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’s bleak downtown light-rail stations have nowhere to go but up
Thousands of passengers who enter the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel learned a while ago to sidestep broken escalators marked by yellow barricades, avoid the fentanyl smokers huddled outside certain entrances and take shallow breaths inside fetid elevators. They’ve...
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!
Your old workweek is extinct, Commute Seattle data shows
The report, released Thursday by the nonprofit Commute Seattle and the University of Washington’s Mobility Innovation Center, represents the most rigorous examination available of downtown commuter trips, and this year’s version illustrates an upheaval in workers’...
‘The Era of Urban Supremacy Is Over’
From July 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021, “New census data shows a huge spike in movement out of big metro areas during the pandemic,” Frey writes in an April 2022 paper, including “an absolute decline in the aggregate size of the nation’s 56 major metropolitan areas (those...
Be bolder to get light rail done, expert panel tells Sound Transit
Outside experts warn that Sound Transit light-rail extensions, already years late, will careen into endless delays unless the board and executives adopt a big-time mindset to match the 116-mile network they promised the voters. Read the...
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.”
The Source: Federal Transit Administration chief: ‘Paint is cheap, rails systems are extremely expensive’.
Contact your appointed and elected officials: Puget Sound Regional Council, Sound Transit Board and Washington State Legislature.
Volunteer: Smarter Transit is a non-profit organization run by all volunteers. We need help with research, writing, speaking, networking.
Share what you’ve learned with friends and on social media.
Contact Maggie Fimia or John Niles: Here
Sound Transit Revealed Get into the numbers of light rail, BRT and SoundTransit.
Transportation Matters A blog about rails, cities and politics in the Pacific Northwest.
Key Performance Measures Our report on what the data shows for transit 2040.
Here is a summary of the Sound Transit Contracts See who contracts with Sound Transit and also how many staff they hire
All Sound Transit contracts over $100,000 since 2007 by category
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.
Bus Rapid Transit Institute – National data and info
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.
- Crash on West Seattle Bridge kills two...by Vonnai Phair on March 22, 2023 at 1:27 pm
A man and woman died in a two-car collision Wednesday morning on the West Seattle Bridge, according to Seattle police.
- Seattle’s bleak downtown light-rail stations...by Mike Lindblom on March 19, 2023 at 1:00 pm
Broken escalators are just the tip of the iceberg beneath downtown Seattle, where Westlake Station and the others need massive repair work after years of decline.
- Bus service begins on new RapidRide H Line from...by Daniel Beekman on March 18, 2023 at 1:00 pm
The H Line will zip bus riders between Burien, White Center, Delridge and downtown Seattle, thanks to $154 million in transit-oriented upgrades along the route.
- Contaminated groundwater found in train...by Isabella Breda on March 17, 2023 at 11:44 pm
Officials say they will install groundwater wells to monitor for "any migration of diesel" from the spill site after a BNSF train derailed on the Swinomish Reservagtion
- 4 injured in Highway 167 crash in Algona; semi...by Daisy Zavala Magaña on March 17, 2023 at 10:27 pm
All lanes have reopened on Highway 167 near Ellingson Road after a collision involving a semitruck. The driver was taken into custody on suspicion of a DUI.
- What we know about the BNSF train derailment on...by Vonnai Phair and Isabella Breda on March 17, 2023 at 5:28 pm
A freight train derailed on the Swinomish Reservation near Anacortes and leaked some diesel fuel on Thursday. Here's what we know.
- Westbound Highway 2 ramp to I-5 in Everett reopensby Seattle Times staff on March 16, 2023 at 8:20 pm
Everett Avenue under the Highway 2 ramp in Everett remains closed in both directions due to debris from the semitruck collision.
- Transit fare inspections are upheld by WA Supreme...by Mike Lindblom and David Kroman on March 16, 2023 at 3:19 pm
The ruling recognized the right of transit agencies to conduct fare checks, but criticized how one man was dealt with during in an incident that led to his arrest.
- 1 dead in early morning crash on I-5 in SeaTacby Vonnai Phair on March 16, 2023 at 2:10 pm
One person died and another person was injured in a single-vehicle crash on southbound I-5 in SeaTac.
- BNSF train derails on Swinomish Reservation as...by Isabella Breda and Vonnai Phair on March 16, 2023 at 2:04 pm
A freight train has derailed on the Swinomish Reservation near Anacortes and leaked some diesel fuel. A cleanup operation is underway.
