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Harbor Subdivision Transit Corridor Study masthead

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the Harbor Subdivision Transit Corridor?

The Harbor Subdivision is a Metro-owned railroad right-of-way (ROW) in southwestern Los Angeles County, spanning approximately 26 miles from south of downtown Los Angeles to the Wilmington area.  The Subdivision begins at Redondo Junction and heads southwest to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), paralleling Slauson Avenue, Florence Avenue, and Aviation Boulevard for much of its route.  At LAX, the alignment turns southeast, traversing the South Bay area before ending near the Carson/Los Angeles border just north of the Port of Los Angeles. Metro is currently performing an Alternatives Analysis (AA) to evaluate potential transit alternatives that could be operated along the corridor.

What is an Alternatives Analysis (AA)?

An AA identifies and evaluates a broad range of potential transit improvements within a specified study area.  These transit alternatives are screened against predetermined criteria, and those that best meet these criteria and fulfill the transportation related goals and objectives of the study area are selected for further consideration.  The alternatives evaluated include various transit modes (such as light rail and bus rapid transit) and alignments to determine how best to meet the future travel demands in the corridor.


Does the Crenshaw Transit Corridor project plan on using the Harbor Subdivision right-of-way (ROW)?

Yes.  The Crenshaw Transit Corridor project is planning to use the Harbor Subdivision ROW between Crenshaw Boulevard and Imperial Highway, a segment of about five miles.  However, this does not prevent the Harbor Subdivision project from examining those alternatives that may share this part of the Corridor with the Crenshaw service.

The Harbor Subdivision right-of-way (ROW) ends south of major destinations in downtown Los Angeles and north of destinations in San Pedro and Long Beach in the Harbor area.  Are there plans to connect these two areas to the transit corridor?

The study is investigating several “off-corridor” alignments that would connect the Harbor Subdivision ROW to Union Station in the north and downtown San Pedro or Long Beach in the south.

Will the Harbor Subdivision Transit Corridor connect to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)? 

Passenger service along the Harbor Subdivision could connect to LAX via two options.  The first option has the Harbor Subdivision trains stop at a proposed transportation center at the corner of Century and Aviation Boulevards, with service into the LAX terminal area provided by a proposed automated people mover train currently being planned by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA).  A second option proposes to bring Harbor Subdivision trains directly into the LAX Central Terminal Area via a new alignment paralleling Century Boulevard or other nearby streets.  This second option would need to be funded by others such as LAWA or a private entity.  Both options are being studied as part of the Harbor Subdivision project to determine an optimal connection to LAX.

How long would it take to get to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) from Los Angeles Union Station via the Harbor Subdivision?

An express train from Union Station to the central terminal areas of LAX would likely make the trip in 15 to 25 minutes.

Will service likely span from downtown Los Angeles to San Pedro/Long Beach?

An alternative being carried forward into the detailed AA evaluation phase is a regional service that extends from San Pedro or Long Beach to Union Station. This service would likely use Freight-Compatible Self-Propelled Railcars or conventional commuter rail vehicles and operate on existing freight tracks.



Where will stations be located?

Potential station locations along the Harbor Subdivision right-of-way and potential off-corridor alignments are currently under study.  For the local alternatives, stations are generally spaced one mile apart along the Corridor while the regional alternative would have stations located approximately four miles apart.  Depending on the type of transit service selected, stations could be located in downtown Los Angeles, the Slauson Corridor, Inglewood, around Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), El Segundo, Redondo Beach, Torrance, Carson, the San Pedro and Wilmington communities in Los Angeles, and Long Beach.  Station locations will be further refined as the Harbor Subdivision Alternatives Analysis Study progresses.

How will stations accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists? 

The study features a station area planning and urban design element. The purpose of these tasks is to investigate station amenities needed to facilitate all modes of access to and from stations, including pedestrian and bicycle. Careful consideration will be given to station access requirements and the arrangement of station pathways and amenities to best facilitate multimodal circulation.


Modal Technologies/Types of Transit Service

What transit modes are being considered?

  • What are Self-Propelled Railcars?
  • Is Metrolink-type service being considered?

