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The intercity transportation system of Los Angelesmarker serves as a regional, national and international hub for passenger and freight traffic. The system includes the United States' largest port complex, an extensive freight and passenger rail infrastructure, numerous airports and an extensive highway system. The city also boasts a busy intracity commuter system composed of numerous freeways, roads, bus lines, light rail lines, subway lines and commuter rail lines.


Air transportation

In the Los Angeles metropolitan area there are six commercial airports and many more general-aviation airports.

The primary Los Angeles airport is Los Angeles International Airport marker. The fifth busiest commercial airport in the world and the third busiest in the United Statesmarker, LAX handled 61.9 million passengers, 1.884 million metric tons of cargo and 680,954 aircraft movements in 2007.

Other major nearby commercial airports include: LA/Ontario International Airportmarker (serves the Inland Empire); Bob Hope Airportmarker (formerly known as Burbank Airport; serves the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys); Long Beach Airportmarker (serves the Long Beach/Harbor area); John Wayne Airportmarker (serves the Orange County area); LA/Palmdale Regional Airportmarker (serves the northern outlying communities of the Santa Claritamarker and Antelope Valleysmarker although has little passenger traffic).

The world's busiest general-aviation airport is also located in Los Angeles, Van Nuys Airportmarker.

Intercity train services

Major freight rail lines in Los Angeles County, including the Alameda Corridor highlighted in pink
L.A.'s Union Stationmarker is the major regional train station for Amtrak, Metrolink and Metro Rail. The station is Amtrak's fifth busiest station having 1,464,289 Amtrak boardings and deboardings in 2006. Amtrak operates eleven daily round trips between San Diego and Los Angeles, five of which continue to Santa Barbaramarker. Two of those trips continue to San Luis Obispo. The Coast Starlight provides additional service on the route and beyond to the San Francisco Bay Areamarker, Sacramento, and on to Seattlemarker. Amtrak motor coaches connect from Los Angeles to the San Joaquin Route in Bakersfield with frequent service through the Central Valley of California. There is also daily service to Chicagomarker on the Southwest Chief, and three times a week to New Orleans on the Sunset Limited. Due to the effects from Hurricane Katrina, Sunset Limited service east of New Orleansmarker to Jacksonville, Floridamarker has been discontinued, although Amtrak is required by current Federal Law to develop a plan to reinstate the service.

Amtrak Pacific Surfliner trains stop at several locations in Los Angeles County, including Glendalemarker, Bob Hope Airport in Burbankmarker, Chatsworthmarker, and Van Nuys. Van Nuys Station in the community of Van Nuys serves northern portions of Los Angeles.

Because of the large volumes of import freight that flows into the city's port complex, Los Angeles is a major freight railroad hub. Freight is hauled by Union Pacific Railroad and BNSF Railway. The now-defunct Southern Pacific Railroad once served the Los Angeles area before merging with Union Pacific. The Alameda Corridor, a below-grade rail corridor connects the port to the city's main rail yards and to points further north and east.

Intercity highways

The major highway routes providing intercity connections are Interstate 5 (north to Sacramentomarker and south to San Diegomarker), Interstate 15 (north to Las Vegasmarker and south to San Diego), U.S. Route 101 (north to Santa Barbaramarker), and Interstate 10 (east to Phoenixmarker).

Intercity bus services

Greyhound Lines operates several stations within the city of Los Angeles:

Greyhound Lines operates stations in the following cities and areas surrounding Los Angeles:

Greyhound Lines also services bus stops at:


The Port of Los Angelesmarker is located in San Pedro Bay in the San Pedro neighborhood, approximately 20 miles (30 km) south of Downtownmarker. Also called Los Angeles Harbor and WORLDPORT L.A., the port complex occupies 7,500 acres (30 km²) of land and water along 43 miles (69 km) of waterfront. It adjoins the separate Port of Long Beachmarker.

The sea ports of the Port of Los Angelesmarker and Port of Long Beachmarker together make up the Los Angeles – Long Beach Harbor. There are also smaller, non-industrial harbors along L.A.'s coastline. Most of these like Redondo Beachmarker and Marina del Reymarker are used primarily by sailboats and yachts.

