FAQs

Here is the complete list of FAQs about LA Sky Rail Express:

Disclaimer: Because Metro has not completed a CEQA review, the information contained herein does not constitute or evidence an approval by Metro of, or commitment of Metro to, any action for which prior environmental review is required under CEQA.  Metro retains the absolute sole discretion to make decisions under CEQA, which discretion includes, without limitation (i) deciding not to proceed with the Project (known as the “no build” alternative) and (ii) deciding to approve the Project. There will be no approval or commitment by Metro regarding the development of the Project, unless and until Metro, as the Lead Agency, and based upon information resulting from the CEQA environmental review process, considers the impacts of the Project.

 

This is not the official website for project information.

 

For official information regarding the Project, please visit Metro’s project website:  https://www.metro.net/projects/sepulvedacorridor/. Only comments made on Metro’s website will become part of the official administrative record for the Project.

 

The Los Angeles SkyRail Express (LASRE) Team is committed, as this project advances, to continue to evolve our processes and will notify you of any further updates as we move ahead. The points expressed in this document represent the point of view of the LASRE team. Everything stated herein is entirely factual and based on designs that are contained in the three LASRE PCA alternatives.

 

The Environmental Review Process being conducted by Metro will give evaluators the opportunity to examine the details contained in the proposals being considered.

QUESTION: How will SkyRail serve UCLA?

 

Answer: Recognizing the importance of connectivity to UCLA, the LASRE Alignments (Alt. 1-3, as per references in the LA Metro NOP) were developed with input from UCLA stakeholders. Because of the mandates of the Environmental Evaluation process for this PDA phase, Metro requires a range of feasible project alterntives to be considered. Each of the LASRE alternatives facilitate connectivity to serve this important destination that will generate many journeys. LASRE alternatives would provide a new transit connection from the main alignment to UCLA via electric bus, elevated SkyShuttle (APM), or an underground monorail within the main route. The ultimate choice of which  alternative is selected is decided by Metro’s Board.

 

a)     Alt. 1’s mainline SkyRail stop here will be west of the I-405 with a planned pedestrian connection to the VA Station. Riders would transfer and board  a new dedicated fleet of low-floor, battery-electric buses (e-buses) to provide frequent service to and from the mainline and the center of the UCLA campus in the Luskin Center area.

 

b)     The LASRE project team also developed Alt. 2, which includes an aerial alignment for a new automated people mover (APM) using state-of-the-art battery electric SkyShuttle technology to provide a high-frequency, ecologically sustainable (as per BYD vehicle specifications) connection to and from the mainline with two (2) stations located on the western side of the UCLA campus (Lot 36) and in the Pauley Pavilion and Dykstra Hall area.  The transfer between the SkyRail mainline and the high service frequency APM would occur at Wilshire Blvd and Veteran Ave, near or on UCLA Lot 36.

 

c)     An underground tunnel alignment from the Getty Center Station to UCLA was also developed as Alt. 3, in collaboration and engagements with the UCLA. This alternative would include an underground station adjacent to the Luskin Center, and an aerial station along the western side of Lot 36 at the Wilshire Boulevard (Metro D [Purple Line] Station, and was included in LASRE’s Alternative 3.

Q: Can SkyRail meet the high speed and high-capacity requirements of the Sepulveda Corridor? If so, at what speed,  capacity, and frequency?

 

A: The LA SkyRail Express’ (LASRE) project concept alternatives (PCAs, or “Alternatives”) currently under consideration meet Metro’s stated parameters for capacity, speed, and service frequency objectives for the Sepulveda Transit Corridor (STC) project.  Key performance metrics include:

 

a)     The LASRE Alternatives rely on 2 minutes (120 seconds) headway and would provide capacity equal-or-greater than Metro’s requirement for 12,000 passengers per hour per direction (pphpd)

                                  I.         Initial capacity for LASRE Alternatives on opening day would be 14,000 pphpd, and

                                II.         Ultimate capacity would be 19,000 pphpd and up to 25,000 pphpd (if operated at 90-second headways with added trains)

b)     The LASRE Alternatives would operate at 65mph (with a higher speed capability of up to 75 mph), with a 24-minute end-to-end travel time.

c)     The network capacity required for the Sepulveda Transit Corridor (STC) is well within the capability of this technology. As a matter of fact, monorail projects across the globe are in commissioning stages for 45,000 pphpd, and more.

Q: Can the system be extended to LAX and if so, when?

 

A: Though not currently under study, the Sepulveda Transit Corridor is intended to be extended further south at a later date. LASRE’s alternatives are designed to accommodate future extension south to the South Bay area, including Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), consistent with Metro’s Measure M expenditure plan. The connection from West Los Angeles at the D (Purple Line) to LAX has a projected opening date of 2057, per the Measure M ordinance. Implementation of a new transit connection to LAX also corresponds to Phase 3 of the Sepulveda/Interstate (I) 405 Corridor Improvement Project.

Q: Which companies constitute the LASRE Team?