- Port parking at Mukilteo waterfront finally opensby Ben Watanabe on March 22, 2023 at 7:45 pm
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington The 99-stall lot on the former ferry holding lanes includes 63 spots for someone to leave a car for up to 72 hours. Port parking at Mukilteo waterfront finally opens Ben Watanabe
- Lake Stevens development prompts Highway 9 signal...by Ben Watanabe on March 19, 2023 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Turning left from Soper Hill Road can be a long wait now. Flashing yellow turn signals could help with more traffic. Lake Stevens development prompts Highway 9 signal change soon Ben […]
- Supreme Court says sheriff’s deputy improperly...by Jerry Cornfield on March 16, 2023 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington In a mixed ruling, justices upheld enforcement of fares but not the way it occurred on a Swift bus in Everett in 2018. Supreme Court says sheriff’s deputy improperly detained bus rider […]
- Hearing examiner’s order holds up Cathcart park...by Ben Watanabe on March 15, 2023 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Initial plans had the stormwater system designed under urban zoning rules, but the property has rural zoning. Hearing examiner’s order holds up Cathcart park and ride Ben Watanabe
- Yes, it’s legal (and risky) to bike on WA...by Ben Watanabe on March 12, 2023 at 9:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington A reader asked about the legality of biking on the shoulder of U.S. 2 after a run-in with law enforcement. Yes, it’s legal (and risky) to bike on WA highways — with big exceptions Ben […]
- Ride the rails on the Amtrak Cascades for a...by Andrea Brown on March 10, 2023 at 9:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington The service derailed by the pandemic is fully restored with multiple travel options between Oregon and Canada. Ride the rails on the Amtrak Cascades for a rumbling adventure Andrea Brown
- Biden budget has $250M for Lynnwood light railby Ben Watanabe on March 9, 2023 at 10:30 pm
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Potential savings could go toward other Sound Transit projects in development, including the Everett extension. Biden budget has $250M for Lynnwood light rail Ben Watanabe
- Community Transit drops employee COVID vaccine...by Ben Watanabe on March 7, 2023 at 9:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington After a year with it in place and three years after the first known U.S. COVID case, the CEO announced the change. Community Transit drops employee COVID vaccine requirement Ben Watanabe
- Overnight lane closures coming to I-5 North in...by Herald Staff on March 5, 2023 at 8:30 pm
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Crews are set to repair and replace concrete panels and expansion joints north of 41st Street from Sunday through April 3. Overnight lane closures coming to I-5 North in Everett Herald Staff
- Highway 9 due for more road work between Lake...by Ben Watanabe on March 5, 2023 at 9:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington The state has a contract for crews to go out this year and repair the road between 132nd Street NE and Highway 528. Highway 9 due for more road work between Lake Stevens, Marysville Ben […]
Tacoma News Tribune
- Expect long traffic delays on SR-16. Man driving...on March 22, 2023 at 10:35 pm
Drivers should expect traffic delays for the next few hours traveling west on state Route 16. All lanes of westbound Route 16 near Burnham Drive are closed following a multi-vehicle … Click to Continue »
- Semi driver injured in fiery wreck on I-5 near...on March 22, 2023 at 6:28 pm
A 60-year-old man who crashed a tractor-trailer Tuesday afternoon on northbound Interstate 5 near Tacoma fell asleep at the wheel and collided with a crash cushion, according to the Washington … Click to Continue »
- Semi wrecks, catches fire on Interstate 5 near...on March 21, 2023 at 10:02 pm
A tractor-trailer wrecked Tuesday afternoon on northbound Interstate 5 near Tacoma and caught fire, according to transportation officials. All but one lane of the freeway was blocked, causing traffic delays. … Click to Continue »
- Hit-and-run wreck near downtown Tacoma leaves...on March 20, 2023 at 2:56 pm
Tacoma police searched Monday morning for a pickup driver who ran from a two-vehicle wreck on Tacoma Avenue South that left another person with life-threatening injuries, according to the Police … Click to Continue »
- Afternoon commute may be brutal around Tacoma...on March 17, 2023 at 10:11 pm
Commuters driving around the Tacoma area may face long delays Friday afternoon due to an overturned semitruck on northbound state Route 167 in Algona and a five-car collision in Lakewood … Click to Continue »
- UPDATE: Cleanup from fuel truck rollover on I-5...on March 13, 2023 at 2:55 pm
A semi-truck carrying fuel rolled over on southbound Interstate 5 in Lacey during rush hour Monday morning, blocking freeway lanes and spilling diesel onto the roadway. Cleaning it up was … Click to Continue »
- Southbound I-5 traffic backed up in Tacoma after...on March 8, 2023 at 5:24 pm
Traffic was backed up for miles Wednesday morning on southbound Interstate 5 near downtown Tacoma after three cars and a semi truck were involved in a collision that overturned the … Click to Continue »
- Fire shuts down both directions of I-5 at JBLM...on March 8, 2023 at 12:10 am
UPDATE 5:23 p.m.: One northbound lane (far right) has been opened. NB backups extend into Thurston County. UDPATE 4:45 p.m.: A driver has been arrested. UPDATE 4:40 p.m.: Three of … Click to Continue »
- Tacoma road is closed after encampment fire...on March 7, 2023 at 6:31 pm
The Union Avenue off-ramp that connects to South Tacoma Way is closed, the City of Tacoma announced in a news release Monday. The ramp was damaged after a fire on … Click to Continue »
- Southbound traffic snarled on I-5 in Federal Way...on March 6, 2023 at 3:34 pm
A large wreck Monday on southbound Interstate 5 in Federal Way made for a long morning commute for drivers headed into Pierce County. All southbound lanes were blocked, according to … Click to Continue »