Los Angeles is working to defy Southern California's reputation as a car-obsessed, traffic nightmare. The region is changing and is focusing on improving transit methods and infrastructure to serve the increasing population. California's Department of Finance projects 11,500,000 people will be living in the county by 2055, which will increase pressure on the current transportation network. Transit authorities are planning new projects to connect Los Angeles in ways that decrease reliance on personal vehicles, including the expansion of the Gold Line and the construction of the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor. Los Angeles residents support these projects, going so far as to voluntarily tax themselves to secure the necessary funding.
Despite the progress, questions of reliability, safety, and affordability are among the barriers to widespread adoption of the county's public transportation network. Researchers from the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies found that transit riders around California were most concerned with the availability of frequent, reliable transportation in a physically safe environment. While crime statistics suggest incidents on transit routes and in stations have declined, accidents such as the one that killed a 35 year-old man when he collided with a Metro train in Pershing Square in August are not uncommon. Accident statistics available from Metro indicate 32 rail accidents so far in 2014 and 68 accidents for the previous year. A higher cost could also deter passengers from taking public transit. In late May, transportation officials approved an increase in Metro fares despite protests from community members and transit-dependent residents of Los Angeles.
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