 

A: The LASRE project team is led by:

  • John Laing: Equity Member and the leading Public-Private Partnership (P3) transit project developer in North America;
  • BYD: Equity Member, Technology Supplier and Systems Integrator, Co-Lead Operation & Maintenance (O&M) Contractor, and the world’s leading supplier of electric transportation products and vehicles;
  • Skanska: Lead Construction Contractor and one of the world’s top Design & Build contractors;
  • ACI: Co-Lead O&M Contractor and America’s leading private O&M firm;
  • HDR: Lead Engineer and one of America’s largest employee-owned engineering firms;
  • Gensler: Lead Architect and one of the world’s largest and most respected design firms;
  • Innova: Lead Structural Engineer and a certified DBE firm that provides specialized monorail structural design.

Q: Where is the LASRE team based?

 

A: Most of the member firms are either based in Los Angeles or have a longstanding and significant presence here. John Laing, BYD, Gensler, HDR and BYD have over 2,300 employees in Los Angeles County, including:

  • John Laing’s regional leadership is based in Los Angeles with an office in downtown Los Angeles;
  • Skanska has been performing heavy civil transportation work in Southern California for over 100 years and have worked on over $4.3B in transportation projects since 2015;
  • BYD’s downtown LA office is the headquarters for North & South American operations, and produces battery-electric buses for U.S. transit agencies at its LA County plant;
  • HDR’s downtown LA office has provided engineering services for major transportation and infrastructure projects for over 48 years; 
  • Gensler’s downtown LA office has provided an array of architectural, design and consulting services across the North American region and beyond.

Q: How many jobs does LASRE estimate its proposed alternatives would create?

 

A: LASRE anticipates that the implementation of the LASRE Alternatives will create tens of thousands of jobs during construction. In 2017, The American Public Transit Association (APTA) estimated that rapid transit construction generates an average of 13,210 jobs per $1 billion of expenditure (combining both construction and manufacturing jobs). This equates to up to 123,500 jobs related to construction and manufacturing. To the maximum extent possible, and to align with the requirements of Buy America, new jobs will be sourced from local communities, with specialized training, and with close partnerships with organized labor.

Q: How much would LASRE‘s proposed Alternatives cost?

 

A: At this time, the preliminary Capital Cost estimate to implement Alternate 1 is $6.1 Billion, and is well within Metro’s budget for Measure M. The respective O&M Cost estimate is $44 Million per year. Cost estimates for LASRE’s Alternatives 2 & 3 will be available in the future.

Q: What will be the travel time? 

 

A: From the Van Nuys Metrolink Station to the Exposition Boulevard (Metro E [Expo] Line) Station, the end-to-end travel time for the LASRE Alternatives are estimated at 24 minutes (inclusive of a 30-second dwell time in each station). In the future, the extension of LASRE Alternatives from the San Fernando Valley to the LAX Station is estimated at 29.9 minutes (inclusive of station dwell times).

Q: Will the trains create additional noise/vibration within the residential neighborhoods along the corridor?

 

A: A rubber-tired straddle-type monorail has substantially less emitted noise & vibration than any steel-wheeled guided transit technology. Furthermore, the vehicles are equipped with side skirts that cover the tires which further reduce noise emissions. By operating mostly within the I-405 median, the incremental noise effect of the monorail will be negligible as compared to the existing ambient freeway noise. System noise and vibration, along with potential mitigations are being fully studied as part of the environmental clearance process.

Q: How many unions will be involved in construction of LASRE?

 

A: The LASRE team has assumed from the beginning that this project will be built and operated & maintained through collaborative agreements with organized labor – which also is fully consistent with Metro’s policies. This will be facilitated by the fact that key Team members already have compiled strong track records working successfully with organized labor, including Skanska’s strong working relationships with local unions involved in construction, and BYD’s strong working relationships with local unions involved in vehicle manufacturing.

Q: Why should we support this in view of the fact that it won’t go to the South Bay and LAX  until at least 2057?

 

A: An elevated urban straddle type monorail guideway in comparison with a predominantly underground tunnel provides a fundamentally lower cost and faster construction schedule due to  the simple nature of the elevated guideway, segmented precast guideway beams, and constructed above ground with minimal utility conflict risk.

 

Regardless of the decision by Metro as to when the second phase of the project (between the westside and LAX) may be constructed, the elevated guideway structure of LASRE’s alternatives will provide the lowest cost and fastest construction schedule to the Metro, the tax payers and the travelling public.

 

Assuming LA Metro selects LA SkyRail Express (LASRE), our proposed Alternatives can go to the South Bay and connect with LAX much sooner – even as an integral part of the entire project. 

Q: Is monorail proven technology for use in urban environments where line-haul high- capacity service is needed?

 

A: To realize our vision for the Sepulveda Transit Corridor (STC) Project, LA SkyRail Express (LASRE) selected SkyRail™ technology. SkyRail is the world’s most advanced, driverless, straddle-type monorail system, representing the state-of-the-art monorail technology that has evolved over nearly 60 years from an amusement park ride to a service proven, high-capacity, sustainable, urban rapid transit solution — a technology family that has become the new system of choice in several of the world’s largest modern cities, all of which already had Heavy Rail Transit (HRT), including São Paulo, Bangkok, Cairo, Tokyo and Chongqing.

