Smarter Transit is an all-volunteer, pro-transit, non-partisan, non-profit citizens’ organization. Our mission is to support and advocate for accountable public transportation governance and investments that grow transit, vanpool, carpool ridership, and safe bike and walking routes throughout the Puget Sound region in the most cost-effective way.
Seattle Times editorial columnist Brier Dudley says, "Transportation Choices Coalition has evolved from a community group advocating for bike, pedestrian and transit options into a political powerhouse with little transparency that coordinates ballot measures and...read more
We occasionally post articles and news of interest regarding transit and transportation issues that affect the Puget Sound Region. If there are stories that you think deserve attention, or if you have news or information that you’d like to share, please contact us!
"The Cost is the Benefit" with light rail lines that go out beyond dense urban cores. Excellent article that will sound all too familiar for those of us here in the Puget Sound region. Read the whole piece here:...read more
ST3 is a $54 billion empty promise By Chuck Collins As first appeared in the Seattle Times Oct. 7, 2016 FIFTY-FOUR billion dollars. Really? The sheer size of Sound Transit 3 staggers the imagination. A Google search yields nothing remotely comparable ever asked of...read more
I’m passing on information about Sound Transit’s $54 billion proposal on the November 8th ballot. While the topic could easily fill up a three day workshop, the bottom line is that while we absolutely need more and better transit, continuing to build light rail...read more
There are better solutions and greater needs
Bus Rapid Transit and Bus Rapid Transit “lite” offer more flexibility than light rail. It carries more people more places.
Ride share programs are very cost effective and use existing infrastructure.
Safe bikeways and walkways are needed in every community.
Maintaining our existing infrastructure should be a priority.
Let’s put our money where it actually moves us forward.
What we want in the region
- Invest in a high capacity, affordable, rapid bus system that covers the whole region within a few years instead of inflexible, expensive and limited capacity light rail lines that reach a fraction of the region after decades.
- Finish the HOV system and commit to policies that keep it functioning at 45 mph 90 percent of the time.
- Realize the extraordinary potential of carpool and vanpool programs.
- Recognize that new technologies will change the way we get around making it even more critical to have the flexibility to upgrade and change as we need.
- Maintain our existing roads and bridges and fix the choke points that lead to congestion.
- Spend money on the simple sidewalk, safe crosswalk and bike path. These make communities truly livable and walkable.
- Start with the question, What’s the problem we’re trying to solve? Identify real goals and performance measures and allow objective analysis of the alternatives.
- Put directly elected people in charge instead of unelected boards who have no accountability and often a conflict of interest.
What is Bus Rapid Transit?
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is not buses as you know them. BRT treats buses like subways but with more flexibility. BRT buses always have right of way: they don’t stop at red lights or get stuck in congestion. Loading is also much faster because riders pay before they board, stations are raised to be level with the bus floor, and buses have more and wider doors. One lane can facilitate 300 buses per hour. Light Rail can only handle 10 trains per hour and can never have more than 4 cars per train.
King County Metro’s Rapid Ride is not BRT – think of bus service on a continuum from classic slow city bus to “rail on rubber tires.” This description of BRT (bus rapid transit) contains all the elements of an ideal system. But, many things can be done to improve the speed of the buses through a corridor. KIng County Metro’s Rapid Ride is really just higher frequency – more should be done to actually make it “rapid.”
Even the former FTA Administrator advocated for expanding Bus Rapid Transit type service over expensive rail …at one time.
– Peter Rogoff in 2010 as head of Federal Transit Administration
In November, 2015, Peter Rogoff took over as CEO of Sound Transit and is now “excited by big light rail expansion plans.”
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Does Light Rail Really Encourage People to Stop Driving? No, but it does pull them off buses, if a new study of British systems is any indicator.
Have Light Rail Systems Been Worth the Investment?
Expedia Moves to Seattle
84% of Portland’s regional trips still by car
Despite bike and transit gains, 84 percent of Portland region’s trips still by car: Metro study
Transit Riders Union concerned about a two class transit system
Hawaii struggles to keep rail project from becoming a boondoggle
Billions Spent but fewer people using public transportation in Southern California
Transportation Matters – Troy Serad has a passion for transit, especially trains that make sense, does not own a car, but the most important thing is that, like Mark Ahlers, his information is based on facts and careful research. His background is in urban planning, rail planning, accounting and cartography. https://transportationmatters.wordpress.com
What is Bus Rapid Transit – BRT?
Great website that works with cities around the world on transportation issues including Bus Rapid Transit.
CETA Archives, Coalition for Effective Transportation Alternatives
Contact your local elected officials:
Find Your Legislator:
About Face by Sound Transit CEO
2014 PSRC Regional Growth Centers – Where does growth really go in our Region?
June 1, 2015 Crosscut We Deserve Better Transportation Planning
March 26, 2015 Daily Journal of Commerce Transportation 2040 Plan: What’s the Return on our $174 Billion investment?
Latest transportation stories from local papers
In the interest of providing the whole range of news regarding transportation and transit we are providing links to current articles and opinion pages. Smarter Transit does not necessarily agree with the views or info provided in all articles or op-eds.
