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.
Uber took down the taxi industry and now it wants a piece of public transit. That has transportation and urban planning experts deeply worried. For years, as it aggressively entered new markets, Uber has maintained that it is a complement and ally of public transit....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!
Seattle Times: How did Sound Transit’s $15 billion tax request reach $54 billion? Republicans say they were misled
"GOP legislators say they thought they were authorizing $15 billion in taxes when they voted in 2015 to let Sound Transit ask voters to expand transit. How did that become $54 billion? Legislators put no expiration date on the taxes. Now they say they were misled."...read more
A new approach to trackless transit - trains not constrained to actual tracks, but it instead following virtual ones using tires and an electric powertrain – much like a bus. Read the whole story at...read more
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
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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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.
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
Podcast: Seattle treads cautiously on shareable...
by Daniel Beekman and Jim Brunner on May 24, 2019 at 2:00 pm
While electric scooters are hitting the streets in many U.S. cities, Seattle is taking a go-slow approach to permitting them. In our latest politics podcast, transportation reporter Heidi Groover explains what her reporting shows about the pros and cons of the latest urban-transportation trend. […]
Would you pay to drive in downtown Seattle? Study...
by Heidi Groover on May 24, 2019 at 1:00 pm
Eventually, a congestion pricing plan would have to pass a public vote. […]
A glimpse of Washington state’s first highway...
by Colin Diltz on May 23, 2019 at 2:00 pm
Sunset Highway has changed a lot since Snoqualmie Pass was connected in 1915. […]
‘This works’: Downtown Bellevue bike lanes...
by Michelle Baruchman on May 23, 2019 at 1:00 pm
The bike lane along 108th Avenue between Northeast Main Street and Northeast 12th Street will be tweaked over the next few months, and the city will also get an east-west bikeway. […]
WSDOT to replace its Talgo railcars like those in...
by Mike Lindblom on May 23, 2019 at 3:12 am
More than 50 Talgo railcars on the Amtrak Cascades line will be replaced “as soon as possible,” the state said Wednesday, one day after the NTSB said the cars didn't adequately shield passengers in the 2017 fatal Amtrak crash near DuPont. […]
NTSB ‘amazed at the amount of failure’ by...
by Mike Lindblom on May 22, 2019 at 12:51 am
The safety board put primary blame on Sound Transit, which owns the $181 million rail corridor used by Amtrak, for failing to require safety improvements around the curve near DuPont, where the 80 mph speed limit dropped to 30 mph. […]
Judge delays sentence for ‘The Bachelor’ star...
by The Associated Press on May 21, 2019 at 8:20 pm
INDEPENDENCE, Iowa (AP) — A judge will not consider requests from a dead farmer’s relatives to impose prison time when she sentences “The Bachelor” star Chris Soules for leaving the scene of the accident that killed the man, she ruled Tuesday. The wife and sons of farmer […]
Tips for beating travel hassles over Memorial Day...
by Christine Clarridge on May 21, 2019 at 2:08 pm
Millions of Americans will travel during the Memorial Day weekend. Traffic could be twice as bad as usual in the Seattle area, and delays on roads and ferries may start Wednesday. Here's a breakdown of what to expect, when to go — and when not to. […]
Waterfront transforming before our eyes as...
by Mike Lindblom and Ken Lambert on May 21, 2019 at 2:00 pm
After Memorial Day, work will resume on demolishing the viaduct at Yesler Way and points south. […]
Bellingham woman, 20, dies in motorcycle crash...
by Christine Clarridge on May 20, 2019 at 3:19 pm
This is at least the fifth motorcycle fatality in the Puget Sound area since March. […]