Department of Transportation Scott Kubly, Director
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Public transit contributes to healthy neighborhoods. It encourages pedestrian activity, smart growth, and economic development. The City is committed to making transit a more efficient, affordable choice for a wider variety of trips. We’re building projects and planning for the future.
In April 2012, the City Council approved and unanimously adopted the Transit Master Plan (TMP). The TMP provides a long-range vision for the future of transit in Seattle. Learn more about the Transit Master Plan.
Transit Corridor Planning
We’re currently working on five studies:
For Seattle, HCT consists of both rail and rubber-tired transit modes that can operate in exclusive right of way or in mixed traffic. The main goal of HCT is to provide faster, more convenient, and more reliable service for a larger number of passengers.
Seattle’s HCT corridors have the potential to be served by several types of transit. However, steep topography or constrained rights-of-way limit the available mode options for some corridors. The TMP considered three HCT modes, plus an enhanced bus service, when developing priority corridors:
Why do we do planning studies?
SDOT is building better public transportation infrastructure through projects that improve corridors and connections. The goals of these projects are to:
Priority Bus Corridors
SDOT has developed a new tool in the form of real-time information signs (RTIS) that are located at city transit stops with high boarding activity. The signs provide up-to-the-minute estimates of incoming King County Metro and Sound Transit bus arrivals.
About Trolley Buses:
Seattle’s electric trolley buses run on 100% emission free electricity. The City of Seattle is committed to working with King County Metro Transit to expand and improve the existing trolley bus network. There are currently 70 miles of streets with trolley service, connecting some of the densest neighborhoods in Seattle. Trolley buses carry a fifth of all King County Metro riders.
In 2011, Metro concluded a major study of the costs and benefits of trolley buses. Metro compared the life cycle costs of replacing the trolley bus fleet to replacing the fleet with diesel hybrid buses and found that new trolley buses would have a lower overall cost and far less negative environmental impacts. As a result, Metro is procuring a whole new fleet of 155 comfortable, modern trolley buses which will feature auxiliary power to travel short distances off wire among other improvements.
Aside from producing no global warming emissions, modern trolley buses are much quieter than diesel buses, perform better on steep hills than both normal buses and rail vehicles, and feature auxiliary power units which allow the vehicles to drive off wire if necessary.
Uptown/ Belltown Electric Transit Improvement (affects Metro Routes)
Seattle will work with Metro to install new overhead wire on Denny Way between 3rd Avenue and 1st Avenue. This will increase speed and improve reliability for trolley buses entering downtown. Each trip would save an average of two minutes, making more efficient use of Seattle’s service hours.
Approximately 9,700 riders board the affected trolley buses every weekday. SDOT and Metro are also considering consolidating and improving bus stops in the area for additional time savings and improving streetscapes for pedestrians as well as waiting passengers.
Arterial Asphalt and Concrete Projects
Arterial Asphalt and Concrete (AAC) projects are major reconstructions of arterial streets. These projects present excellent opportunities to cost-effectively improve transit, bicycle, and pedestrian facilities. Under the Complete Streets Ordinance, adopted in 2010, Seattle must consider all users in the design of road projects. This assessment includes bus riders, pedestrians, bicyclists, freight, and automobiles. For a complete list visit the AAC website. The following AAC projects include significant upgrades to bus stops and facilities:
Integrated, seamless transit systems rely upon hubs for smooth and reliable transfers between transit services. SDOT takes an active role to ensure that Seattle’s primary transit hubs are pedestrian friendly, safe and enjoyable places.
The three key intermodal hubs in the Downtown area include:
Recent hub improvements have included the opening of McGraw Square which is part of the Westlake Hub. As a nexus of light rail, buses, the Seattle Center Monorail, and the South Lake Union Streetcar, Westlake Hub connects thousands of people to destinations across the region, every day. Visit the McGraw Square project website for details.
King Street Station is currently undergoing a $50 million renovation. The City teamed up with a variety of partners to restore the station, create a new pedestrian plaza on Jackson and much more. The work will ensure that King Street Station is a vital hub and gateway to Seattle for another hundred years.
Visit the King Street Station website for details.