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USC study finds a boost in ridership on Expo Rail Line

Expo Line at 7th Street/Metro Center.
File photo by Todd Johnson/KPCC
Expo Line at 7th Street/Metro Center.

If you build it, maybe they will ride. More and more people living near L.A.’s Expo Light Rail Line are leaving their cars at home and hopping aboard the train. That according to a a USC study on public transportation released Monday.

Los Angeles County transportation leaders can now say: ‘we told you so.’ They had reported ridership was on the rise...and hailed August as their best month with more than 27,000 weekday boardings. That’s up from about 22,000 the year before.

USC research now backs it up.

“We did seven-day travel tracking measurements of each group before and after the rail line opened up," said Marlon Boarnet who teaches at the USC Price School of Public Policy.

His nearly three-year study focused on various groups of residents living along Phase 1 of the Expo Line, which runs from downtown Los Angeles, through parts of South LA and ends in Culver City.

“We see reductions in vehicle miles travelled among households that are on the order of about 10 to 12 miles per day among the experimental group after the Expo Line opened up," Boarnet said. "And that’s a big magnitude.” 

That’s about a 40 percent decrease in driving among folks living within a half mile of an Expo station.

Boarnet says his team will continue to study the habits of these commuters over the next few years.