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.
Better bus service would improve millions of Americans’ lives. Opinion by NYT columnist, Farhad Manjoo. Photo: Florian Buettner/laif, via Redux
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!
Billions of dollars in federal aid have pulled New York’s transit agency from the depths of its fiscal crisis. But a growing consensus that its ridership may never return entirely threatens its future. (Photograph by Ali Kate Cherkis, NYT)
When Sound Transit unveiled a $54 billion tax measure in 2016, even its most tenacious critics said the rail and bus budgets were so larded with financial cushions the agency couldn’t possibly run short on cash. Only five years later,...
Washington State DOT’s Ultra High-Speed Ground Transportation Business Case Analysis (UHSGT) is a promotional brochure riddled with serious errors and misstatements
Read the complete paper here: Washington State DOT’s Ultra High-Speed Ground Transportation Business Case Analysis (UHSGT) is a promotional brochure riddled with serious errors and misstatementsKey Findings The term “Ultra High-Speed Ground Transportation...
Mariya Frost is the director of the Coles Center for Transportation at the Washington Policy Center. Four years ago, transportation experts predicted Sound Transit’s light rail expansion would be obsolete before it’s built. Now, Covid-19’s impact on how we...
SEATTLE — If you think the commute in and out of West Seattle is rough now – get ready for January. The Washington State Department of Transportation said they will be doing some critical work to the First Avenue South Bridge that will require...
Performance audit of Sound Transit reveals over $100 million spent to fix mistakes and missing information
From the Washington Policy Center: The Washington State Auditor’s Office (SAO) released a performance audit of Sound Transit, finding that the agency should spend more time upfront in carefully designing and planning projects to reduce high...
Los Angeles Times: A viaduct built in Madera for California’s high-speed rail project. (High-Speed Rail Authority) Lawmakers are withdrawing their support from the high-speed rail project as many become skeptical of the plans and...
From the Washington Policy Center: In a June 17 update, King County Metro provided information on the agency’s COVID-19 response and recovery, as well as the impact of the pandemic on budget and policy. Metro reported that ridership...
From the Washington Policy Center:The West Seattle Bridge was first opened to traffic in 1984, replacing a twin drawbridge (or bascule bridge) that had been struck in 1978 by the freighter Chavez. Its replacement – a segmental bridge supported...
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.”
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
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.
- Complicated, ‘breathtaking’ segment of...by Katherine Anne Long on September 21, 2021 at 1:37 am
A $7.5 million grant from Amazon will allow King County to complete one of the most complicated parts of a planned 42-mile trail system by 2024, county and company executives announced Monday.
- After major delays Monday morning, Sounder S Line...by Daisy Zavala on September 20, 2021 at 2:11 pm
Sound Transit S Line trains were significantly delayed Monday morning as officials responded to a medical incident on the train tracks north of Auburn, according to Sound Transit. Late morning and afternoon trains will run on schedule.
- Wild weather plus terrible Seattle drivers: Stay...by Christine Clarridge on September 17, 2021 at 2:12 pm
Whether this is your first season of driving in Seattle rain or your 77th, remember that collisions are most common on Western Washington roads during the first rain after a long dry spell. Here are some tips to help you drive safely.
- Staffing shortages cause canceled ferry sailingsby The Associated Press on September 16, 2021 at 12:43 pm
Staffing shortages at Washington State Ferries resulted in 51 canceled sailings on the Anacortes/San Juan Islands route on Sept. 9-13. A spokesperson said crew members were out because of COVID diagnoses, quarantining and getting vaccinations.
- Driver arrested in fatal Sodo collision early...by Daisy Zavala on September 15, 2021 at 8:21 pm
Seattle police are investigating after a driver struck and killed a woman early Wednesday in Sodo. Police arrested the driver, who appeared to be intoxicated, and transported him to a nearby hospital for a blood draw.
- New York-based transit company to launch rapid...by JAYATI RAMAKRISHNAN on September 15, 2021 at 3:25 pm
A New York-based transportation company plans to offer direct trips between Seattle and Portland starting next month. OurBus will launch its Seattle-to-Portland route as a “holiday service,” on days with a high volume of travelers.
- A quarter of a million long commutes disappeared...by Gene Balk / FYI Guy on September 13, 2021 at 1:00 pm
With more people working from home or some other distant location, a lot of commutes simply no longer exist — at least for the time being. During the pandemic, the number of people commuting 20 minutes or longer plummeted. So why is traffic so bad?
- Why Seattle-area travelers might want to stay...by Mike Lindblom on September 10, 2021 at 1:00 pm
From freeway lanes to light rail and the Montlake Bridge, transportation maintenance and repair projects will frustrate Seattle-area travelers this weekend. Some closures will conflict with major sporting events.
- Bremerton ferry route down to one boat through...by Christine Clarridge on September 8, 2021 at 1:53 pm
The Seattle-Bremerton route is down to one boat, the Chimacum, until further notice due to maintenance, crewing challenges and a shortage of available vessels, the Washington State Ferries said in a bulletin.
- Northgate light rail opens Oct. 2. How will the...by Michelle Baruchman on September 8, 2021 at 1:00 pm
Sound Transit's latest light-rail extension opens Oct. 2 with new stations in the University District, Roosevelt and Northgate. How will this new line, and related bus-service changes, affect your travel routine?
