2022 Transit in Transition at UCLAangelawu2022-04-07T12:33:48-07:00
Transit in Transition @ UCLA
The UCLA Arrowhead Symposium: Transit in Transition reconvened in person at UCLA on April 1, 2022 after a successful online series this past fall.
At our first in-person program sessions in 2.5 years, we highlighted the work from the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies Public Transit Initiative and its Public Transit and Shared Mobility Recovery program. Other topics included:
What are the key constraints to transit’s success today: ridership, labor, or funding?
Transit in Transition @ UCLA is archived on YouTube for on-demand learning.
Each tab below includes links to verify your completion of an on-demand learning video and register your credits with the American Planning Association. A total of 4.75 hours of on-demand AICP CM credits are offered through the on-demand series. Participants who registered and attended the April 1 event should claim credits.
Public transit moves people where they need to go. But shifts in how people live, work, and play will change these destinations. Recent changes in state housing policy and greater enforcement of existing policies will bring more new housing near transit and jobs. Substitution of remote work for commuting – and the greater decentralization of office space – are key factors driving transit demand beyond the existing fixed-route transit infrastructure that goes into serving these markets today.
Los Angeles has sought to reinvent its transportation system. Two years into the pandemic, six years from the Olympic Games, and after two years of rising traffic deaths: How is this reinvention faring? Will issues related to public workforce, transit demand, mobility competition, and transportation system pricing accelerate or rein in this transformation?
2022 brings a historically unique position for transit agencies — they are temporarily flush with funding. Availability of operator labor, rather than funding, is the key constraint in providing transit service for many agencies. Can state or federal policy help close the labor shortage, or are other changes needed? Do transit agencies need to consider diversifying funding sources as a contingency if federal funding for operations falls back to pre-pandemic levels?
In 2018, the UCLA Arrowhead Symposium considered the changing nature of transportation and new mobility services. Many of these new mobility services have evolved or withered during the multiple shocks brought by COVID: economic, health concerns, and travel activity. What do we know about these changes and what does it mean for transit’s future?
Kome Ajise is the executive director of the Southern California Association of Governments. He has three decades of experience in regional planning and transportation, most recently as the Director of Planning at SCAG. Prior to working at SCAG, Kome was the Chief Deputy Director at the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), where he was responsible for internal operations, overseeing more than 18,000 employees and a budget in excess of $1.1 billion. Previously, he was Caltrans’ Deputy Director of Planning and Modal Programs and oversaw the Aeronautics, Mass Transportation, Rail, Transportation Planning, Local Assistance, and Research Innovation and System Information Divisions. Kome has a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography and Regional Planning from the University of Benin, Nigeria and a Master of City and Regional Planning degree from California State University, Fresno.
Director and Professor
Evelyn Blumenberg is a Professor of Urban Planning and Director of the Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies in UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs. Her research examines transportation and economic outcomes for low-wage workers and the role of planning and policy in addressing transportation disparities. She holds a BA in political science from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MA and Ph.D. in urban planning from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Anne Brown is an Assistant Professor in the School of Planning, Public Policy, and Management at the University of Oregon. Her research examines transportation equity, shared mobility, and travel behavior. Anne has published on a range of transportation equity topics including discrimination in new mobility, the planning implications of ride-hailing, transit fare equity, and the policy implications of being car-free versus car-less. Anne was awarded Best Article by an Early Career Scholar by the Journal of the American Planning Association for her work on ride-hail travel and equity, and the Rising Scholar Award from the Association of Collegiate Schools in Planning. Current work analyzes the equity requirements in shared mobility programs, ride-hail use and car access among travelers earning low-incomes, and micromobility parking policy. Anne holds a Master of Urban and Regional Planning and PhD in Urban Planning from UCLA.
Harry Campbell is a renowned blogger, writer and entrepreneur. Despite formally studying and working for 6 years as an aerospace engineer, in 2015, Harry gave that all up to pursue his passion of blogging and entrepreneurship.
Harry is most well known for his industry-leading blog and podcast, The Rideshare Guy, that reaches hundreds of thousands of viewers each month. Harry has quickly evolved into an industry expert with appearances in prestigious media outlets like The New York Times, CNET, BuzzFeed and NPR.
He is also a contributing tech writer for Forbes and his writing has been featured in top tech publications like WIRED, Fusion & Business Insider.
