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Transit Master Plan: Frequently Asked Questions

The links below will help you find quick answers to basic questions about the development of Seattle's Transit Master Plan.

What is the Seattle Transit Master Plan?

Why is the City of Seattle creating a Transit Master Plan?

What is the schedule for the Transit Master Plan?

Who will be involved in developing the plan?

What sorts of topics are covered in the plan?

How does the Transit Master Plan address equity?

How can I get more background on the Transit Master Plan?

How can I get involved, make comments, or ask questions about the Transit Master Plan?


What is the Seattle Transit Master Plan?

The Seattle Transit Master Plan will develop short- and long-term policies, programs, and projects resulting in a high-quality transit system that is easier, more effective, and more enjoyable for Seattle residents, visitors, and employees. Specifically, the plan will recommend improvements to create a transit system that is fast and reliable, safe and comfortable, and accessible for all users. The plan also will determine where transit investments can deliver the greatest degree of mobility and access possible, while ensuring that low-income, elderly, and disadvantaged populations are well served.

The Transit Master Plan is a tool to coordinate resources and provide information about transit-related projects, unmet transit needs, neighborhood resources, and important tools to get more people riding transit in Seattle. The plan is Web-based, reflecting the increasing use of online services. As the plan develops, it will give you direct access to policies, programs, and project information that influence the quality of transit in Seattle.

Why is the City of Seattle creating a Transit Master Plan?

The City doesn’t provide transit services in Seattle, so why is it developing a Transit Master Plan? Although King County Metro Transit and Sound Transit are the primary transit service providers in Seattle, City departments play a critical role in ensuring that high quality transit is available for its residents. Specifically, the City:

  • Manages street rights-of-way on which transit operates. Making transit faster and more reliable is dependent on the City’s signal systems, street design priorities, and traffic management procedures.
  • Develops and manages sidewalks and bicycle facilities, which are critical to ensuring people can access transit in a safe and comfortable manner.
  • Sets land use policies for transit corridors and station areas, which are important to ensure that the greatest possible number of residents and employees have access to high quality transit.
  • Uses transit as a tool to meet Seattle’s sustainability and growth management goals.
  • Works to create great places at locations in neighborhoods where modes and corridors connect to facilitate seamless integration of the pedestrian, bicycle, and transit networks.

The Transit Master Plan will define the critical role that transit plays in meeting the City’s goals for sustainability, equity, economic productivity, and livable neighborhoods. The plan will outline specific actions to achieve an increased transit mode share, improve the quality of transit facilities and streets served by transit, and to form the basis for partnering with area transit agencies to make transit an easier and more desirable travel option.

What is the schedule for the Transit Master Plan?

The City began work on the Transit Master Plan in September 2010. A draft of the Transit Master Plan will be available in September 2011.

Upcoming meetings, hearings and events related to the Transit Master Plan will be posted here.

Who will be involved in developing the plan?

The City of Seattle will seek to involve a broad a segment of the City’s population in the development of the Transit Master Plan. A number of opportunities for public input will be provided throughout the process and this website will be used as a tool to communicate plan progress, analysis, and recommendations.

The City has created a Transit Master Plan Advisory Group (TMPAG) to actively shape and guide the plan. The group will meet regularly and will work closely with the project team to create a framework for the plan and to review plan development. The TMPAG includes representatives from Seattle neighborhoods, major employers, hospitals and universities, transportation advocacy groups, people with disabilities, youth and seniors, the Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Boards, and other important stakeholders. The project team will also be conducting interviews with business, resident, and rider groups who are not directly represented on the TMPAG.

An Interagency Technical Advisory Team has also been established to ensure a high level of coordination between participating agencies and the multiple City departments influenced by the Transit Master Plan. King County Metro Transit, Sound Transit, and the Puget Sound Regional Council are all represented on the interagency team.

What sorts of topics are covered in the plan?

The plan will cover a wide range of topics related to transit mobility in Seattle. The first major product of the plan will be a Briefing Book that describes the state of transit in Seattle, answering questions such as the following: Who uses transit in Seattle? What types of trips do they make? How does transit in Seattle perform relative to local demands and peer cities? What facilities, services, or informational programs are needed to make transit more beneficial to residents of Seattle?

The Transit Master Plan will develop an evaluation framework for prioritizing transit improvements in Seattle, including the evaluation of higher capacity transit modes for travel corridors where service improvements would benefit the most Seattleites. In addition to evaluation of high demand corridors, the plan will update the Urban Village Transit Network (UVTN), the current network that identifies where high quality transit connections are needed to connect Seattle’s densest neighborhoods and commercial districts.

Plan recommendations will be focused on implementation and will prioritize projects and service improvements to deliver outcomes determined to be most important to Seattle. The plan will recommend changes to service priorities currently established by the UVTN, capital programs ranging from new higher capacity corridor-based transit services to transit facility improvements, and new funding approaches that could help to maintain or enhance transit offerings.

How does the Transit Master Plan address equity?

Equity is a goal of Seattles Transit Master Plan as the city strives to improve transit access and service for all its residents, in particular those who most need to use transit.

As part of early outreach for the Transit Master Plan, nearly 12,000 people completed an online survey. One of the results of that survey was agreement that Seattles diverse communities need high quality transit choices to access all the city has to offer.

In addition to collecting information from the survey, the Transit Master Plan project team sought input from SDOTs Race and Social Justice Change Team and is including the following criteria in the selection of priority transit corridors:

  1. The potential to benefit communities with higher than average concentrations of transit-dependent populationsthose with low incomes, people with disabilities, the elderly, youth, people of color, and those without access to private vehicles.
  2. The potential to enhance neighborhood business and improve transit access
  3. The greatest potential to provide or improve access to jobs by creating direct connections between the transit-dependent and employers.
  4. Corridors with the greatest opportunities for pedestrian improvements that support transit use

For more information, read the SDOT Transit Master Plan Equity Statement

How can I get more background on the Transit Master Plan?

The Transit Master Plan is an update to the 2005 Seattle Transit Plan and the City’s Urban Village Transit Network (UVTN). The City of Seattle Streetcar Network Development Report, Pedestrian Master Plan, Transportation Strategic Plan, and Seattle Comprehensive Plan are other important foundational documents for the Transit Master Plan.

You can also find out more about the transit services provided by King County Metro Transit and Sound Transit by going to their websites.

How can I get involved, make comments, or ask questions about the Transit Master Plan?

Track our progress on this website and send comments and questions by using the link on the left menu bar to send an email to tony.mazzella@seattle.gov . You can also call 206-684-0811 or send mail to: Transit Master Plan Comments, c/o Tony Mazzella, Seattle Department of Transportation, P.O. Box 34996, Seattle, WA 98124-4996.

Attend upcoming Transit Master Plan public meetings and workshops. The location, date, and time of these meetings will be posted here as they are scheduled.

View the list of Seattleites that sit on the Transit Master Plan Advisory Group and feel free to talk with representatives of your neighborhood or organization.

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