interchanges.

RCTC staff will immediately begin environmental studies and design for the project. An aggressive construction procurement schedule would allow staff to request Commission approval of the construction contract in early 2022. This approach will save time to allow the new lane to open and provide congestion relief as soon as possible. Funding for the $5 million project would be provided by Measure A sales tax revenue bond proceeds anticipated to be available from the 15 Express Lanes Project financing completed in July 2017.


New SCAG Training Sessions This Fall:

Introduction to Transportation Demand Management

SCAG’s Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Strategic Plan identifies TDM policies and programs that increase the efficiency of the transportation system, reducing vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions through alternative modes of travel.

As a part of implementing the TDM Strategic Plan, SCAG is kicking off our free Transportation Demand Management (TDM) training sessions this October! Join us to learn about TDM and how it can improve transportation in your county. Each Introduction to TDM Training Session is designed for TDM newcomers and early-stage TDM Programs. These sessions will teach participants about TDM tools they currently have access to as well as familiarize participants with the SCAG TDM toolbox.

Each training session is customized for a specific SCAG county, but they are open to everyone. Register for an Introduction to TDM Training Session here:

  • Los Angeles County Session 1
    Tuesday, Oct. 5
    4 – 6 p.m.
    Register Here
  • Imperial County Session
    Friday, Oct. 8
    10 a.m. – Noon
    Register Here
  • Orange County Session
    Tuesday, Oct. 12
    4 – 6 p.m.
    Register Here
  • Riverside County Session
    Tuesday, Oct. 19
    4 – 6 p.m.
    Register Here
  • Los Angeles County Session 2
    Friday, Oct. 22
    10 a.m. – Noon
    Register Here
  • San Bernardino County Session
    Tuesday, Oct. 26
    4 – 6 p.m.
    Register Here
  • Ventura County Session
    Tuesday, Nov. 2
    4 – 6 p.m.
    Register Here
  • Los Angeles County Session 3
    Tuesday, Nov. 9
    4 – 6 p.m.
    Register Here

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