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Breaking: The Newest Light Rail Line Is Really Useful

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Good news: it turns out Los Angeles' newest light rail line does exactly what it was supposed to do. When the Expo Line opened in Spring 2012, people living nearby started using more public transportation, driving less and polluting less.

USC conducted a study of the transportation habits of people who live within a half-mile of the western stops of the line that goes from downtown to Culver City. The study looked at seven days before the line opened and seven days after the line opened. Their habits were compared to a control group that had statistically similar habits before the Expo Line opened.

Here are some of the interesting stats from the study:

  • Households who lived less than a half mile from a station traveled 10-12 fewer miles in their cars after the station opened compared to the control group
  • Households near a Metro stop had 30% less vehicle CO2 emissions than the control group
  • The habits of some very inactive people changed when the Expo Line opened: 40% of the least active people increased their daily physical activity by an average of 8-10 minutes a day. However, active people became less active.
  • The biggest increases in ridership were near stations with fewer lanes and more bus lines
  • Los Angeles' Metro lines will be longer than DC's if all goes as planned by 2020
  • Overall ridership has been increasing, and August was the best month for ridership on the Metro. KPCC reports that there were 27,000 weekday boardings that month for the Expo Line compared to 22,000 the year before.