The January 1994 Northridge earthquake caused extensive damage throughout the Los Angeles area, closing highways for several months that carried some of the highest daily traffic volumes in the world. Although catastrophic travel conditions were widely predicted, except for the first few days after the quake, excessive delays were not experienced and the transportation system continued to function throughout the reconstruction period. Detours were quickly established to take traffic around the closed freeway sections, utilizing city streets and sections of freeways that were not damaged by the quake. New carpool lanes were established to encourage ridesharing in an effort to reduce vehicular demand. Rail and bus enhancements were also implemented. This report discusses the impacts of the freeway closures, the effectiveness of the various mitigation measures, and how commuter behavior changed in the corridors that were most directly affected. On the affected corridors in which convenient local street detours were available (I-10 and SR-118), motorists appeared content to continue driving. On the corridors where alternate routes were few or nonexistent (I-5 and SR-14), rail ridership increased substantially. Bus utilization did not appear to have a major effect in any of the corridors. Users of the newly established carpool lanes experienced some time savings, but interestingly, overall carpool volumes did not appear to be much higher than pre-quake volumes, indicating that few new carpools were formed to take advantage of the lanes.


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: p. 7-15
  • Monograph Title: 1994 NORTHRIDGE EARTHQUAKE
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00725595
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Sep 17 1996 12:00AM