The 2028 Olympics has sparked a transportation revamp in LA - Smart Cities Dive

In eight years, the world will descend on Los Angeles for the 2028 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. Due to the estimated magnitude of attendees and pressures for transportation efficiencies, the city is already looking at how to ready its roads and rails.

So far, local officials have plans to offer more driving alternatives and to cut emissions for improved air quality. With hundreds of thousands of athletes, coaches and spectators set to occupy the already congested city, the looming 2028 deadline may propel efforts to pursue and finalize private and government partnerships that could defray some of the plans' costs.

"We hope [the Olympics] unlock a spirit of collaboration and possibility across jurisdictions, across boundaries," Matt Petersen, president and CEO of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), told Smart Cities Dive.

Taking a strategic approach to funding

With a reputation as one of the world's most gridlocked cities, Los Angeles officials are already assessing ways to boost public transit and alternative transportation modes to alleviate pressure on city streets ahead of 2028.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) in June 2018 released its Vision 2028 plan, a strategic vision intended to guide the agency's overall strategy to improve mobility. This includes ensuring equitable access to high-quality modes, improving average bus travel speeds and reducing maximum wait times.

The plan envisages "a mobility system that enables people to travel swiftly and easily throughout the LA County region," but adds that "building new roadway capacity without managing the long-term demand for solo driving is not an enduring strategy for meeting the region’s rapidly evolving mobility needs."

In parallel to that, LA Metro’s Board of Directors approved its "Twenty-Eight by '28" plan, which identified 28 capital projects to complete in time for the Games. Those projects, which include a variety of road and transit plans in various stages of completion, are worth an estimated $42.9 billion. Seventeen of the projects have already had financing secured under Measure M, a half-cent sales tax to pay for various transportation fixes and upgrades.

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