Some commenters have asked for an estimate of light rail travel times with Sound Transit 2, compared to other possibilities. It’s all in Appendix C of the plan, along with tons of other information about ridership, capacity, and such.

For easy reference, here’s the key table:
Sorry for the fine print, but Blogger is giving me problems. Click the link and go to Page C-7.

7 Replies to “ST2 Travel Times”

  1. I saw this chart with the sound transit materials and the information is useful. However, I think the key issue is how fast light rail will be compared to car travel rather than bus travel. Based on this chart, I would expect people to switch from busses to trains, but not necessarily from cars to trains. I voted for Prop 1 and hope it passes, but I am concerned that it may not be designed to get enough people out of cars, which I think should be a major focus of such a big investment. The key there is making it more convenient an reliable than car travel for as many people as possible. If it has too many stops for the level of density then that may not happen.

    I was in San Francisco for the first time recently and had the chance to explore their transit system some. They have BART for longer distance/regional travel and Muni for in-city transportation. I’m concerned that this may be too much an in-between muddle. Do you have any thoughts on that? –Scott H

  2. Scott, the Seattle P-I compared light rail travel to car travel.

    But here’s the key. Car travel will be slower than bus travel in the primary exurban corridors leading into Seattle, because buses get HOV lanes that cars do not.

  3. In response to “getting people out of their cars”, other systems (Denver!) have recently seen as many as 60% of riders on a rail line previously served by buses coming from previous car use.

    In terms of “in-between muddle” – we can’t pass BART here, unless you want a 1% increase in sales tax. That will go down hard at the polls. And we don’t have an income tax like CA does, and won’t anytime soon.

  4. Scott H brings up good points. And Ben, your answer lacks some key ingredients. Yes, buses have the HOV system. But they don’t use HOV when accessing places outside the freeweay Right of Way. Furthermore, 1) HOV lanes are currently not well managed and get congested during peak period; 2)ST2 assumes that the HOV network will continue to be unmanaged in 2030 and 3) ST2 assumes an incremental increase in congestion in the HOV network through 2030 of 1% annually. Not only that, the travel times include transferring, so they do not compare with the car and are therefore more than likely slower than what is achieved today by car.
    Please note that 1) most of the comparisons given are trips that currently require a transfer and 2) all are trips that will provide either a direct or rail to rail transfer in the future. It does not portray the highest demand travel patterns (overall) or the highest demand transit corridors or corridors in which ST2 will not serve well because it falls off their program (Kirkland, Kent, Ballard, Issaquah, West Seattle)
    –Multimodal Man

  5. Multimodal man: Read some of what I write. I don’t extol the values of bus HOV, but with the direct access ramps ST has been building, bus HOV is faster than driving in many cases.

    I think there’s a serious armchair planner issue here, though. :)

  6. Well…I guess I will just have to trust the experts to put the stations at optimal distances from one another and at the most logical locations. I just hope that light rail ends up being at least competitive with cars in terms of travel time. Certainly, it will be between downtown and the udistrict…which is projected to take only 9 minutes by rail. Scott H

  7. You don’t have to trust them – you can follow the research yourself, but it takes effort. I mean, following the work of dozens of planners, each basing their research off the work of dozens more in other agencies, is rather time-consuming.

    For any given station planned so far, it’s pretty clear that the location is optimal. Nobody’s doing anything dumb – it just sometimes takes digging to find out why their decision was the best decision.

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