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.

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!

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.”

Read the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy’s “What is BRT?” for a fuller picture.

Even the former FTA Administrator advocated for expanding Bus Rapid Transit type service over expensive rail …at one time.

“Riders often want rail – but you can entice diehard rail riders onto a “special” bus, sometimes by just painting the bus a different color than the rest of the fleet. Busways are cheap. You can get a designated lane just by painting it. And with signal preemption, you can move a lot of people at very little cost compared to rail.”

– 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’.

Read the Seattle Times article on Peter Rogoff.

Get involved

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

Learn more

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

Original list of contracts from Sound Transit

Modeling has shown for decades that fixed light rail lines do not dictate where the great majority of people decide to live. It’s confirmed again in this recent study
http://www.citylab.com/search/?q=does+light+rail+work

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.
http://www.citylab.com/commute/2013/02/does-light-rail-encourage-people-stop-driving/4800/

Have Light Rail Systems Been Worth the Investment?
http://www.citylab.com/commute/2014/04/have-us-light-rail-systems-been-worth-investment/8838/

Expedia moves to Seattle – An example of how businesses go where they want to go, not where the “Plans” tell them to go.
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
https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2016/03/22/23823256/transit-riders-union-concerned-that-two-class-based-public-transportations-systems-taking-shape-in-seattle

Hawaii struggles to keep rail project from becoming a boondoggle
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/21/us/hawaii-struggles-to-keep-rail-project-from-becoming-a-boondoggle.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share

Billions Spent but fewer people using public transportation in Southern California
http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-ridership-slump-20160127-story.html

Sound Transit Revealed: More detail about light rail and bus rapid transit
http://www.soundtransitrevealed.com

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?
https://www.itdp.org/library/standards-and-guides/the-bus-rapid-transit-standard/what-is-brt/

Great website that works with cities around the world on transportation issues including Bus Rapid Transit.
https://www.itdp.org

Bus Rapid Transit Institute – National data and info

National BRT Institute

CETA Archives, Coalition for Effective Transportation Alternatives
</a>http://www.effectivetransportation.org<a href=”http://smartertransit.org/resources-and-organizations/”></a>

Here is the link to Sound Transit 2016 Budget. Pages 15 & 22 summarizes the amount of department budgets and staff.
http://www.soundtransit.org/sites/default/files/Adopted%202016%20Budget.pdf

Contact your local elected officials:
http://www.psrc.org/about/members/

Find Your Legislator:
http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/

About Face by Sound Transit CEO
https://transit.dot.gov/about/speeches/administrator-peter-remarks-boston-reserve-bank-next-stop-national-summit-future

2014 PSRC Regional Growth Centers – Where does growth really go in our Region?
http://www.psrc.org/assets/10190/Centers_Monitoring.pdf?processed=true

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.

Seattle Times


Everett Herald


  • Thanksgiving traffic forecast is heavier than...
    by Ben Watanabe on November 24, 2021 at 1:37 am

    HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Drivers and ferry riders could be in for long waits, depending on when they go. Thanksgiving traffic forecast is heavier than pre-pandemic Ben Watanabe

  • Where should Everett Link light rail line and...
    by Ben Watanabe on November 22, 2021 at 9:30 am

    HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington East or west of I-5? How close to Alderwood mall, Boeing or Paine Field? Sound Transit wants input. Where should Everett Link light rail line and stations go? Ben Watanabe

  • Even on Evergreen Way, drivers can’t pass a...
    by Ben Watanabe on November 15, 2021 at 9:30 am

    HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Everett school bus drivers say some aren’t always following the rules around their buses and students. Even on Evergreen Way, drivers can’t pass a stopped school bus Ben Watanabe

  • Lynnwood’s $40 vehicle license fee survives...
    by Ben Watanabe on November 9, 2021 at 8:30 pm

    HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington The Lynnwood City Council did not have the five votes necessary to undo Mayor Nicola Smith’s veto. Lynnwood’s $40 vehicle license fee survives with mayoral veto Ben Watanabe

  • Too many sidewalks aren’t built for people with...
    by Ben Watanabe on November 8, 2021 at 9:30 am

    HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington After the Week Without Driving challenge, our transportation columnist reflects on a recent scene in Everett. Too many sidewalks aren’t built for people with disabilities Ben Watanabe

