Link Red Line diagram from Sound Transit
Link Red Line diagram from Sound Transit

Sound Transit staff have long suggested by example prior to adoption of the Link line naming system that Central Link will be named the Red Line and East Link be named the Blue Line. Those “example” names became official in June when ST announced new and improved signage to be unveiled systemwide when U-Link opens next year.

I asked Sound Transit’s Bruce Gray about choosing the colors. This is what he said:

Red and blue were chosen for the first two segments because they are contrasting colors (create a high visual distinction between the two lines). And, we followed the established convention and practice of other transit agencies by starting with red and blue. Our original Central Link line color was a red/maroon color so it made sense to make that segment red.

Austin, Dallas, Houston, St. Louis and Washington DC picked Red for their first rail line. Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Portland, Charlotte, Salt Lake City, Sacramento, and San Diego named their first lines Blue. Some of them were given a color name from the beginning and some acquired colors later as the system expanded.

The line presently known as Central Link (Westlake to SeaTac/Airport) has been colored both red and blue throughout its operational history. This confusing state is visible in all the information products ST has produced. Let’s begin with the system map.

Sound Transit System Map

In June 2009, one month before Link opened, ST introduced the diagrammatic system map in use today. The map gave Link a red/maroon color. However, the last edition of ST’s geographic system map, found in the June 2009 schedule book, gave Link a grey color. Since schedule books have a lead time of weeks to months prior to publication, the map found in the “June 2009” edition was likely created in May or April.

Even Metro’s system map at the time colored Link red. Later revisions to Metro’s maps colored Link in a teal blue to avoid confusing it with RapidRide, which has red as its brand color.

While the system map colored Link red, the Link line diagrams in stations and on trains use blue. To add to the inconsistency, the station area maps depict the rail line and station footprint in red/maroon.

The Link schedule brochures and the map in the schedule book are blueish due to the limitations of printing with only two colors, black and blue, much like Metro’s route timetables. All of the route maps in the book are blue. On ST’s website, Link is shown in teal blue on the Bing-based map and additionally in dark blue for the non-downtown tunnel section on the Link schedule page. The same colors are used for Link light rail (the system itself and mode icon) and Tacoma Link, instead of the purple used on the system map.

Looking beyond the operational signage and information and into the planning documents, the 2008 ST2 plan map showed Link light rail in a bright red, while the failed 2007 Roads & Transit plan mapped Link in blue. The 2005 Long Range Plan showed “electric light-rail service” in red, as does the current Long Range Plan adopted in 2014. Finally, the ST3 draft priority projects map has light rail in red.

It’s easy to understand why people would think the “right” color for Link would be one or the other and the decision could have easily come down to a coin toss but ST gave its reasons. It will be many more years, assuming ST3 is approved, before the next Link line colors are chosen when potential lines undergo an alternatives analysis. If you can’t wait that long, there’s always Seattle Subway’s colors and your imagination.

Sound Transit CEO Joni Earl and ST Board Chair/Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels pose at the opening of Airport Link
Just for fun: an alternate history photo where the Link Red and Blue Lines open in 2009.

63 Replies to “A Brief History of Link Line Colors”

    1. Those should be reserved for lines that actually terminate in/around the university campus.

      Red and Blue are perfectly fine.

      Green should definitely be used on the Ballard-Downtown line just to preserve the history of the failed monorail project.

      1. You can get to the UW from anywhere on East or Central Link, so it makes sense to have the lines fully branded in Purple and Gold. And it is a great way-finding aid for people trying to find the UW.

        If we want to preserve the legacy of the monorail we should use the color “clear”, as in nothing came of it….

        And I always thought the water-side line should be Blue, since it is closest to the water.

      2. You can get to Northgate mall from anywhere on East or Central Link, so should we paint it the mall’s colors? The university is not the only thing in the region, unless you’re a Husky alum.

      3. @MO,

        No, the UW is certainly not the only thing on the line. But it is the largest single employer on the line, has probably the largest single transit dependent population on the line, has one of the largest hospital complexes on the line, and is second only to the Seahawks in sports attendance on the line. All this would be aided by branding the lines as the Purple and Gold Lines.

        And who even knew that Northgate mall had colors?