 

As a matter of fact, the International Monorail Association lists straddle-type urban monorail transit systems in 42 cities around the world totaling 269 miles, with over 400 stations, and states that they are carrying millions of passengers each day.

 

Following a seven-year development program, LASRE team member BYD released SkyRail technology for urban applications in 2016. In only four years since then, BYD has constructed five new systems, and recently has been awarded its first two major urban projects in the Americas (in Salvador and  São Paulo, Brazil).

Q: How would monorail operation cope in emergency situations?

 

A: Although high-capacity monorails are generally highly reliable, the LASRE team will contractually commit to stringent O&M KPIs with very high availability metrics for the course of the 30-year O&M phase under this project.

 

Furthermore as a major public transit system, the monorails are subject to conformance with all applicable safety and operational codes similar to all other traditional guided (rail) transit systems. These compliances are considered early on in the design cycle to assure that all anticipated & foreseen degraded (failure) modes are by design and by procedure are acceptable and are agreed with the first-responder authorities. All such references are well established across the globe for operating monorail transit systems.

 

For example, emergency evacuation walkways are provided throughout the guideway in compliance with the same codes and standards that other technologies. Nonetheless, in almost all cases, the safest place for passengers will be in the vehicles and the stations. For example, in case of a regional power outage, the on-board batteries of the SkyRail system will provide power to move the train to the closest available station so the passengers can safely alight. In the very rare case where a train may become immobile, another monorail train can pull/push the disabled train to the nearest station. Other operational procedures would be defined and developed in accordance with the needs of the Sepulveda Transit Corridor procedure for degraded (failure) mode management in due course for acceptance by the respective authorities.

Q: How energy efficient is the LASRE SkyRail? 

 

A: The following factors would allow the LASRE Alternatives to operate with more energy efficiency than any other form of other rail alternatives:

  • Trains are roughly 30% lighter, such that correspondingly less energy is needed to propel the monorail;
  • The LASRE Alternatives include containerized, rechargeable, long-life batteries configured in energy storage facilities that are highly safe & efficient in capturing the energy generated by the electric motors when trains decelerate. Studies have estimated that this factor alone can reduce energy consumption by up to 30%.
  • Trains are streamlined and thereby create less wind resistance.
  • The structures are lighter and their simple design elegance requires far less resources and energy to construct – and to maintain. Therefore the lifecycle energy demand is compellingly lower

Q:  What is the minimum turning radius for SkyRail?

 

A: The minimum turning radius is about 150 feet, which is much less than subway systems, and as such, it provides maximum alignment flexibility, while at the same time greatly reducing construction impacts, property acquisition, and relocations.

Q: What is it that makes SkyRail so light weight?

 

A: First, the vehicles themselves are lighter weight – roughly 30% lighter per foot as compared to the Metro’s new CRRC subway cars. This arises from at least two key factors:

·       Monorail vehicles use much lighter weight structural frames than traditional rail vehicles. This is because the traditional rail vehicle frames must support the very heavy “trucks, or bogies” that contain the steel wheels and electric motors.

·       To the contrary, straddle monorail vehicles typically are much lower profile because they actually do “straddle” the guide beams, and because they do not require those large and very heavy bogies. There is also no need for heavy steel tracks needed for other traditional guided transit systems.

 

Second, from an overall system perspective, the monorail’s elevated guideway structures are far lighter, less costly, and faster and easier to construct than comparable elevated structures required by traditional rail vehicles. LASRE’s structural engineers estimate that the monorail structure requires roughly half the concrete and steel. This then translates to further cost, and environmental benefits not possible by non-monorail transit systems.

Q: How long are the stations?

 

A: This depends upon the maximum train length required to meet the proposed project’s peak passenger capacity. As an example, the Red and Purple Line subway stations in Los Angeles County are 450 feet long, and at their current scheduled headways, the Red and Purple Lines provide only a fraction of the peak line capacity peak capacity articulated for the Sepulveda Transit Corridor (12,000 pphpd initial and 19,000 pphpd ultimate capacity).

 

LASER’s SkyRail Alternatives with eight-car vehicles operating on 2-minute headways, which would require stations to be only about 330 feet long. In this configuration, SkyRail would provide a peak line capacity of about nearly 19,000 pphpd (at the same standee crowding level as the subway, as specified  here in the United States). The monorail system is able (if required) to operate on a 90-second headway that would further increase the line capacity without the need to expand the vehicle consist or lengthening the station platforms.

 

However if Metro were to demand a much higher future passenger capacity (borne out of the factors affecting the future ridership figures, etc.), the SkyRail system can be easily adapted in the design phase to cope with such demands – the technology is not at all limited; it is a matter of dimensioning the design to serve the area at whatever level Metro might deem fit.

Proudly powered by WordPress | Foresight theme designed by thingsym