Exploring Transportation Mode Choice and Participation in LA Metro’s “GoPass” Program Among Los Angeles Community College Students

Research Team: David Brownstone (lead) and Henry Bernal

UC Campus(es): UC Irvine

Problem Statement: While automobile traffic and freeway congestion have returned to pre-COVID levels, transit agencies continue to face declining ridership, staffing shortages, and service reductions. In the fall of 2021, LA Metro introduced the GoPass Fareless Initiative, offering free transit access to students in grades K-14 within eligible school and community college districts in Los Angeles County. The program's eligibility is determined by the community college district, which can opt in by paying a nominal cost-sharing fee of $3 per enrolled student per year. Students in districts that opt in can participate by acquiring a free pass and registering it with LA Metro. However, only about 15% of Los Angeles Unified School District students and 10% of Los Angeles Community College District students choose to participate in GoPass.

Project Description: The project has two main objectives: (1) to analyze the factors affecting enrollment, while controlling for socio-economic characteristics, and (2) to determine whether GoPass enrollment leads students to choose more sustainable modes of transportation. To achieve these goals, the researchers will survey students at the nine campuses in the Los Angeles Community College District. These campuses represent the majority of the community college population in Los Angeles County. The survey will gather information on employment, household composition, and non-academic travel activities. It will also ask participants about the availability of household vehicles, bicycles, and other transportation options to understand the factors that influence students' transportation choices. The researchers will then use the data to model GoPass participation and overall mode selection among the population of community college students.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $87,130