Measure M and the Potential Transportation for Mobility in Los Angeles

Research Lead: Michael Manville

UC Campus(es): UCLA

Problem Statement: In the last 20 years, voters in hundreds of localities have chosen to increase their own taxes to finance billions of dollars of investment in transportation, and especially public transportation. Why do voters choose to raise their own taxes for public transportation? Should we expect this political willingness to finance to transit to change travel behavior?

Project Description: To understand this issue in more depth, this research project examines Measure M, the sales tax increase that LA County voters approved by ballot in 2016. Measure M was designed to be transformative, and help make LA a more multimodal region. First, this project demonstrates that this goal is ambitious: LA differs greatly from the American regions where transit use is more common. This project also utilized two original surveys to examine the reasons for Measure M’s support, which showed support for Measure M was often partisan, and/or related to beliefs about transit’s ability to improve social problems. Supporters of Measure M exhibit little appetite for riding transit, and little interest in complementary policies (e.g., more density, less parking, congestion charging), which would make new transit investments more effective.

Status: Completed

Budget: $88,500

Policy Brief(s):