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City Council Report


City Council Meeting: September 24, 2013

Agenda Item: 3-E 

To:               Mayor and City Council 

From:           Edward F. King, Director of Transit Services

Subject:        Award a Professional Services Agreement to Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates for Big Blue Bus-Expo Light Rail Service Integration Analysis



Recommended Action


Staff recommends that the City Council authorize the City Manager to negotiate and execute a professional services agreement with Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates, a California-based company, in an amount not to exceed $467,113 for the provision of project management, planning, data analysis, stakeholder engagement, and public outreach for a study of the integration of Big Blue Bus (BBB) service with Expo Light Rail.


Executive Summary


The BBB/Expo Integration study would evaluate land use, key origins and destinations, market analysis, corridor analysis, and industry best practices in order to develop a comprehensive Service Integration Plan between BBB lines and the eight stations on the Expo Line in the BBB service area. Throughout the planning process, BBB staff would involve key stakeholders, including residents, neighborhood associations, business improvement districts, Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau, Downtown Santa Monica, Inc., and local businesses in a series of workshops designed to elicit public input about the process. BBB would also work closely with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and Culver CityBus to eliminate duplication of services where possible.


After completing a competitive request for proposal, staff recommends awarding a contract with Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates to lead a consultant team and work with staff to develop and produce the Plan for an amount not to exceed $467,113. Funding for the BBB/Expo Integration Study would be a combination of 80 percent Federal-Section 5307 funds and 20 percent State Transportation Development Act funds.





The BBB/Expo Integration Study builds upon preliminary work completed in the Land Use and Circulation Element, the Colorado Esplanade Project, the Bergamot Area Plan, Los Angeles Mobility Element, and LA2b – a Los Angeles Department of City Planning visioning process currently underway.  The study area would consist of the BBB service area, and a special geographic focus would be placed on how BBB services would connect the service area with the Expo Line at eight stations, including Culver City, Palms, Westwood/Rancho Park, Exposition/Sepulveda, Exposition/Bundy, 26th Street/Bergamot, 17th Street/Santa Monica College, and Downtown Santa Monica stations. Many of these stations have been planned without extensive parking facilities.  Stakeholders and members of the public have expressed to BBB the importance of seamless integration between BBB and Expo in order to broaden access to the opportunities the Expo Line would offer.


The BBB planning staff is currently working on the normal annual service changes, evaluating schedule adherence for schedule modifications for the next two service changes and developing new route performance analysis and reporting standards.  As a result, staff resources are limited for the scale and scope of the BBB/Expo service planning integration, and staff recommends that the City engage a professional consulting firm to assist staff with these efforts. By engaging a consultant, BBB also seeks to gain professional expertise in bus/rail integration. Staff has developed a detailed timeline to move this project forward to prepare effectively for the arrival of Expo, and the resulting demand for transit. 





The arrival of the Expo rail line in Santa Monica is expected to create a dynamic shift in demand for BBB service when it opens in 2016. In order to prepare for that change, BBB staff plans to undertake an extensive analysis of service and routes, facilitate public outreach, and develop a comprehensive planning process to integrate BBB service with Expo.  


The purpose of this study is to assist BBB in developing appropriate changes to the bus service that would encourage the use of Expo. The goals of the study and resulting plan are to maximize ridership through efficient allocation of resources, minimize impacts to traffic, stimulate Expo ridership, create a budget neutral service plan, and create new direct links between stations and adjacent areas. 


Other key components of the study include public involvement, analysis of the current system, update of demographic information based on the  2010 census data, first-and-last mile connectivity analysis (connecting people between station locations and destinations that are beyond walking distance), reduction of redundancy between BBB, Metro, and Culver City Bus, seamless intermodal connectivity, Title VI Civil Rights evaluation of the proposed changes, and a follow-up study to be conducted one year after Expo opens to determine successes and continued challenges. 


The timeline for this study includes a set of public stakeholder meetings to be held in January or February of 2014, followed by analysis and a second set of meetings in the summer of 2014.  Public hearings regarding proposed system changes are planned for February of 2015 with implementation of proposed changes planned for later that year in August in order to be ready for the Expo opening in 2016.


Contractor/Consultant Selection

In May, 2013, the City published a Request for Proposals to provide planning services for the Expo Integration Study.  The bid was posted on the City’s on line bidding site, as well as Planet Bids.  Three proposals were received and opened by the deadline for submission date of June 6, 2013.  An evaluation committee was formed with three BBB staff members, and one from Metro.


Proposals were evaluated based on project approach and understanding, public interface, work plan, capabilities, prior government related work, project team qualifications, and budget.


The team led by IBI Group was the lowest bidder. However, IBI Group was not invited to present their proposal based on an assessment of the committee that their proposal fell short of the desired level of analysis in the areas of trip attraction modeling, stakeholder involvement, and new route proposal analysis. This was further evidenced by the work hours budgeted by IBI Group as approximately half of what was presented in the other two proposals (approximately 1300 hours for IBI Group versus approximately 2700 hours in the other two proposals).


Teams led by Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates and Fehr & Peers were invited by the evaluation committee to present their proposals to the committee based on the fact that each of their proposals contained a substantially detailed work plan and sufficient hours dedicated to each of the scope elements.  Of the two presenting teams, the lowest bidder, Fehr & Peers, had considerable expertise in transportation demand forecasting, market analysis, and a thorough knowledge of the local conditions, but was not able to demonstrate capabilities or qualifications specifically regarding bus/rail integration. 


The highest bidder, Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates, was evaluated as having been the best bidder.  However, their proposal did not contain the same level of sophistication in two specific areas (demand forecasting and market analysis) as the Fehr & Peers study proposal, and they were not able to demonstrate as thorough an understanding of the local transportation marketplace as Fehr & Peers.  For that reason, the evaluation committee requested Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates consider resubmitting a work plan that included Fehr & Peers as a subcontractor to conduct market analysis, and assist with the development of service improvement options/scenarios and demand forecasting. That work plan was submitted with a budget of $389,261.


Subsequent to the presentations, review of the new Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates work plan, discussions among the evaluators, and based on the above referenced criteria, staff recommends that the BBB/Expo Integration Study be awarded to the Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates, with Fehr & Peers included as part of their team.


The new team in the work plan submitted by Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates consisted of the following members: Tom Whittman, Project Manager, Geoff Slater, Steve Boland, James Gamez, Paul Supawanich, Hazel Scher, Victor Stover, Briana Lovell, and Anneka Imkamp.  The Fehr & Peers team now part of the Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates proposal consists of: Thomas Gaul, Jeremy Klop, Michael Kennedy, and Nicole Foletta.  Other subcontractors in the Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates proposal include Kimley Horn & Associates, The Robert Group, and JM Diaz, Inc.


Financial Impacts & Budget Actions


The professional services agreement to be awarded to Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates is for an amount not to exceed $467,113, which includes a 20% contingency. This contingency is requested in order to be prepared to conduct further study and investigation of new ideas presented by stakeholders throughout the stakeholder process.  Funds are available in the FY 2013-14 Capital Improvement Program budget in account C417061.589000.



Prepared by: Timothy McCormick, Transit Planning Administrator




Forwarded to Council:







Edward F. King

Director of Transit Services


Rod Gould

City Manager