  • Light rail work to close Highway 104 ramp to I-5...
    by Herald Staff on November 8, 2021 at 9:30 am

    HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington A detour takes drivers to 56th Avenue W, then north to 220th Street SW and back to I-5 North. Light rail work to close Highway 104 ramp to I-5 Tuesday night Herald Staff

  • Highway 528 intersection signal work could...
    by Ben Watanabe on November 8, 2021 at 9:30 am

    HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Marysville is installing new signals at Highway 528 and 67th Avenue NE. Work is set through late November. Highway 528 intersection signal work could disrupt traffic Ben Watanabe

  • 3 miles by ferry, but these days a round trip can...
    by Andrea Brown on November 2, 2021 at 8:30 am

    HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Reporter Andrea Brown commuted on the “20-minute” sailing between Mukilteo and Clinton. Service is taking a toll. 3 miles by ferry, but these days a round trip can take 5 hours Andrea […]

  • Being car-less means cold waits, long trips:...
    by Ben Watanabe on November 1, 2021 at 8:30 am

    HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington The Week Without Driving challenged policymakers and planning professionals to ditch their vehicles. Being car-less means cold waits, long trips: It’s ‘exhausting’ Ben Watanabe

  • In close vote, Lynnwood council plans to end $40...
    by Ben Watanabe on October 29, 2021 at 8:30 am

    HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Members voted 4-3 to end fees that fund road work. With an election Tuesday, the matter might not be settled. In close vote, Lynnwood council plans to end $40 car-tab fee Ben Watanabe

Tacoma News Tribune


  • I-5 will close overnight in Tacoma next week....
    on November 23, 2021 at 4:04 pm

    Motorists traveling on Interstate 5 through Tacoma overnight next week will need to use alternate routes to avoid construction that temporarily will close southbound lanes Dec. 2 and northbound lanes … Click to Continue »

  • Traffic delays near Puyallup on state Route 512...
    on November 15, 2021 at 4:05 pm

    A collision on state Route 512 early Monday morning caused some traffic delays for drivers going west toward Puyallup. The collision was reported about 3:30 a.m. on westbound state Route … Click to Continue »

  • Pedestrian is killed by DUI suspect early Sunday...
    on November 14, 2021 at 6:54 pm

    A pedestrian was killed early Sunday morning after a vehicle drove off the road and crashed into a man sleeping on a discarded couch, according to Puyallup police. The driver, … Click to Continue »

  • Officials identify motorcyclist killed in crash...
    on November 11, 2021 at 9:30 pm

    A man killed Friday night after his motorcycle collided with a vehicle making a turn at an intersection near Fircrest has been identified by the Pierce County medical examiner. Brandon … Click to Continue »

  • Wreck near Puyallup turns fatal after Graham...
    on November 7, 2021 at 6:18 pm

    A Graham woman died at an area hospital Saturday afternoon following a single-vehicle wreck near Puyallup, according to Washington State Patrol. The woman was identified as Kimberly E. Rosoto, 54. … Click to Continue »

  • Traffic collision on I-5 near JBLM between...
    on November 4, 2021 at 7:35 pm

    A traffic collision on Southbound I-5 near Joint Base Lewis-McChord on Thursday afternoon blocked several lanes of traffic and caused delays for motorists on the interstate. The collision was reported … Click to Continue »

  • Traffic delays on southbound I-5 after fatal...
    on October 27, 2021 at 2:25 pm

    A fatal crash on southbound Interstate 5 near the Main Gate of Joint Base Lewis-McChord caused traffic delays Wednesday morning. The right two lanes of traffic were blocked due the … Click to Continue »

  • Is our long, Tacoma traffic nightmare nearly...
    on October 27, 2021 at 12:00 pm

    Buckle your seat belts, Tacoma. You’ll need another half year of fortitude before you can drive Interstate 5 without passing through a construction zone. After 20 years of shifting lanes, … Click to Continue »

  • Man fatally struck by car while crossing Tacoma...
    on October 26, 2021 at 3:58 pm

    A man was struck and killed by a car Monday night in Tacoma. Police said the man was crossing a street in the middle of the block when he was … Click to Continue »

  • Man killed in traffic collision Monday afternoon...
    on October 26, 2021 at 2:40 pm

    A 27-year-old man died Monday afternoon after his car collided with the front of a truck in Spanaway, deputies from Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said. The collision occurred about 4:40 … Click to Continue »