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Third Avenue Storefront Real Time Bus Information

A waiting passenger reads the new real time bus information sign at King County Courthouse on Third Avenue and James Street.

Wait times for buses are now available on 40” LCD monitors at five downtown bus stops on Third Avenue.  The signs use OneBusAway to provide arrival time estimates, based on King County Metro’s bus location database. Local businesses and organizations on Third Avenue make this program possible by hosting the signs in their windows.

Third Avenue bus stops are among the busiest in the region, making these stops ideal places for large real time information displays. For example, the bus stop at Benaroya Hall on Third Avenue and Union Street serves 15 bus routes and averages almost 4000 boardings every weekday.

Current sign locations­

• Macy’s - Third Avenue & Pine Street, northbound
• King County Courthouse- Third Avenue & James Street , northbound
• Columbia Sportswear- Third Avenue & Pine Street, southbound
• Fourth & Madison Building- Third Avenue & Madison Street, northbound
• Benaroya Hall- Third Avenue & Union Street, southbound

Real Time information provides a range of benefits to passengers, from an increased sense of security that comes from knowing how long one has to wait to the ability to see if there is enough time to run a quick errand or grab a snack. This improvement is part of Seattle’s broader mission to ensure Third Avenue is attractive, safe and inviting. Other measures include: addressing public safety concerns, improving bus stop waiting areas, widening sidewalks, planting street trees and providing helpful wayfinding signs. 

About OneBusAway

The display uses the same interface many riders have seen on the popular OneBusAway website. From left to right, the sign shows the route number, route name and the scheduled time of departure, and the number of minutes until the bus arrives.
The colors that the sign uses to display wait times are designed to help the reader quickly see if the bus is on schedule, late or early:

  • Green indicates an on time prediction.
  • Blue indicates a late arrival prediction.
  • Red indicates an early arrival prediction.
  • Black indicates the scheduled arrival time. If the minutes are black, there is a lack of information for OneBusAway to form an accurate prediction.

The predictive engine which produces wait times has been developed over many years by researchers at the University of Washington. The estimates are based on the best available data though riders should be aware that actual arrival times can vary due to unexpected traffic or other factors.

Other forms of Real time transit information

Seattle will have a variety of real time transit information around the city in the coming years. SDOT helped install the supporting infrastructure for real time signs on the new RapidRide corridors. SDOT is also developing outdoor signs for the Rainier/ Jackson transit corridor.


Please contact Jeff Bender at for more information, questions or comments.

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