The Port of Los Angelesmarker along with the Port of Long Beachmarker comprise the largest seaport complex in the United Statesmarker and the fifth busiest in the world. Over 11 percent of United States international trade (by value) passes through the Los Angeles region and it the Los Angeles customs district collects over 37 percent of the nation’s import duties.The port includes four bridges: the Vincent Thomas Bridgemarker, Henry Ford Bridgemarker, Gerald Desmond Bridgemarker, and Commodore Schuyler F.marker Heim Bridgemarker.

Ferry services

There are ferries serving the offshore island community of Avalon, Californiamarker; they are mainly used for day excursions and to move supplies to Catalina Islandmarker.


A traffic jam on the Santa Monica Freeway, near the Robertson Boulevard exit

The City of Los Angeles is served by a large network of freeways, streets, and local and regional public transportation systems.


There are a dozen major freeways that crisscross the region. California's first freeway was the 110 Freeway, also known as the Pasadena Freeway or the Arroyo Seco Parkway. It opened in January 1, 1940 and links downtown Los Angeles to downtown Pasadena. From Chavez Ravine north to Pasadena can be quite dangerous because there is no shoulder, the lanes are narrow, the turns are sharp (and not always properly banked), and the ramps are quite short and offer little room for acceleration to freeway speed; all of this is because the freeway was designed for much slower cars of a different era and much less traffic volume than exists today. Commercial vehicles over 6,000 pounds are prohibited from using this freeway. More recent freeways are straighter, wider, and allow for higher speeds.

Major freeways of Los Angeles include:

Major highways of Los Angeles include:

Angelenos are noted for referring to freeways with the definite article ("The 101"), in contrast to most other areas of the United States, who omit the article. Referring to freeways by name, for example "The San Diego Freeway", is essentially a holdover from the time when the freeways were built, and is diminishing. Nevertheless, freeways continue to be officially named, and the 118 was recently christened The Ronald Reagan Freeway.

Rush hour

Rush hour occurs on weekdays between 6 a.m. and 11 a.m., and in the evening between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m.. Traffic can occur at almost any time, particularly before major holidays (including Thanksgiving, Christmas, and three-day weekends) and even on regular weekends when one otherwise would not expect it. Experienced Angelenos know that they need to factor traffic into their commute. A major selling point for the two news radio stations in Los Angeles is their frequent traffic reports.

The Texas Transportation Institute which publishes an annual Urban Mobility Report ranked Los Angeles road traffic as the most congested in the United States in 2005 as measured by annual delay per traveler. The average traveler in Los Angeles experienced 72 hours of traffic delay per year according to the study. Los Angeles was followed by San Franciscomarker/Oaklandmarker, Washington, D.C.marker and Atlantamarker, (each with 60 hours of delay).

Another study by the same organization in 1999 ranks the Los Angeles metropolitan area 31st among the 39 largest American metropolitan areas in freeway lane-miles per capita at .419 lane-miles per 1,000 people, 66% fewer than the U.S. metropolitan area most well endowed with freeway lane-miles per capita (Kansas Citymarker) and even fewer than many East Coast metropolitan areas with a reputation for traffic congestion such as Boston, Washington and Baltimore.[94899]

Despite the congestion in the city, the mean travel time for commuters in Los Angeles is shorter than other major cities, including New York Citymarker, Philadelphiamarker and Chicagomarker. Los Angeles' mean travel time for work commutes in 2006 was 29.2 minutes, similar to those of San Franciscomarker and Washington, DCmarker.

Streets, street layout, the boulevards, and street problems

The city has an extensive street grid. Arterial streets (referred to as surface streets by locals) connect freeways with smaller neighborhood streets, and are often used to bypass gridlocked freeway routes.

The block designations are divided by Main Street (east and west) south of Downtown Los Angeles and 1st Street. North of downtown, east and west street designations vary from street to street due to its mountain terrain.

