Hot on the heels of a study proclaiming Los Angeles to be one of the best cities for public transit commuting comes another study focused on one of the worst places for car commuting: the 405. After five years of construction (that included two Carmageddons), the freeway debuted a brand new, very expensive, 10-mile carpool lane in May, and the results are in: commute times are actually one minute slower than before. The data from traffic analysts INRIX via County Supe Zev Yaroslavsky's website compares speeds in September 2013 (when only 1.7 miles of the carpool lane had opened) with speed in September 2014.
The study looked at the northbound 405, between the 10 and the 101 Freeways, over a two-week period; samplings were taken between 4 and 7 pm. They found was that traversing that stretch of the highway took 35 minutes, which suggests average speeds of 16 miles an hour. That total time is one minute more than it would have taken in 2013.
Considering that more people are employed than they were during the earlier samples, there are probably more cars on the road during rush hour than there were a year ago, although there's also lots of evidence that creating more capacity for cars just leads to more people driving. Still, a rep for INRIX tries to put a happy face on it: "People are spending money, they're going to restaurants—all that stuff contributes to more traffic on the roads."
Rush hour does to be ending a little bit earlier, though—in the last hour of rush hour, a drive that used to take 28 minutes now only takes about 23 minutes. It's not a lot, but it's something. A new express bus connecting the Valley to Westwood will start running on the carpool lane soon, which take a few of those cars back off the road.
· 405 speeds little changed [ZY]
· So How is Traffic on the Brand New, Wider 405 Freeway? [Curbed LA]
· 405 Freeway [Curbed LA]