According to a presentation posted to the Metro website for an upcoming Westside/Central Service Council Meeting, Metro is considering renaming all fixed-guideway lines using a simplified letter-based naming convention. The new naming scheme would affect all Metro rail lines as well the Orange and Silver bus rapid transit lines.

Under the new scheme, the following changes would take place:

  • The Blue Line and Pasadena/Foothill branch of the Gold line would become the A Line
  • The Red Line would become the B Line
  • The Purple Line would become the C Line
  • The branch of the Green Line terminating in Redondo Beach would become the D Line
  • The Expo Line and Eastside branch of the Gold Line would become the E Line
  • The Orange Line busway would become the G Line
  • The Silver Line busway would become the J Line
  • The under-construction Crenshaw Line would become the K Line
  • The branch of the Green Line terminating at the under-construction Aviation/Century station would become the L Line

If this naming scheme seems familiar to you, it might be because the New York City subway uses a similar system.  Like in New York, colors would be used as a secondary means of differentiating between lines.  However, unlike New York’s system where lines along the same trunk share a color (think the A, C and the E), every line in Metro’s system would be assigned its own unique color.  Assuming that Los Angeles continues to aggressively expand its rail network over the coming decades, it will be interesting to see just how deep into the Crayola box Metro will go to find a shade for each and every new project.

According to the presentation, the plan remedies several issues with the existing system, such as the fact that colors are used for some lines but not others (e.g. Green, Blue vs. “Expo”). The new convention is expected to allow for more flexibility in future operational changes, and will also allow customers with limited English proficiency to navigate the system with greater ease.

Assuming that the plan is eventually approved, Metro will need to update its signage, maps, print materials, and websites to reflect the new naming scheme.  The presentation references a phased rollout of the project, beginning with the Blue, Green and Expo Lines.  A second phase would expand the letter-based system to the Orange, Red, Purple and Silver Lines, followed by a final phase which would affect all services routed through the Regional Connector and the Crenshaw/LAX Line.  However, Metro has not announced a timeline for when the proposed name changes would take effect.

Read the entire presentation here.