Light Rail Transit (LRT), LRT-Compatible Self-Propelled Railcars (SPR), Freight-Compatible Self-Propelled Railcars, Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) trains and Commuter Rail (Metrolink) technologies are being considered for service along the Harbor Subdivision corridor.  LRT trains are identical to the vehicles currently running on Metro’s Blue, Green, and Gold Lines.  Self-Propelled Railcars are similar to LRT, but are powered by on-board, clean-burning engines instead of overhead electrical wires.  Fuel sources often include clean diesel, natural gas, hybrid technology, or other non-electric sources.  EMU technology is also similar to LRT, but EMU trains are larger, provide greater passenger capacity, operate at higher speeds and serve long distance trips.  Commuter Rail is the type of service currently provided by Metrolink in Southern California, with locomotives pulling passenger rail coaches on longer-distance routes. 

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) was initially considered as a modal alternative, but was eliminated from further consideration primarily because it has little travel time benefit over existing transit service due to the need for extensive on-street operation in mixed flow traffic lanes, and issues associated with sharing the corridor with existing freight rail traffic.

What is the difference in travel speed, reliability and number of passengers carried for each modal technology being considered?

Generally, Light Rail Transit (LRT) and LRT-Compatible Self-Propelled Railcars have lower operating speeds and less passenger capacity than more regional modes, such as Freight-Compatible Self-Propelled Railcars, Electric Multiple Unit trains or Commuter Rail.  All of these modes have similar reliability. 

Which transit modes are compatible with the existing local and regional transit system?

Light Rail Transit (LRT) vehicles, which currently operate on the Metro Green, Blue and Gold Lines, could utilize the infrastructure of other existing and planned Metro light rail lines, potentially providing through or continuing service. It is possible that LRT-Compliant Self-Propelled Railcars (SPR) could be procured so that they can also operate on existing and planned light rail tracks.  In addition, commuter rail vehicles, which currently operate along Metrolink’s transit network, would be able to provide through service to Metrolink’s service routes originating at Union Station.  It is also possible that Freight-Compatible Self-Propelled Railcars and Electric Multiple Unit trains may be procured so they can also operate on Metrolink’s infrastructure.

Will local service or express service be considered?

The study is exploring local, regional and express transit services throughout the corridor.  Alternatives include local service in both the northern and southern portions of the corridor, regional service from Union Station to San Pedro or Long Beach and an express service option traveling between Union Station and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).


Environmental/Safety Concerns

What are the air quality impacts of the various modal technologies?

Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) trains are electrified modal technologies that produce no emissions.  Self-Propelled Railcars and Commuter Rail vehicles have comparable emission levels when operating with clean-burning fuel-powered engines and locomotives. 

What are the noise/vibration impacts of the various modes being examined?

Community impacts like noise/vibration are part of the study’s alternatives evaluation criteria and will be investigated in greater detail in the environmental impact analysis phase of the study. Both federal and state environmental law requires that impacts from a proposed project be identified and potentially mitigated.

Will both passenger and freight service operate on the Harbor Subdivision Transit Corridor?

Yes.  The Burlington North Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway has freight operating rights throughout the corridor.  However, freight service on the Harbor Subdivision has diminished with the opening of the Alameda Corridor in 2002. The design of passenger rail service along the Harbor Subdivision will be done to minimize interactions and conflicts between passenger and freight rail service.



Is the Harbor Subdivision Transit Corridor funded in Measure R?

The entire Harbor Subdivision corridor is not funded as a single project in Measure R.  However, projects utilizing portions of the Harbor Subdivision right-of-way are funded through Measure R.  These include the Crenshaw Transit Corridor and the Green Line Extension South to the South Bay.


Study Process/Timeline

How will preferred alignments and modes be selected?

Preferred alignments and modal technologies will be selected using a variety of performance measures, including:

  • Cost-Effectiveness
  • Ridership/User Benefits
  • Travel Time
  • Reliability
  • Regional and System Connectivity
  • Transit Accessibility
  • Vehicle Efficiency
  • Intermodal Compatibility
  • Transportation System Benefits/Impacts
  • Traffic/Intersection Operations
  • Noise Impacts
  • Access to Community Services
  • Transit Supportive Land Use
  • Economic Development/Redevelopment
  • Environmental Benefits/Impacts
  • Financial Feasibility
  • Safety and Security
  • Compatibility with Community Standards

Can Metro make a presentation to my neighborhood or business organization?

To make a request, please call 213.922.4004 or email HarborSubdivision@metro.net.  A Metro representative will contact you to arrange a meeting or invite you to a meeting planned in your area.

When is the Harbor Subdivision Transit Corridor project expected to be built?

Construction is dependent on funding.  Portions of the corridor that are funded by Measure R, such as the Crenshaw Transit Corridor project and Metro Green Line extension, will likely move forward first.  However, a specific construction schedule cannot be determined at this time.