According to the 2000 Census, residents on The Irvine Ranch® enjoy some of Orange County’s shortest commutes to and from work.
It was planned that way. By design, many neighborhoods on The Ranch are located within short distances of major employment centers, including Irvine Spectrum®, University Research Park near UC Irvine and Newport Center. Why? Keeping commutes as brief as possible enables residents to spend less time in traffic and more time at home. The region’s air quality also benefits.
PROGRAMS AND INFRASTRUCTURE
While transportation planning may not automatically come to mind when the discussion turns to environmental stewardship or quality of life, it is, in fact, an important element of what sets communities on The Irvine Ranch apart. As in so many other areas that positively impact the environment and residents’ quality of life, The Ranch has been a trendsetter in transportation planning, programs and infrastructure.
- Many years before planning even began for Orange County’s three toll roads, residents in communities on The Irvine Ranch were (and still are) being served by an innovative circulation system based on a “hierarchy” of roads. Unlike traditional grid systems where major arterials are close together, this hierarchy of roads features different types of roads, each one progressively larger and designed for a specific function. Beginning with quiet residential streets and ending with arterials such as Jamboree Road, the system successfully separates local, or neighborhood-oriented traffic, from across-town and regional traffic.
- More than two decades ago, Orange County decided it could not simply pin its hopes on state and federal funding to build badly needed major freeways and roads to serve the county’s growing population. So the county and local municipalities-with significant support from the Irvine Company-reached into their own pockets to provide seed money for three proposed corridors that ultimately became the San Joaquin Hills (73), Foothill (241) and Eastern (261) toll roads. The toll roads today play a key role in keeping Orange County residents mobile. They provide a convenient alternative to freeways and arterials, and have taken traffic off so-called free or public roads.
- In a collaboration aimed at reducing traffic to and from Irvine Spectrum–a major regional employment center that draws workers from Orange, Riverside, Los Angeles and San Diego counties–the Irvine Company and City of Irvine in 1986 created Spectrumotion. This nationally recognized non-profit program exists for a key reason: to help Spectrum employees get to and from work as efficiently as possible, in turn removing autos from roads and freeways. To that end, Spectrumotion officials work closely with employers and employees to create carpools and vanpools. The program also provides personalized commute consulting that helps employees determine the best-and most enjoyable-ways to travel to and from their jobs, whether by bus, by train or by bicycle. Spectrumotion services are free of charge to employees. More than 30% of Spectrum employees currently participate either part-time or full-time in a rideshare program, compared to just 19% in Orange County overall, according to Spectrumotion officials. And better still: Since its founding, Spectrumotion has eliminated more than 20.5 million vehicle trips, which prevented vast amounts of organic compounds, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide from entering the air.
- All aboard: Irvine Station–at the intersection of Ada and Barranca Parkway–is a regional transportation hub that makes it convenient for residents and employees to travel by means other than their cars. It was built on land donated by the Irvine Company adjacent to a major Amtrak line, and is located in Irvine Spectrum, one of the area’s major job centers. Metrolink provides commuter rail service on the Orange County Line (Oceanside to Los Angeles) as well as the Inland Empire-Orange County Line (San Bernardino to Irvine). Meanwhile, the center is the main transportation link for local commuters traveling via Amtrak or Greyhound buses.
- For Irvine residents, getting to and from work, the store and other places via bicycles is a snap using the city’s master-planned, 158-mile-long trails system. The system, which features both on- and off-road networks of trails, is believed to be one of the most extensive municipal bicycle trail systems in the nation.