From downtown Los Angeles to Long Beach, in a straight-down vertical pattern, east-west streets are numbered (starting with 1st Street in downtown, to 266th Street in Harbor Citymarker), and north-south streets are named. (1st St. is one block south of Temple.) There are many exceptions to the numbered streets, but the above pattern is generally used. This same numbered pattern is not mirrored north of Temple. Addresses are then numbered East or West stemming from Main St (a major north south artery). So the address of 1765 E. 107th St. is approximately 107 streets south of first street, and on the 17th street east of Main St. (This happens to be the address of the Watts Towers). Although the numbered streets are sequential, they do not necessarily equal the number of blocks south of first street, as there are streets such as 118th St. and then 118th Place.

Many of the numbered streets also continue into neighboring cities; but some cities, such as Manhattan Beach, have made their own numbered street grid. Also, some districts of Los Angeles, such as Wilmington, San Pedro, and Venice, have their own numbered street grids.

Many arterials have been labeled as boulevards, and many of those mentioned below have been immortalized in movies, music, and literature.

Major east-west routes include: Victory, Ventura, Hollywoodmarker, Sunset, Santa Monica, Beverly, Wilshire, Olympic, Pico, Venice, Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Exposition and Martin Luther King. The major north-south routes include: Topanga Canyon, Broadway, Reseda, Lincoln, Hawthorne, Sepulveda, Van Nuys, Westwood, Beverly Glen, San Vicente, Robertson, La Cienegamarker, Laurel Canyon, Crenshaw, and Glendale.

There are many other famous L.A. streets which carry significant traffic but are not labeled as boulevards. Examples include: Bundy Drive, Barrington Avenue, Centinela Avenue, Mulholland Drive, Pacific Coast Highway, Slauson Avenue, Century Park East, Avenue of the Stars, Highland Avenue, Melrose Avenue, Florence Avenue, Normandie Avenue, Vermont Avenue, La Brea Avenue, Fairfax Avenue, Western Avenue, Figueroa Street, Grand Avenue, Huntington Drive, Central Avenue, and Alameda Street. West Los Angeles has many streets named after states that run east and west. Somewhat confusingly, adjacent Santa Monica uses a few of the same state names for different streets of its own.

On foot

Pedestrians walking on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica
Despite the assertion of the popular song that "nobody walks in L.A.", 3.4% of Los Angeles residents commute to work by walking and Los Angeles residents walk for exercise at rates similar to those of other major U.S. cities.

There are a number of commercial areas that have been redeveloped in the past two decades specifically to accommodate pedestrian traffic. Old Town Pasadena was redeveloped in the late 1980s by moving parking off Colorado Boulevard so as to make the street pedestrian-focused. Likewise, the Third Street Promenademarker in Santa Monicamarker was closed off to vehicular traffic altogether in 1965 and revitalized with improved pedestrian amenities in 1988. Downtown Los Angelesmarker has numerous public escalators and skyways, such as the Bunker Hill steps to facilitate pedestrian traffic in the traffic-laden and hilly terrain.

Downtown Los Angeles is one of two neighborhoods in Los Angeles ranked as a "walker's paradise" (with walk scores 90 or above) by The other is Mid-City West, which encompasses the area of the city immediately south of West Hollywoodmarker and east of Beverly Hillsmarker.

Nevertheless, much of Los Angeles remains pedestrian unfriendly. A large percentage of sidewalks in the City of Los Angeles (43% or of the 10,600 total miles) are in ill repair stemming from the City Council passing an ordinance in 1973 that relieved property owners of responsibility for repair of sidewalks damaged by roots, while failing to concurrently allocate funds for city repairs of such sidewalks. The city began dedicating funds for sidewalk repairs in 2000, but the backlog created by the twenty-six year repair hiatus is severe.

Mass transit

The primary regional public transportation agency is the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA), commonly referred to as Metro or MTA. The agency, which operates bus, light rail and subway services, averages 1.6 million transit trips per weekday, making it the third largest transit agency in the United States. Other municipal transportation agencies in Los Angeles County (LADOT, Long Beach Transit, Montebello Bus Lines, Norwalk Transit, Redondo Beach, Santa Monicamarker's Big Blue Bus, Santa Clarita Transit, Torrance Transit and Foothill Transit) have an additional 405,000 average weekday boardings.

