The Metro Rapid Demonstration Program was initiated in March 1999 by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority's (MTA's) Board of Directors following an initial feasibility study. The feasibility study recommended that MTA, in partnership with the City of Los Angeles conduct a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) demonstration along a couple of corridors that have strong ridership and unique characteristics to determine if it would be feasible to deploy a full-scale BRT program within the MTA system. The two transit lines chosen for the demonstration were
- Line 720 Wilshire/Whittier
- Line 750 Ventura
The demonstration project included the implementation of a transit priority system (TPS) within the two corridors encompassing 211 traffic signals. The TPS project serves to improve the on-time performance of the Metro Rapid buses by adjusting the signal timing at intersections as their approach is detected. This project also included control of dynamic passenger information signs at selected bus shelters along the routes to provide real-time bus arrival information. MTA management used the arrival information, proven to be accurate within one minute, to record travel times for each bus run.
Detailed engineering studies were conducted which not only measured the effectiveness of the project, but also its impacts on general automotive traffic.
- Total transit time savings were reduced by 25 percent.
- Delays caused by traffic signals were reduced by 33 percent.
- Overall travel speeds for buses on Wilshire Boulevard improved by 29 percent.
- Overall travel speeds for buses on Ventura Boulevard improved by 23 percent.