2022 Grants Challenge

Free Transit Passes for LAX Employees

As passenger travel increases at LAX, approximately 40,000 employees are returning to work, adding to traffic congestion in and around the airport. In addition, with rising gas prices, the cost to commute is higher than ever. To mitigate this increase in commuter traffic, LAX is launching a subsidized transit program for its employees. Employees will pay $20 a month for a transit pass to cover their commute trips. LA2050 grant funding will offset the employee cost of $20 a month, allowing employees to commute for free for the first 6-8 months.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Public Transit

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA

West LA

South Bay

Antelope Valley

County of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Pilot or new project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

Traffic in Los Angeles and around Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has been a known issue for decades, contributing to highway and roadway congestion, affecting local air quality, and causing stress for both the traveler and commuter. In 2019, an average of 97,248 vehicles entered the airport daily, and passenger traffic is slowly catching up to 2019 levels. As Angelenos return to air travel and LAX employees return to work, the airport has a unique opportunity to mitigate the impact of employee commute traffic. In 2021, LAWA launched commuteLAX, encouraging employees to leave their cars at home and use alternative commute options like transit, carpool, vanpool, and active transportation. In addition, with transit improvements underway, enhancing connectivity to the airport, employees will be able to access their work location via transit like they never have before. Offering transit passes for free will incentivize employees to consider making a switch to public transportation.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

commuteLAX serves as a one-stop shop for transportation information, resources, and services for all LAX employees and employers, including airlines, concessionaires, and contractors. commuteLAX will launch the E-Pass program in summer 2022, offering a $20 monthly pass to cover all commute-related transit trips to LAX employees. The grant would cover the $20/month cost, making it free for employees to commute to work via transit for the first 6-8 months of their participation in the program. It is our hope that commuting via public transportation becomes a permanent habit for employees after the free transit program term provided by LA2050 grant funding expires. With numerous bus and train services connecting to LAX, employees switching to public transportation will remove cars off the road. In addition, stress for both the traveler and commuter can be alleviated as a result of reduced single occupancy vehicle traffic. Employees are also able to save money by using a subsidized transit pass, especially as gas prices rise nationwide, and save time by being able to multitask while using public transportation.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Historically, the perennial joke in Los Angeles is that the greatest act of friendship is to pick someone up at LAX. Imagine making that drive every workday. We want to lessen that burden on our employees by improving their quality of life while reducing traffic and our carbon footprint. As a notoriously congested employment center within LA County, we must focus on changing employee travel behavior by encouraging and incentivizing the use of alternative commute modes as employees return to work. With the 2028 Olympic and Para-Olympic Games, and other large-scale events coming to Los Angeles and surrounding cities, LAX will be the first stop for many visitors. Our efforts will help improve traffic for travelers, employees, and the nearby community. Reducing traffic at the airport is one of the ways we'll serve our community, ending the joke by making it irrelevant.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Employees who receive free transit passes will report their alternative commute trips, and we will in turn be able to track and calculate vehicle miles, gallons of gas, and emissions saved. This data will be collected on a monthly basis and used to calculate environmental impacts and track the success of the program. Our short-term goal is to provide free transit passes for up to 500 LAX employees within the first year of the program launch. Our long-term goal is to reduce employee drive-alone trips to the airport by 20 percent.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 50,000

Indirect Impact: 260,696