Acting Chief Operations Officer, Bus Operations
Conan Cheung serves as Acting Chief Operations Officer, Bus at Metro. He is responsible for the operations and maintenance of the bus, MetroMicro, ExpressLanes, and bikeshare system, transit service planning and development, vehicle engineering and acquisition including the zero-emission bus conversion, and operations finance and administration. Mr. Cheung has also served as Executive Officer, Finance and Budget and Senior Executive Officer, Service Development, Scheduling & Analysis. Prior to Metro, he was Director of Planning and Scheduling with San Diego MTS and worked for transportation planning organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area. Mr. Cheung received his bachelor’s in urban planning and public administration from USC and a. M.A. in Urban Planning from UCLA.
Nuria Fernandez was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the 15th Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) on June 10, 2021. She was previously appointed as Deputy Administrator and senior FTA official on January 20, 2021. With more than 35 years of experience, Fernandez made a name for herself as an inspiring leader in the transportation industry. She came to FTA after serving as General Manager and CEO of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), where she was responsible for 2,100 employees and oversaw projects, programs, and transit services that provide mobility solutions for more than two million people who live and work in the Silicon Valley.
Among the highlights of her tenure at VTA was the completion of the first Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) heavy rail service into Silicon Valley, a 10-mile, $3 billion line that opened to passenger service in June 2020. She also received federal approval in 2018 to extend the heavy rail service for another six miles.
Director of Transit Development
Alyssa Haerle is the Director of Transit Development at Circuit Transit, an electric microtransit start-up, handling government relations, policy research, and impact analysis. Alyssa received her BA from UCLA and MA from Stanford, with a focus on technology commercialization and innovation ecosystems. Prior to joining Circuit, Alyssa was a Public Policy Fellow at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator evaluating local, state, and national policies and providing support for transportation, diversity and inclusion, and economic development programs.
Michael Manville is Associate Professor of Urban Planning at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Both his research and teaching focus on the relationships between transportation and land use, and on local public finance. Much of his research concerns the tendency of local governments to hide the costs of driving in the property market, through land use restrictions intended to fight traffic congestion. These land use laws only sometimes reduce congestion, and can profoundly influence the supply and price of housing.
Jessica Meaney is the Founder and Executive Director of Investing in Place, an organization committed to transportation investments that strengthens communities. She is a transportation advocate who has been living in Los Angeles for over 20 years, primarily relying on Metro buses to get around in the LA Region. This personal experience using transit led her to work in the field in transportation policy – ultimately to create Investing in Place to address what she saw as an unmet need for an organization that prioritized the needs and focused on improving the experience (safety, reliability) of mobility for those without access to a private vehicle. Investing in Place does this through policy research and advocacy, and by a communications effort to provide timely information and education on pending transportation policy and investments decisions in Los Angeles. Investing in Place works to support a network of elected officials, community organizers and leaders, public agency staff, business leaders and funders to create a collaborative and shared space for efforts to improve mobility options for all throughout the Los Angeles Region – particularly in low income communities and communities of color.
Jerry Nickelsburg joined the UCLA Anderson School of Management and the UCLA Anderson Forecast in 2006. Since 2017, he has served as faculty director of the Forecast. He earned his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Minnesota, specializing in monetary economics and econometrics.
Nickelsburg plays a key role in the economic modeling and forecasting of the national, California and regional economic forecasts. He researches labor economics, industrial organization, statistics and international monetary economics, focusing on the development of new data and the application of economic theory and statistical methods to sector-specific policy issues. His current research encompasses transportation and environmental economics, and the relationships between highly skilled persons and their demand for social insurance. He has conducted special studies into the future of manufacturing in Los Angeles, the economic impact of the writers’ strike, the undocumented construction and manufacturing labor force, and the garment industry.
Michael Pimentel is the Executive Director of the California Transit Association, a nonprofit trade organization representing California’s transit industry, including more than 85 public transit agencies in the state. In this role, Michael steers the Association’s advocacy and education efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic and serves as the Association’s chief advisor on policies and programs impacting air quality and the climate.
Prior to joining the Association, Michael held various legislative positions in the Administration of Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. in which he focused on mass transportation issues.
Michael received a Master of Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley. He was a fellow with the New Leaders Council in 2015 and served on the Advisory Board for the organization’s Sacramento chapter through 2020. He is an active member of the Young Professionals in Transportation – Sacramento.