- Active transportation requires a lot of planning,...by Ben Watanabe on September 20, 2021 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Lawn care complicated our transportation columnist’s commitment to ditch his car for 1-mile trips. Active transportation requires a lot of planning, preparation Ben Watanabe
- Smokey Point road improvements won’t be done...by Isabella Breda on September 18, 2021 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Amazon, NorthPoint are coming but the state will not begin widening Highway 531 until 2023. Smokey Point road improvements won’t be done before industrial center Isabella Breda
- Road disruptions starting around Highway 9 in...by Herald Staff on September 15, 2021 at 5:30 pm
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Lane reductions and closures are part of the work to improve the intersection at Highways 9 and 204. Road disruptions starting around Highway 9 in Lake Stevens Herald Staff
- Faster trips, more service in store for Community...by Ben Watanabe on September 13, 2021 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington The agency is reallocating 4,000 service hours that will be saved by ending commuter routes at Northgate. Faster trips, more service in store for Community Transit Ben Watanabe
- As offices reopen, some former ‘super...by Janice Podsada on September 9, 2021 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington After a pandemic respite working at home, they dread resuming a one-way commute of 90 minutes or more. As offices reopen, some former ‘super commuters’ aren’t happy Janice Podsada
- Highway 9 set for closure north of Arlington next...by Herald Staff on September 8, 2021 at 8:06 pm
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Work to replace a culvert will require a detour to I-5 starting Monday until the following Saturday morning. Highway 9 set for closure north of Arlington next week Herald Staff
- Could a bypass clear highway traffic in downtown...by Ben Watanabe on September 6, 2021 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington The connection would skirt west of downtown from Highway 532 north toward Old Pacific Highway. Could a bypass clear highway traffic in downtown Stanwood? Ben Watanabe
- 4 things to know about Labor Day weekend travelby Herald Staff on September 2, 2021 at 8:20 pm
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Quick tips for coping on highways and ferries. 4 things to know about Labor Day weekend travel Herald Staff
- Avoid Friday and Monday travel to beat Labor Day...by Ben Watanabe on September 1, 2021 at 11:00 pm
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington The holiday weekend usually has a surge of traffic at the usual chokepoints in Snohomish County. Avoid Friday and Monday travel to beat Labor Day gridlock Ben Watanabe
- 5 big transportation developments in 2021 to keep...by Janice Podsada on September 1, 2021 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington New bus routes, toll lanes and highway upgrades: Here are the region’s top pending transportation projects. 5 big transportation developments in 2021 to keep us rolling Janice Podsada
Tacoma News Tribune
- Train derails at Port of Tacoma, knocks down...on September 14, 2021 at 8:54 pm
A train derailed at the Port of Tacoma on Tuesday afternoon, striking a pole and knocking down power lines. Firefighters from Tacoma Fire Department were on the scene in the … Click to Continue »
- Traffic snarled on northbound I-5 out of Lacey...on September 14, 2021 at 2:35 pm
Traffic on northbound Interstate 5 out of Lacey was congested Tuesday morning due to a gate closure at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The DuPont Gate at JBLM is scheduled to be … Click to Continue »
- Six-car pileup snarls SR 16 at Gig Harbor,...on September 7, 2021 at 9:26 pm
A multi-car crash snarled the eastbound lanes of State Route 16 in Gig Harbor on Tuesday morning, backing up traffic for several hours. The six-car pileup resulted from three cascading … Click to Continue »
- The best and worst times for traveling major...on September 3, 2021 at 6:25 pm
If you’re heading out for Labor Day weekend, expect heavy traffic along Washington highways, especially I-90 and I-5. The Washington state Department of Transportation recommends drivers be safe, patient and … Click to Continue »
- Drivers should expect ‘significant delays’ on...on August 29, 2021 at 12:00 pm
Those traveling in Edgewood should expect delays beginning Sept. 15 near the southeast area of the city. A portion of Edgewood Drive East will be closed for one month due … Click to Continue »
- Officials identify motorcyclist killed in Tacoma...on August 27, 2021 at 7:30 pm
A 40-year-old man who died in Tacoma after a driver made a left turn and collided with his motorcycle was identified Thursday by the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s office. Nicholas … Click to Continue »
- Narrows Bridge toll hike approved. Increase to...on August 24, 2021 at 10:08 pm
A 25-cent toll increase for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge is set to start Oct. 1. The Washington State Transportation Commission approved the increase at a hearing Aug. 24. That means … Click to Continue »
- Motorcyclist killed in Tacoma traffic collision...on August 23, 2021 at 11:03 pm
A 40-year-old man was killed Sunday afternoon after his motorcycle collided with a sedan on South 56th Street, police said. Officers were called to a report of a traffic collision … Click to Continue »
- Traffic collision in Lakewood sends 2 to hospitalon August 17, 2021 at 7:04 pm
A traffic collision in Lakewood Tuesday morning sent two people to the hospital and led to a road closure, according to tweets from West Pierce Fire & Rescue. Gravelly Lake … Click to Continue »
- Prepare for 10-mile backups as construction...on August 16, 2021 at 12:00 pm
The state is warning drivers that state Route 167 construction later this month could add at least 90 minutes of travel time from Sumner to Pacific. The Department of Transportation … Click to Continue »