Wasserman Cautions Against Overinvesting in Rail

Jacob Wasserman, research project manager at the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies, spoke to the Los Angeles Business Journal about the explosion of rail construction projects in Los Angeles. Four major rail projects are currently under construction in L.A. County, with several more projects in the pipeline. “For the modern era, this is a huge investment in rail transportation on the scale rarely seen in recent memory,” Wasserman said. However, rail transit ridership has been steadily declining in L.A. County, a trend that was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, Wasserman cautioned against overly investing in rail. “Remember, the vast majority of people taking transit in L.A. County take the bus, so the rail system has drawn a disproportionate amount of funding and resources,” he said. “Rail should be reserved for those instances where the congestion and density are high enough that there’s a demonstrable time savings over other modes of travel.”

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