Network is World’s First to Facilitate Lane Sharing for Lightweight, Zero–Emission Vehicles with Standard Motorized Vehicles on Existing, Low-Speed Streets
El SEGUNDO, CALIF., November 2, 2023 – The South Bay Cities Council of Governments (SBCCOG) has launched phase one of a street network in the City of El Segundo that will support the growing market and use of lightweight, zero-emission, low-speed vehicles—known as micromobility for local trips around town. The network, called the Local Travel Network (LTN), will be the first in the world to safely accommodate the use of such vehicles—which include neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs), e-bikes, pedal bikes, e-scooters and other devices—as they share the road with traditional motorized vehicles on existing, low-speed streets. Watch video to see examples.
“Our traditional gas-fueled passenger cars are an unnecessary travel mode for those who have short work commutes and make frequent trips to their children’s school, the beach or the grocery store,” said City of El Segundo Mayor Drew Boyles, who drives his NEV to City Hall and the beach to go surfing. “Many in El Segundo are embracing the low-speed lifestyle. I hope this network will encourage others to ‘right-size’ their vehicles for local trips.”
Supporting the project is SBCCOG research that shows that 70% of trips taken in the South Bay are 3-miles or less, while the average gas-fueled passenger vehicle weighs an inefficient 4,000 pounds and carries—on average—1.67 people. Low-speed vehicles are lighter and more compact than traditional cars, which will help to reduce road maintenance costs and free up roads.
“The LTN is a 21st century strategy and critical first step toward developing safe infrastructure to encourage people to change their travel choice behavior towards zero-emission, low-speed vehicles,” said Carson Councilmember and SBCCOG Board Chair Cedric Hicks. “In addition to being a fun way to get around town, this adoption will help the region reach its climate action goals to lower greenhouse gas emissions, while reducing congestion in the South Bay.”
The El Segundo route is part of a 243-mile network of streets that will eventually connect the South Bay from as far north as Inglewood to San Pedro on the south. Street routes will be marked by “rolling turtle” signage that notifies users they are on the network, wayfinding signage to major city destinations and safe intersections, and sharrows—two inverted V-shapes above a bicycle that indicate when low-speed vehicles are sharing the road with other motorized vehicles.
The launch was celebrated with a ribbon cutting Thursday afternoon in front of El Segundo City Hall. During the ceremony signage featuring a “rolling turtle” was unveiled, along with designated NEV parking signs. 66th District Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi also presented a $700,000 check to the City of El Segundo allocated by the California Energy Commission to fund installation of six 110-volt chargers for lightweight, zero-emission vehicles at three locations throughout the city. Installation of the chargers is planned to be completed in the summer of 2024.
What’s Next for the LTN:
El Segundo is part of the first phase of implementation, which includes the Beach Cities of the South Bay. Phase two will eventually target the inland cities, unincorporated LA County, as well as the communities of Wilmington, Harbor City and San Pedro.
Benefits of Low-Speed Vehicles:
- Low-speed vehicles are safer than driving full speed vehicles because they are designed to drive at lower speeds—a maximum speed of 25 mph on streets of no more than 35 mph speed limit.
- Low-speed vehicles are relatively inexpensive compared to cars and thus lessen the cost of getting around.
- AAA estimates the average annual cost of ownership of a new car is $12,182 for gas, insurance and other benefits. By comparison, an average NEV is about a third of the price of a full-sized car, while bikes and e-scooters range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
- A two-car household that spends more than $20,000 a year to own and maintain their cars could potentially cut that cost in half by replacing one car with a low-speed vehicle.
- Unlike full-speed electric cars, low-speed vehicles don’t require charging equipment upgrades at home. Houses and parking lots are already equipped for charging low-speed vehicles on normal 110V wall outlets.
- Low-speed vehicles respond to the growing housing development in the South Bay.
- The South Bay is planning to add 34,000 new homes by 2025, which places significant stress on our already busy streets.
- When housing developments make provisions for low-speed vehicles it reduces the need for as much space dedicated to parking – cutting the cost of construction and ultimately the housing itself.
- The LTN responds to our growing population by diverting traffic away from major streets to alternative routes where it is safe to travel by low-speed vehicles.
- Low-speed vehicles users find them to be fun and neighborly.
- One of the goals of the LTN is to increase connectivity between the South Bay cities and unincorporated areas. The SBCCOG’s demonstration project revealed that users interacted more with their neighbors and enjoyed their communities more using a low-speed vehicle.
The Implementation Timeline for the LTN:
- The SBCCOG has researched mobility patterns in the South Bay for 15 years. From 2010 to 2011, it conducted an NEV demonstration study that found that households reduced their emissions by an average of 20% when driving an NEV. From this work the first plan for the LTN was articulated through a Metro planning study in 2017.
- In 2019, the SBCCOG identified and refined a 243-mile network through a Caltrans sustainability grant.
- In 2021, the SBCCOG board passed a resolution to begin implementation of the LTN in the South Bay.
- In February of 2022, Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi introduced Assembly Bill 2432 for cities in Los Angeles County to develop NEV plans. The bill was signed into law in August 2022.
- Beginning in 2019, under contract with the SBCCOG, the transportation firm Fehr and Peers began technical planning work to develop signage, branding and engineering details for the LTN.
- The LTN is made possible through Measure M subregional transportation funding.
By visiting https://bit.ly/LocalTravelNetwork, residents can also look up their own neighborhood to see if the destinations they frequently visit would be included in the network.
ABOUT SOUTH BAY CITIES COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS:
The South Bay Cities Council of Governments (SBCCOG) is a joint powers government agency of 16 cities and the County of Los Angeles which share the goal of maximizing the quality of life and productivity of the subregion. Within this structure, cities and Los Angeles County maintain the qualities and characteristics that make them unique and independent, while also coming together collectively to address issues of common interest for a greater good of the communities through partnership, persuasion, performance and advocacy. For more information about the SBCCOG visit http://southbaycities.org