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.
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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!
Sound Transit light-rail service was delayed for about an hour after the emergency response. The incident occurred within the light-rail line’s most dangerous stretch, on MLK Way South, where trains are on the surface rather than being elevated or tunneled like other...
What will it take to get people to return to downtown Seattle? It’s not like we can schedule daily Taylor Swift concerts. The latest numbers on commuting into the downtown core are not encouraging. "Going forward, maybe it’s time to reconsider our transit plans. Does...
Across the United States, transit systems that have relied for decades on office workers are scrambling to avoid financial collapse as commuters stay home. Many systems are asking their local governments for bailouts as federal pandemic relief runs dry, but they are...
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.
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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.
- Judge upholds WA’s $17B transportation funding...by David Kroman on September 22, 2023 at 8:53 pm
A Thurston County judge Friday rejected a challenge to Washington’s $17 billion transportation funding package, passed in 2022, leaving in place the sweeping legislation that’s set to shape the state’s roads, bridges, ferries, transit and sidewalks for the next 15 years. The lawsuit, filed […]
- Northbound I-5 closed at Marysville after semi...by Jenn Smith on September 21, 2023 at 4:28 pm
A rollover in Marysville blocked I-5 northbound traffic Thursday morning and spilled a load of fish across the road.
- Prices skyrocket on WA transportation projects,...by David Kroman on September 21, 2023 at 1:00 pm
As lawmakers look toward a 15-year sprint to build out the state's highways, bridges and ferries, a worrisome trend is casting a shadow over their ambitions.
- Bellevue light-rail line isn’t open yet, but...by Mike Lindblom on September 20, 2023 at 5:00 pm
Sound Transit says a contractor’s floor-tile work at the South Bellevue Station must be redone quickly so an Eastside starter line can open in spring 2024.
- Stolen WSDOT asphalt truck goes up in flames...by GARRETT CABEZA on September 20, 2023 at 1:55 pm
A man is accused of shooting at a semitruck and stealing an asphalt truck before leading officers on a chase that ended with the truck in flames and the man in custody.
- New law would mandate construction, repair of...by David Kroman on September 19, 2023 at 5:00 pm
The bill would not transform sidewalks overnight. But it would force the issue, a City Council member says. Fixing all city sidewalks could cost $500 million to $1.3 billion.
- Another WA ferry out for at least a month,...by David Kroman on September 18, 2023 at 10:44 pm
Both the Bremerton and Bainbridge routes have lost capacity as the state system swaps ferries around to fill gaps — resembling a game of Tetris.
- West Seattle water taxi to keep all-day, weekend...by David Kroman on September 18, 2023 at 10:03 pm
What started as an experiment has resulted in ridership has remained strong enough to recommend permanent seven-day service.
- Wrong-way crash in Bothell leaves 2 dead, 1...by Seattle Times staff on September 16, 2023 at 4:26 pm
Two people died and one was injured after a car headed the wrong way on I-405 hit another car in Bothell early Saturday, according to Washington State Patrol.
- More WA ferry problems: Bainbridge service down...by David Kroman on September 15, 2023 at 10:55 pm
The issue with the Walla Walla appears to be its propeller.
