Bolstered by new sales tax revenue levied via Measure M, Metro's rail and bus rapid transit network is poised to roughly double in size over the coming decade. With a rapid expansion in the works, the transit agency is once again considering a new naming convention for its growing system.
A presentation that will be given to the Metro Board's Executive Management Committee on September 20 notes that the current system of naming rail and bus lines after colors has become inconsistent after the opening of the Expo Line, and is also challenging to color-blind individuals. Furthermore, there are eight rail or bus lines scheduled to open by 2028, many of which lack clear corridor names.
Metro staff have offered up four alternatives for a new naming convention:
Maintains the color-based names of existing bus and rail lines, but all new projects would be named based on their primary corridor of service or geographic location.
Maintains the color-based names of existing bus and rail lines, and assigns different colors to all new planned or under construction lines.
All current names would be discarded in favor of numbers, which would be assigned by age. The oldest of Metro's rail and bus lines - the Blue Line - would be branded the "1" train. The proposed West Santa Ana line between Downtown Los Angeles and Artesia, which is not expected to begin service until 2028, would be branded as the "14" train.
All current names would be discarded in favor of a letter-based system, which would also be assigned according to age.
Metro convened a series of focus groups of diverse backgrounds - including English speakers, non-English speakers, non-riders, and disabled persons - to opine on the proposed naming conventions. Of the 47 total participants, a number-based system ranked as the most favored option by 22 participants. A letter-based system was a distant third, the preferred choice of 11 participants, with a color-based system close behind with 10 votes.
Moving forward, Metro staff intends to continue researching different alternatives and is scheduled to present a recommendation to the Board of Directors at a meeting later this year.