Route 40 - Transit-Plus Multimodal Corridor

Updated November 22, 2021

Making bus trips faster, more reliable, and improving safety.

What's happening now?

We've reached our Preliminary Design Milestone!

Thank you to all who participated in our spring outreach! We appreciate your input on the proposed design concepts for Route 40.

You can read the outreach summary here. We recently completed a traffic analysis to study existing conditions and determine how the project improvements are likely to impact traffic flow in the project corridor.

Our team has been reviewing feedback on design concepts based on the feedback we received during our spring outreach for the neighborhoods Route 40 serves. The  design graphics show these changes from our early conceptual design and outline: where we will repave the road, install bus bulbs, and replace sidewalks.

View our updated preliminary design concepts here, and you can see our full design concepts by neighborhood here.

Project Overview

Partnering with King County Metro, we plan to make improvements to this vital transit corridor. 

The objectives of the project are to reduce transit travel times, improve transit reliability, and increase safety and transit access along the Route 40 corridor. We have a goal of reducing peak transit travel times by 5% to 10% during peak hours and making the time between buses more consistent so  no matter the time of day, trips take about the same amount of time. Improvements made as part of this Transit-Plus Multimodal Corridor project will include: 

  • Dedicated bus lanes: Bus-only lanes that separate buses from traffic and improve transit travel times and reliability
  • Signal upgrades or optimization: Transit signal priority extends or activates green lights to reduce waiting times for buses at signals
  • Channelization changes or turn restrictions: Changes to roadway channelization and limiting certain turns that can allow buses to move faster, avoid conflicts, and improve safety
  • Safety improvements: Improvements to crossings and transit connections to help people get to bus stops more easily and safely
  • Sidewalk upgrades: Repaving sidewalks and upgrading ADA-accessible curb ramps in key locations 

Route 40 corridor improvements were first identified as part of the Levy to Move Seattle and King County Metro's METRO CONNECTS program. Based on results of the 2018 Levy Workplan Report, Route 40 will not be transitioned to RapidRide during this project. However, improvements will be designed to align with potential future RapidRide expansion.

Route 40 Background

Running north to south, Route 40 is 13.5 miles long and passes through the neighborhoods of Northgate, Crown Hill, Loyal Heights, Ballard, Fremont, South Lake Union, Downtown Seattle, and Pioneer Square.

Before COVID, Route 40 was one of Metro's highest ridership routes serving over 13,000 weekday riders, representing the third highest ridership route in the system behind the D and E Lines. During COVID pandemic, it remains one of Metro's top highest ridership routes, serving 3,800 weekday customers as of March 2021.

Route 40 buses are scheduled to arrive every 5 to 10 minutes during peak periods and stops are located approximately every quarter mile throughout the route. However, buses on this route are often slow and unreliable which impacts thousands of people who rely on transit. This project will identify and implement improvements that provide faster and more reliable transit service for the Route 40 and other bus routes that share the corridor.

Key Transit Connections

Route 40 connects with some of the highest ridership routes in our system, such as the RapidRide C, D, and E Lines as well as Route 44. Additionally, Route 40 terminates at the Northgate Transit Center where many regional transit routes come together. The Route 40 will connect to the Northgate and Ballard light rail stations as they are completed in late 2021 and 2027 respectively.

Project Map

A map showing the the Bus Route 40's proposed bus lanes.

Project Schedule

A timeline of the proposed Route 40 work.

See more on the RapidRide Program update.

See more on the comprehensive assessment of the Levy to Move Seattle.

Community Outreach

We received nearly 450 responses to our outreach survey in Spring 2021. Overall, community members supported measures prioritizing transit and pedestrian safety improvements. You can read the full survey results in our outreach summary and view our presentation overviewing the current proposed changes.

Date Event
February 2020 Virtual drop-in Session
February, 2020 - April 2020 Online survey
April 2020 Listserv and webpage updates
March 22, 2021 Concept video posted
April 7 & 8, 2021 Virtual drop-in sessions
March/April 2021 Listserv updates and stakeholder emails
March/April 2021 Online survey
April - June 2021 Presentations to community groups upon request
Spring 2021 Updated presentations to Transit and Freigh Advisory Boards

Other Projects Along This Route

SDOT and Metro are focusing many investments along the Route 40. Our project team is in close coordination with the following projects: 

Full Design Concepts

Project Materials

2021 Traffic Analysis (July 2021)

Spring 2021 Outreach Summary (May 2021)

Spring Outreach Presentation (April 2021)

Seattle Fright Advisory Board Presentation (March 2021)

Seattle Transit Advisory Board Presentation (March 2021)

Spring 2020 Survey Summary (March 2020)

Route 40 Evaluation Framework Memorandum (February 2020)

Project fact sheet (June 2020)

Project fact sheet (June 2020 - Arabic)

Project fact sheet (June 2020 - Spanish)

Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board presentation (August 2020)

Seattle Transit Advisory Board presentation (August 2020)

Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board presentation (October 2020)

Seattle Freight Advisory Board presentation (October 2020)


This project is being funded by the 9-year Levy to Move Seattle, approved by voters in 2015 to improve safety for all travelers, maintain our streets and bridges, and invest in reliable, affordable travel options for a growing city. Additional sources include federal grants, state grants, King County Metro funds, and Vehicle Licensing Fees from the Seattle Transit Benefit District.


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