In February 2008, LACMTA introduced a new universal fare system called 'TAP' which stands for Transit Access Pass. The TAP smart card allows bus and rail passengers to tap their cards on the farebox for faster boarding. TAP readers have already been installed on buses and rail stations next to ticket vending machines. Because Metro Rail is a barrier free system, fare inspectors will be checking to make sure TAP users have validated their card use a wireless handheld unit. This automated fare system will eventually be implemented on eleven other Los Angeles County transit operators and intends to replace the EZ Pass which allows travel between these transit agencies for one monthly price. Commuters from surrounding cities and communities will be able to travel across the county switching from one transit operator's system to another using one smart card to pay for fares.


The extensive bus system operated by LACMTA includes the Metro Local, Metro Rapid, and Metro Express services. The buses have an estimated 1.3 million boardings on the weekdays. Including other municipal bus operators, Los Angeles County averages 1.7 million bus boardings per weekday, accounting for approximately 5.9% of the 29 million daily trips originating in Los Angeles County.

LACMTA has bus rapid transit system called the Orange Line, that runs from Warner Center/Woodland Hillsmarker to the North Hollywoodmarker Red Line station, began operations on October 29, 2005. For 13 of its stretch (21 km of its 22.5 km stretch), the articulated buses, built by North American Bus Industries and dubbed Metro Liners, operate on bus-only lanes that follow an old railroad right-of-way. Portions of the route parallel Chandler and Victory Boulevards, and Oxnard Street.

Foothill Transit also operates a bus rapid transit system called the Silver Streak, which runs from Montclairmarker to Downtown Los Angelesmarker along the El Monte Busway on Interstate 10.

Metro Rail

Map of Westside Metro rail system including lines under construction (Exposition line Phase I in Aqua) and under consideration showing alternatives as of May 2008 (Purple line including Santa Monica Boulevard option in pink)
Between its light rail and heavy rail systems, Los Angeles Metro Rail has miles of rail, averaging 308,653 trips per weekday, and accounting for approximately 1.1% of the 29 million daily trips originating in Los Angeles County. The network includes three above-ground light rail lines (Gold Line, Blue Line, and Green Line) and one underground subway with two branches (Red Line and Purple Line). Ranked by daily ridership, the Los Angeles subway ranked as the ninth-busiest rapid transit system in the United States. Ranked by passengers per route mile, however, the system ranks sixth, transporting 8,846 passengers per route mile, more than San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit or the Chicago 'L'.

The Los Angeles Metro Rail system connects disperse areas of the county including Long Beachmarker, Pasadenamarker, Norwalk, El Segundomarker, North Hollywoodmarker and Downtown Los Angelesmarker. As of June 2008, two additional light rail lines were under construction: the Expo Line's first phase from Downtown Los Angeles to Culver Citymarker and an extension of the Gold Line from Union Station to East Los Angeles. There are additional rail expansion projects currently under study. The timing of their construction will depend on the availability of funding. These projects include:
  • New light rail line through the Crenshaw Corridor
  • Further extension of the Gold Line from Pasadena to Azusa
  • Second phase of the Expo line to Santa Monicamarker
  • Westward extension of the Purple Line subway

Commuter Rail

Also serving Los Angeles and several surrounding counties is Metrolink, a regional commuter rail service. Metrolink averages 42,600 trips per weekday.

Bicycle travel

Bicycling accounts for less than one percent (0.6%) of all work commutes There are extended stretches of "bicycle paths" such as the Los Angeles River bicycle path, which runs from Burbank to Long Beach, with only a brief hiatus through downtown.


Commuting statistics for major U.S. cities in 2006
In 2006, of the 4,423,725 workers aged 16 or older in Los Angeles County, 72.0% commuted to work driving alone, 11.9% commuted by driving in a carpool and 7.0% commuted on public transportation. 64.9% of public transportation commuters were non-white, 70.2% were Hispanic and 67.6% were foreign born. 75.5% of public transportation commuters earned less than $25,000. However, only 32.7% of public transportation commuters had no vehicle available to them for their commute.