Sound Transit News
Sound Transit growth reflected in $90M in...
by Mike Lindblom on November 18, 2017 at 2:00 pm
So far this year, Sound Transit’s governing board has approved five office leases totaling $90 million, underscoring the agency’s growth as a result of ST3. […]
Train and transit talk: Highlights from reporter...
by z-inactive-Tyler on November 10, 2017 at 12:52 am
Can Sound Transit projects be completed early? Will ST3 car tab fees come down? What impact will the Trump administration have on funding Seattle-area infrastructure? Mike Lindblom answered your transit-related questions. […]
What can Sound Transit do to keep projects in the...
by Seattle Times staff on November 8, 2017 at 2:00 pm
Transportation reporter Mike Lindblom answers your questions about the future of Sound Transit's light-rail projects, which are facing growing budget pressure from rising land values and construction costs. […]
Sound Transit’s Lynnwood extension running...
by Mike Lindblom on August 24, 2017 at 9:35 pm
The half-billion-dollar increase for the Sound Transit 2 Lynnwood line comes as a surprise for taxpayers, and officials will negotiate simpler designs with cities along the tracks. […]
Here’s why your ST3 car tab fee is so high
by Gina Cole and Daniel Beekman on March 17, 2017 at 1:00 pm
On episode 28 of The Overcast, Traffic Lab reporters Mike Lindblom and David Gutman get nerdy with us about Sound Transit 3 and the car tab fees that fund it. […]
Sticker shock as much higher car-tab bills land...
by David Gutman on February 17, 2017 at 7:43 pm
The state Department of Licensing is getting hit with calls from King, Pierce and Snohomish counties about increased car-tab fees that are just starting to go into effect following the passage of Sound Transit 3. […]
Sound Transit moves fast to get deals on loans,...
by Mike Lindblom on November 28, 2016 at 12:45 am
Sound Transit is making deals for $2.9 billion in federal loans, bond sales and grants while money is cheap. […]
State senator calls for direct elections of Sound...
by Mike Lindblom on November 18, 2016 at 1:38 am
Pierce County voters’ opposition to Sound Transit 3 has prompted state Sen. Steve O’Ban to propose direct elections of transit-board members. […]
Where Sound Transit 3 projects could speed up or...
by Mike Lindblom on November 14, 2016 at 2:00 pm
Political energy, less red tape or simpler design can speed projects. So can money, say, from the federal government. Disputes about track alignments, inaccurate cost forecasts, elaborate stations or tunnels, or a recession can create delays. […]
Passing Sound Transit 3 boost for commuters, jobs
by Jon Talton on November 12, 2016 at 4:00 pm
The Puget Sound region made a big step forward in transportation and the state advanced the condition of low-wage workers. […]
General Transportation News
7 Washington State ferries are out of service,...
by David Gutman on October 22, 2018 at 8:36 pm
Washington State Ferries has also canceled its daily round-trip sailing to Sidney, British Columbia, because of the out-of-service boats. The reduced service is expected to be in effect through Nov. 4. […]
Is cheaper living worth a long commute? Readers...
by Michelle Baruchman on October 22, 2018 at 1:00 pm
Readers share their tips on coping with a long commute and how taking the bus works for them. […]
Traffic Alert: Traffic lights have been restored...
by Michelle Baruchman on October 19, 2018 at 11:23 pm
Traffic signals are now working again at Denny Way and Stewart Street, the Seattle Department of Transportation reported on Twitter. The issue caused delays for traffic heading both eastbound and westbound during the afternoon commute. Crews are working on repairing the signals, said SDOT […]
Pioneer Square streets reopen after 3-hour...
by Paige Cornwell on October 19, 2018 at 3:44 pm
Firefighters are working to evacuate the area as a precaution after the gas leak was reported shortly after 8 a.m. at a construction site. […]
Metro hires Ford Chariot to operate a new...
by Mike Lindblom on October 19, 2018 at 1:00 pm
Commuters within 2 or 3 miles of Eastgate can use an app to hail a ride, and be met by a Chariot van that drops them at the station, located between Interstate 90 and Bellevue College. […]
Would you ditch your car if a transit hub was at...
by David Gutman on October 19, 2018 at 1:00 pm
Teams of students fanned out across the city, interviewing people about their commutes and travel habits, and then brainstorming potential solutions to Seattle's ever-worsening traffic. […]
Viaduct’s last-ever safety checkup will block...
by Mike Lindblom on October 18, 2018 at 1:00 pm
The next time it shuts down will be permanent — on Jan. 11 when contractors block the entrances and connect surface ramps into the new Highway 99 tunnel under downtown Seattle. […]
Lengthy civil trial begins in 2015 Ride the Ducks...
by Christine Clarridge on October 17, 2018 at 12:54 am
A civil lawsuit filed on behalf of 42 people who were injured or killed in the crash, names Ride the Ducks Seattle, Ride the Ducks International, the City of Seattle and the State of Washington as defendants. […]
Washington state to pay $28 million to woman...
by David Gutman on October 16, 2018 at 12:50 am
Skylar Seward was 15 in 2013 when the car she was riding in swerved left and went off the roadway on Interstate 5 near DuPont, Pierce County, colliding with an unprotected concrete pillar in the freeway median. […]
Transfers at Husky Stadium station were...
by Michelle Baruchman on October 15, 2018 at 1:00 pm
A U District community group created a detailed transportation plan in hopes of avoiding what it says are shortcomings in the transit connections for riders at the University of Washington light-rail station at Husky Stadium. […]