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Solutions and Community Consensus Drive OCTA’s South County Transportation Study

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February 10, 2021


The first phase of a study to address the long-term needs of South Orange County is complete and was reviewed by the OCTA Board; work on the study, with ongoing public input, will continue through 2021

ORANGE – The Orange County Transportation Authority board this week reviewed the results of the first phase of an ongoing study to address south Orange County’s transportation needs as the area continues to grow with new residents and jobs and as travel patterns and needs evolve.

The study, called the South Orange County Multimodal Transportation Study, is looking at a wide range of transportation needs and solutions over the next 25 years, including improvements to streets, bus and other transit options, highways and bikeways.

The area covered by the study encompasses about 40 percent of Orange County, generally south of State Route 55 to the San Diego County line, and from the coast to the foothills.

“Fundamental to our role at OCTA is our work with the public to understand transportation needs throughout the county,” said Chairman Andrew Do, also Orange County’s First District Supervisor. “With its focus on population and job growth patterns unique to South County, this study will give us valuable insights to help shape a future in which residents and businesses continue to thrive.”

During the first phase of the study conducted in fall 2020, the OCTA team engaged with residents and stakeholders and completed a survey in multiple languages, including English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean and Mandarin.

Among the survey findings, the respondents said that they would like to see:

  • Reduction in traffic congestion
  • Increased frequency and accessibility of multimodal transportation, and
  • Increased safety and efficiency for all modes of travel.

The survey also indicated that, in addition to improving and maintaining freeways and streets, those who responded recognize the need to address transportation challenges and want to see an increase in alternative transportation frequency and accessibility.

OCTA, which is Orange County’s transportation planning agency, is responsible for providing a balanced and sustainable transportation system for the entire county. The focus on south Orange County is necessary because over the next 25 years, projections show population growing by 170,000 residents and an additional 130,000 jobs are expected.

At the same time, travel patterns and transportation needs have continued to evolve since OCTA’s last major transportation study of the area in 2008. The projects from that study have resulted in more than a $1.5 billion investment in the area, including OCTA’s I-5 carpool lane project between San Juan Creek Road and Avenida Pico, and OCTA’s I-5 widening between SR-73 and El Toro Road now under construction.

Since the 2008 study, other significant changes have occurred, including a near-term strategy to improve traffic agreed to by OCTA, the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA), and Caltrans. That strategy includes:

  • Extending the I-5 carpool lanes from Avenida Pico to the border of San Diego County
  • Widening Ortega Highway, and
  • Extending Los Patrones Parkway as a non-tolled county street.

Other changes have included introduction of mobile transportation apps and on-demand services such as Uber and Lyft, as well as the introduction of community transit options like shuttles and trolleys.

The South County study continues into the second of three phases, scheduled through the end of 2021. Residents, business owners and other key stakeholders will be asked to participate throughout in order to develop community consensus on transportation solutions that should move forward for further development.

For more information, visit: www.octa.net/southocstudy. Click on the “stay connected” tab to sign up for updates.

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