- After Maui wildfires, Sky Valley locals look...by Jordan Hansen on September 20, 2023 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington It’s the main evacuation route for 40,000 people near Sultan, Gold Bar and Index. And it wouldn’t take much to cut it off. After Maui wildfires, Sky Valley locals look warily at US 2 […]
- With 1 Seattle ferry down, Edmonds-Kingston route...by Andrea Brown on September 19, 2023 at 8:18 pm
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington It is unlikely the Mukilteo-Clinton route will be impacted. Edmonds-Kingston may be as the boat shuffle continues. With 1 Seattle ferry down, Edmonds-Kingston route could be affected Andrea […]
- Edmonds-Kingston ferry route returns to full...by Wire Service on September 15, 2023 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Generator problems had docked the ferry Spokane for two days. Edmonds-Kingston ferry route returns to full service Wire Service
- Two-boat ferry service resumes Friday on the...by Andrea Brown on September 14, 2023 at 12:45 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Mechanical issues docked the 188-car vessel Spokane on Wednesday and Thursday Two-boat ferry service resumes Friday on the Edmonds-Kingston route Andrea Brown
- Traces of meth, fentanyl exposure common on Puget...by Sydney Jackson on September 7, 2023 at 7:50 pm
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Five public transit agencies, including Everett Transit and Community Transit, participated in a new UW study released Thursday. Traces of meth, fentanyl exposure common on Puget Sound, […]
- Ambitious high-speed rail project could have stop...by Jenelle Baumbach on September 5, 2023 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Travel time from Portland or Vancouver to Seattle could be just an hour. The project is slated to cost tens of billions. Ambitious high-speed rail project could have stop in Everett Jenelle […]
- Blessing or baffling? Lake Stevens’ new...by Jordan Hansen on September 2, 2023 at 12:30 pm
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Last year, a Highway 9 intersection saw 43 crashes — fewer than a complex of roundabouts has seen in two months since opening. Blessing or baffling? Lake Stevens’ new roundabout maze […]
- Road closures to watch out for in Lake Stevens,...by Jordan Hansen on August 18, 2023 at 10:00 pm
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington In the next week, stretches of Highway 9 will close at night for striping and pavement repairs. Road closures to watch out for in Lake Stevens, Marysville Jordan Hansen
- Shrimp fishing gear snarls Mukilteo-Clinton ferry...by Andrea Brown on August 7, 2023 at 6:00 pm
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Service was disrupted for 90 minutes Monday during peak travel time, especially for those departing Clinton. Shrimp fishing gear snarls Mukilteo-Clinton ferry travel Andrea Brown
- Street Smarts columnist signs off from a dream jobby Ben Watanabe on August 6, 2023 at 8:30 am
HeraldNet.com HeraldNet.com - Everett and Snohomish County news from The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington Columnist and Everett local Ben Watanabe reflects on the lessons learned from over 3 years covering transportation. Street Smarts columnist signs off from a dream job Ben Watanabe
Tacoma News Tribune
- 2 dead after tire flies into van on I-5 in...on September 21, 2023 at 3:29 pm
Two men died in Lakewood on Thursday when a loose tire flew into the windshield of the van they were passengers in on Interstate 5, state troopers said. The Washington … Click to Continue »
- Semi-truck collision blocks all Southbound lanes...on September 19, 2023 at 4:25 pm
A collision involving a semi-truck is blocking all lanes of southbound state Route 167 southbound lanes in Pacific, near the Pierce and King county line. Washington State Department of Transportation … Click to Continue »
- One person injured following rollover collision...on September 18, 2023 at 10:40 pm
One person is being treated for minor injuries following a rollover collision near the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Main Gate on Monday afternoon. Washington State Department of Transportation posted on X … Click to Continue »
- UPDATE: Man found dead in single-car crash...on September 13, 2023 at 5:01 pm
Update 9/14: According to a news release from Fife PD, the collision is being investigated as a homicide. The driver who was killed was identified as Rudolph King III, 23. … Click to Continue »
- Tacoma fire crews fight car and large brush fire...on September 11, 2023 at 8:20 pm
A car and a nearby brush caught on fire on I-5 in Fife after a driver drove off the road Monday afternoon. According to Tacoma Fire Department spokesperson Joe Meinecke, … Click to Continue »
- Tacoma police say they are investigating a...on September 7, 2023 at 10:25 pm
Tacoma Police Department officers are investigating a “serious injury accident” Thursday afternoon on South 74th Street. Westbound land of traffic are closed near the 4600 block of South 74th, the … Click to Continue »
- A second person has died after a weekend crash in...on September 7, 2023 at 12:15 pm
A 13-year-old girl is the second person to die afte a two-car wreck that occurred on southbound Interstate 5 in Tacoma on Sunday night. The girl died at Tacoma General … Click to Continue »
- Tacoma woman killed in overnight wreck on...on September 4, 2023 at 4:41 pm
A 41-year-old woman died Sunday night in a two-vehicle wreck on southbound Interstate 5 in Tacoma, according to the Washington State Patrol. The incident blocked the roadway for hours. A … Click to Continue »
- Traveling this Labor Day weekend? Avoid traffic,...on August 30, 2023 at 6:39 pm
Whether your Labor Day weekend plans involve a barbecue, camping, time with family or something else, travel costs might seem a little extra expensive this year. With Washington state gas … Click to Continue »
- Vehicle fire on Tacoma Narrows Bridge creates...on August 30, 2023 at 4:29 pm
A car caught fire about 9 a.m. Wednesday on the westbound Tacoma Narrows Bridge, creating traffic delays in the area. Washington State Department of Transportation announced on X, formerly known … Click to Continue »