Seattle is committed to improving public transportation and has developed an array of policy tools and plans to guide transit forward. By 2024 Seattle will have an estimated 85,000 more jobs and 47,000 more people, but many of our streets are already full of vehicles. More and better public transportation is one of the best options to accommodate growth without becoming further mired in congestion. Public transit contributes to healthy neighborhoods by encouraging pedestrian activity, environmental sustainability and dense, economically vibrant development.
There are a variety of local, regional and state policies that impact Seattle’s transit choices. Most of these are recognized in the Transit Master Plan, which provides information about relevant county, city and regional plans such as the Puget Sound Regional Council’s Transportation 2040 and King County Metro Transit’s Strategic Plan for Public Transportation.
Seattle Transit Master Plan
Currently, Seattle is developing a new Transit Master Plan (TMP). Building on 2005’s Seattle Transit Plan, the TMP will incorporate the latest information, prioritize transit corridors, compare transit mode technologies and identify specific potential investments for the future.
Other Transit Planning and Policy Links
There are a variety of local, regional and state policies that impact Seattle’s transit choices.
City of Seattle-
- Seattle’s Transportation Strategic Plan outlines a list of specific strategies for making transit a real choice. The plan lays out how transit fits in the context of transportation goals such as moving freight and building neighborhoods. The current plan was adopted in 2005 and will be updated soon.
- The Seattle Comprehensive Plan’s Transportation Element calls for “Making Transit a Real Choice.” To see a list of Seattle’s transit-related goals scroll to page 3.9.
- Seattle’s Transit Street Classification Map shows the different classes of transit designation on the city’s roads.
Click here to see a map of Seattle's urban villages.
- The Urban Village Transit Network. The Urban Village Transit Network (UVTN) is Seattle’s core network of frequent service transit corridors that support and connect Seattle’s urban villages, as set forth in the Seattle Transit Plan and Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan . The UVTN represents the backbone of transit service in Seattle. The goal for the UVTN is to have bus service at least every 15 minutes (in both directions), 18 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Climate change action at SDOT- Metro electric buses (often called “Electric trolley buses”) are powered by clean, efficient electricity from Seattle City Light, which generates 98% of its power from zero-greenhouse gas sources. In addition to being virtually carbon neutral, electric buses are far more energy efficient than diesel, diesel hybrid, or natural gas fueled buses.
- Seattle’s Complete Streets Ordinance ensures all ROW users are considered when major improvements take place.
- Right of Way Improvement Manual provides guidelines for improvements to Seattle’s roads and sidewalks.
- Puget Sound Regional Council Transportation 2040. The Puget Sound Regional Council’s long range, regional transportation plan. To be eligible for federal grants, all cities in King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap counties must meet the planning requirements outlined in the regional plan.
- Growing Transit Communities. The Puget Sound Regional Council’s plan to maximize transit investments by examining how to make the best use of new light rail and rapid bus corridors.
- State Growth Management Act. In accordance with the State Growth Management Act, future development should be concentrated within designated urban growth boundaries. This policy preserves green space and encourages urban density.