In the same year, for the City of Los Angeles, of the 1,721,778 workers aged 16 or older, 63.3% commuted to work driving alone, 11.5% commuted by driving in a carpool and 11.0% commuted by public transportation. The percentage of population using public transport in Los Angeles is lower than other large U.S. cities such as Chicagomarker and New Yorkmarker, but similar to or higher than other western U.S. cities such as Portlandmarker and Houstonmarker. 63.8% of public transportation commuters in the City of Los Angeles in 2006 were non-white, 75.1% were Hispanic and 73.9% were foreign born. 79.4% of public transportation commuters earned less than $25,000 and 37.6% had no vehicle available to them for their commute.


This city has few inter/intra-city hubs and continues to rely on the outdated perception that everyone wants to go to/from Downtown. In contrast, Metropolitan Tokyomarker which is about the same size and seismic zone as LA County, has multiple inter/intra-city hubs like Shinjuku and Ueno which allows ease of commuting to various regions throughout its metropolitan area. The only major hub for Los Angeles is downtown and Union Station, while leaving the entire Westside, LAX, South Bay and the San Fernando Valley without any hubs of their own.

Despite LAX being one of the largest aiports in the world by passenger volume, LAX itself lacks any reliable transportation method and lacks vision for the future. It currently does not have a direct rail link to the airport. It has no plans for a direct air-to-rail transfer station for the California High Speed Rail to alleviate any of the commuter jet problems linking LAX to outlying areas such as San Diego, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, and Fresno. Instead, the city council and the Metro system continues to rely on the singular Downtown LA method.

See also


  1. Los Angeles World Airports
  2. Amtrak National Facts. Accessed July 2, 2008
  3. " Greybegale Station," Greybegal Lines
  4. " Los Angeles Greyhound Station," Greybeagle Lines
  5. " Los Angeles Wall, CA," Greyhound Lines
  6. " North Hollywood Greyhound Station," Greyhound Lines
  7. " Anaheim Greyhound Station," Greyhound Lines
  8. " Compton Greyhound Station," Greyhound Lines
  9. " El Monte Greyhound Station," Greyhound Lines
  10. " El Monte AAU," Greyhound Lines
  11. " Glendale Greyhound Station," Greyhound Lines
  12. " Lancaster Greyhound Station," Greyhound Lines
  13. " Long Beach Greyhound Station," Greyhound Lines
  14. " Los Angeles Olympic, California," Greyhound Lines
  15. " Pasadena Greyhound Station," Greyhound Lines
  16. " Santa Ana Greyhound Station," Greyhound Lines
  17. " Santa Ana Main Street, CA," Greyhound Lines
  18. " Locations: California," Greyhound Lines
  19. Texas Transportation Institute Urban Mobility Report 2007, Table 1
  20. "You won't see a cop walkin' on the beat / You only see 'em drivin' cars out on the street / You won't see a kid walkin' home from school / Their mothers pick 'em up in a car pool / Nobody's walkin' walkin' walkin' walkin—nobody walks in LA"Missing Persons, "Walking in LA"
  21. CDC Walking for Exercise Prevalence Statistics 2000
  22. History of Third Street Promenade
  23. Maguire Properties description of U.S. Bank Tower
  24. Los Angeles's Most Walkable Neighborhoods
  25. Zahniser, David, "City to pass the bucks on sidewalks?", Los Angeles Times, Feb. 21,2008

External links

Bicycling groups

The Los Angeles Wheelmen (open to men and women) have been riding together since 1945.
  • BikeBoom presents a public calendar of bicycle events in Los Angeles. Add your own events and check out what's happening.
  • Cyclists Inciting Change through Live Exchange (CICLE) s a non-profit organization, based in Los Angeles that actively seeks to promote the bicycle as a viable, healthy, and sustainable transportation choice. Its site features bicycle related news and events. It also presents bicycle related propaganda.
  • The Concerned Off Road Bikers Association (CORBA) lobbies for access to single-track in the Greater Los Angeles area, provides education to mountain-bikers and constructs trails.
  • The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) is a non-profit 501(c)3 volunteer organization which advocates for infrastructure and regulatory improvements in the county on behalf of its members. Among recent success have been the gaining of access to MTA subway/light-rail during off-peak hours for bicycles and the partial construction of the L.A. River Bikepath.
  • The Bicycle Kitchen is a grassroots volunteer organization which provides access to equipment and expertise in bicycle repair and maintenance.

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