Seleta Reynolds is General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT), the second-largest municipal transportation agency in the country. Reynolds is responsible for 1,300 employees and 52 different business lines – from parking meters to traffic signals to buses. Reynolds was appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2014 to implement the Mayor’s vision of safe and sustainable transportation choices for all. Under Reynolds’ leadership, LADOT has installed hundreds of data-driven safety improvements in high-needs locations, launched the largest scooter program in the world, launched the largest electric vehicle carshare program in the country, and created a first-of-its-kind digital platform to manage for-profit mobility companies.
Associate Director and Associate Professor
Deborah Salon is an Associate Professor of transportation planning in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning at Arizona State University, and Associate Director of the TOMNET University Transportation Center. She earned her PhD at UC Davis in applied economics in 2006, conducted post-doctoral work at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, and was a researcher at the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis before moving to ASU.
Joshua Schank is a Senior Fellow at the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies and a Managing Principal at InfraStrategies, a transportation and financial advisory firm, where he leads a practice focused on innovation, strategic planning, and technology.
Prior to joining UCLA, he was the first-ever Chief Innovation Officer of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro). Schank joined Metro in 2015 to establish the agency’s Office of Extraordinary Innovation, which is responsible for fostering innovations that improve mobility, equity and environmental outcomes across LA County. Schank led an office that shapes Metro’s high-level strategic vision, serving as a liaison to the academic community, designing, piloting and implementing innovative programs and policies, and engaging entrepreneurs and businesses to develop public-private-partnerships. Schank helped create and lead numerous transformative Metro projects including the Vision 2028 Strategic Plan, Metro Micro, Mobility on Demand, Metro’s Traffic Reduction Study, Better Bus, two Pre-Development Agreements for the Sepulveda Transit Corridor, a Public-Private-Partnership for the West Santa Ana Branch, and an aerial tram from Union Station to Dodger Stadium.
Susan Shaheen was among the first to research and write about the changing dynamics in shared mobility and likely scenarios automated vehicles might gain prominence. She is a professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. She is a Co-Director of the Transportation Sustainability Research Center of the Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS), Berkeley and Director of the UC ITS’ Resilient and Innovative Mobility Initiative. She has a Ph.D. from UC Davis and a M.S. from the University of Rochester.
Director and Professor
Brian D. Taylor
Professor Taylor explores how society pays for transportation systems and how these systems in turn serve the needs of people who – because of low income, disability, location, or age – have lower levels of mobility. Topically, his research examines travel behavior, transportation economics & finance, and politics & planning. A principal focus of his research is the politics of transportation economics & finance, including (1) alternative ways to evaluate the access and economic effects of traffic congestion on people, firms, and regional economies, (2) the history of freeway planning and finance, (3) emerging trends in pricing road use, (4) the equity of alternative forms of transportation pricing and finance, (5) linking of subsidies to public transit performance, and (6) measuring equity in public transit pricing and finance.
Research Project Manager
Jacob Wasserman is a Research Project Manager at the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies. With a background in transportation equity, finance, and demand management, Wasserman coordinates research into public transit and other mobility issues, with recent projects on pre-pandemic transit ridership trends, homelessness in transit environments, and sources and gaps in transit ridership data. Prior to joining ITS, he worked for the Cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New Haven on capital budgeting and active transportation. He also served as a Transportation Justice Fellow for Bay Area Rapid Transit Director Lateefah Simon, coordinating passage of the system’s Safe Transit sanctuary policy. Wasserman has a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs.
Stephanie Wiggins was appointed chief executive officer of LA Metro in April 2021. Prior to that, Wiggins served as CEO of Metrolink, directing an agency that operates a commuter rail network on seven routes across a six-county, 538 route-mile system. Wiggins returns to LA Metro, where she had previously held numerous positions including deputy CEO, executive director of vendor/contract management, and executive officers and project director of the Congestion Reduction/ExpressLanes Program. She has also served as regional programs director for the Riverside County Transportation Commission and oversaw transit, commuter rail, rideshare, goods movement and rail capital projects. Wiggins is the founding president of the Inland Empire chapter of Women’s Transportation Seminar and has received many awards, including Conference of Minority Transportation Officials 2018 Women Who Move the Nation Award. Wiggins has a Master of Business Administration degree from USC Marshall School of Business.