SANTA MONICA—The Big Blue Bus is being honored with an award from the American Planning Association Los Angeles Chapter (APA LA) for its execution of the Evolution of Blue Plan. The plan reorganized the BBB serviced to accommodate the arrival of the Expo Line in its service region.

According to the city of Santa Monica website, the award is granted to a planning endeavor that displays a substantial project accomplishing optimistic changes as a result of outstanding planning work in the Los Angeles region. To be considered, projects are expected to be finished within three years by a jurisdiction with a population of less than 100,000. The award acknowledges best practices, and thought-leaders in the planning arena creating functional, bright, and inclusive communities.

“Evolution of Blue was an unprecedented effort requiring staff to plan, train, and communicate with the public and stakeholders, and finally to implement an 18-month comprehensive set of service changes to the BBB system. It was all hands on deck during the project with every BBB employee serving as a customer experience ambassador. The high levels of customer engagement and employee participation were integral in re-designing and re-envisioning the future of our bus system,” said Ed King, Director of Transit Services.

The Evolution of Blue Plan, was adopted by the Santa Monica City Council in April 2015. It was completed by BBB in conjunction with Nelson Nygaard Consulting. The plan presented extensive research and community engagement resulting in the:

-Introduction of six new bus routes

-Addition of 47 directional route miles of new service

-Creation of first-last mile improvements improving connectivity to jobs and services

-Integration to all seven new Expo Line Phase II stations

-Launch of Blue at Night an on-demand service providing first-last mile connections to Expo on weekend nights

-Construction of over 230 new ADA accessible bus stops

-Implementation of new bus stop spacing standards for faster travel speed

-Collection of over 12,000 public comments and over 4,600 survey responses during the multiphase outreach process