Video: NETWORK_LA transit

Network_LA Transit is a conceptual design response by Gensler to an open invitation by Sci-Arc, The Architect’s Newspaper and LA Metro to shift people from their cars to public transit.

More after the break.

Increasing the movement of people, not cars should be the goal of any public transit initiative. For this ambitious project, proposes an integrated set of ideas to adapt the current system to improve its performance at the various scales based on user needs. The belief is that a more responsive system and an improved user experience ultimately leads to the means to meet that challenge.

This design proposal is based on four ideas:
• Increase vehicle choices in the LA Metro system to include alternative modes of transportation, which provide various scales of public transport efficiency.
• Increase flexibility of public transport by keeping existing transit stops but liberating the routes that connect them so that it may respond more immediately to user demand. Also provide it an efficiency advantage with dedicated lanes and pull-in stops to allow for bypassing, as well strategically located underpasses.
• Leverage existing data to increase flexibility and optimize choices by overlapping the location of all ground transport, stops and users through GPS to coordinate their relative positions, needs and capacity in real time. To complete this triangulation, a GPS enabled app – tripFinder – automatically scans the network to sort and provide the user with the optimum trip itinerary while also optimizing the current status of the public transit fleet.
• Expand the network and fill in the transport voids by granting access to this real time information through the selling of licenses to more and other alternative ground transport entities. This business could also be a potential profit center for LA Metro.

The result is user-driven, on-demand system that responds to the needs of each individual rider, allowing the network to organically adapt to the shifting needs of its ridership to improve overall service. Los Angeles, as a city of multiple centers whose relationships are constantly changing, can now have transit routes that adapt to the needs of its passengers rather than forcing passengers to use multiple fixed routes.

Thus a software solution that manages the users needs in real time, and assisted by a series of relatively small and achievable infrastructure improvements could form the solution to Los Angeles Public Transportation inefficiencies; thereby avoiding the type of large grand scale infrastructure work that is very disruptive of daily city life while risking being obsolete before it is complete. This type of solution also speaks to the Los Angeles culture: in proposing a public transport system with personalized service, it reasserts the individualist mentality that has powered Los Angeles’s mythology for generations.

NETWORK_LA transit Gensler Los Angeles

Ideas By:
Richard Hammond
Robert Jernigan
Hae Sun Kim
Alex Webb
Li Wen

Animation By: Tam Thien Tran

Commute Cost
Based off of research by commuter transportation services and
Co2 Level
United States Environment Protection Agency City Ranking Information
Random Comprehensive study on traffic congestion in urban LA
2006 American Community Survey

Cite: Henry, Christopher. "Video: NETWORK_LA transit" 30 Jun 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 25 May 2015. <>
  • Matthew

    It seems that their whole idea of flexible routes completely ignores best practice with regards to linking public transportation with land use policies. Fixed routes give the permanence necessary for people to invest in a piece of land as they know it will be well served by a transportation network for the foreseeable future. I’m all for adding information technology on top of our transportation network, but it won’t change best practices, nor will it obviate building a solid backbone of fixed route rail. Technology built on top of a decentralized dysfunctional network, like what is proposed in this video, will never beat a technology light decent transportation network built on a backbone of fixed rail.

    • alechs

      That was an interesting point.

      On another note, (I preface that I do not fully understand the scale of L.A. or have ever visited the city) I also find the issue of flexibility bogged down by how fussy it would be to transfer from one system of transportation to the other for traveling within the scale of a city district. I think this system works best on a inter-municipal or regional scale of travel that crosses many different territories of varying states of infrastructural access that demand the need to actually switch from car to train to bicycle, etc.

      I guess I just don’t buy how easy and flexible the system is when you switch from bus to bicycle carrying a bag of groceries…

  • Erin

    The idea is wonderful, and of course, idealistic. I wonder how something like this is actually implemented and would love to see more about ALL far reaching proposals in this regard. To bog down a great idea in bureaucracy is disheartening, but it is something that I feel needs a more dedicated amount of time in the public media. The ideas are always nice, but it’s how they are implemented that most immediately gives or destroys hope of making the dream come true. Onward and Upward!!!

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  • Alias

    It leaves the existing ridership without smartphones out in the cold.

    • Li

      Smartphones have become ubiquitous in today’s society, any division being more across generational lines than socio-economic ones. Nevertheless for those who don’t have smartphones, a similar device at a large tablet scale is attached to every stop – please refer to the left side of the 3-D PRT image towards the end of the film – you’ll see a person standing in front of one attached to a large red pylon.

      • Andrew F

        If PRT cost $10 million per mile, and heavy rail subway costs $300 million per mile or LRT at $100 million per mile… why would you ever use heavy rail? If you think PRT is viable at all, it’s hard to square that belief with the belief that heavy rail makes any sense.

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