      4. If the intent is to spend tens of billions of dollars on a transportation mode that helps a complex, multifaceted big city remain functioning — but which would be never be needed in a monocultural po’dunk town dominated by a single institution — perhaps it is time to do away with the narrow-minded parochial navel-gazing of the latter, and start acting a bit more like the former.

        Not every cultural experience in a city of millions is going to be your cultural experience.

        [ah]

      5. @Lazarus, on Central Link, yes, and that will only remain true as long as they don’t run it past Boeing’s factory. On East Link, Microsoft employs quite a few more people then UW.

      6. @Ryan P,

        Yes, Microsoft employs more people than does the UW, but it still falls woefully short of the UW as a transportation destination. Add the UW student base to its employment base, its hospital base and its sports base and the UW easily exceeds Microsoft as a transportation destination by a factor of 3 or 4.

        Additionally, microsofts remote suburban location near the end of the line insures that it will never add as many LR riders as most other more centrally located businesses and institutions.

        So ya baby, the Purple and Gold Lines! If only our leaders had the balls to make it happen.

      7. So if Boeing had a station we’d use the Boeing font for station names?

        If there’s any particular area that deserves influence on Link’s look, it’s downtown as a whole. That dwarfs UW’s ridership several times over.

      8. @Mike Orr,

        Ya, except Boeing doesn’t have a station and if ST ever tried to use Boeing Stratotype Boeing would come down on them like a ton of bricks. That font is locked down tight.

        The UW is a statewide public institution and a regional resource. It is totally appropriate to recognize its significance locally and as a transportation destination. But DT Seattle? Totally inappropriate branding for a regional resource.

        Besides, Everett Transit is already using crimson and gray. If the cougs get a entire transit system branded after them and nobody complains, then what is the problem with using Purple and Gold for two measly little LR lines. Especially since it serves as a way finding aid.

      9. What part of “not every cultural experience/affinity in a big city is going to be your cultural experience/affinity” is tripping you up so hard?

      10. Add the UW student base to its employment base, its hospital base and its sports base and the UW easily exceeds Microsoft as a transportation destination by a factor of 3 or 4.

        Not to mention the whole U District, with all the restaurants and affiliated that are simply near the UW.

      11. I’m a UW alum but I’ve never been Husky rah-rah. Using purple and gold for Link sounds like using Seahawks blue and green, and Seahawks fans may want those colors instead. But putting it on a regionwide resource like Link sounds like putting everyone under the tyranny of Husky- and Seahaks-fandom. Those who couldn’t get into the UW because of cost or grades may feel insulted or hurt. And what bothers me most about football colors is they’re really business brands, like Boeing’s logo. I don’t feel Microsoft pride and wear Microsoft colors simply because I live in Seattle, so I don’t see why I should do that for football teams? Link needs to serve all the people in the region, and while the Space Needle may be an appropriate symbol for that, a university or sports team is not. But if you want to put purple and gold in UW Station, why not? That’s the best way to ensure that university-bound people get off at the right station. (“Pay no attention to the University Street or U-District sign; look for the purple and gold.”)

    2. Appreciate the Husky Pride. I’m surprised it was never used as a bargaining chip with the UW. Had ST called it the “Crimson Line” I’d suspect a conspiracy with WSU-alumnus ST CEO Joni Earl at the top of it.

    1. Except the signs are amber only, without color LEDs.

      So its not, essentially, how they will be identified.

      1. Are you sure?

        The MAX signs are multi-color, as are many other systems. I would think that the sign makers would put that in all signs these days. It lets them standardize on a single product.

  1. maybe it is a childhood bias caused by how NYC does it … but I find that having a line letter/number (or even name) is overall better than JUST a color.

    Color is good for understanding where a line goes … but it is more concise to tell someone to take the “A” train or the “6” than a color (especially when there are multiple lines and branches) and letter/number lines can be depicted WITHOUT color (like in newsprint)

    now at this stage with 2 lines it’s probably OK … but using color and letters/numbers would allow Sound Transit to offer the following:

    depicted red:
    A: Lynnwood – Federal Way
    B: Northgate – Federal Way

    depicted blue:
    C: Lynnwood – Redmond
    D: Northgate – Redmond

    this way you know the blue line goes from X to Y and the letter tells you the stops where the train terminates all while avoiding what some systems do which is to create a dashed extension of the line with a legend explaining “rush hour only” or similar.

    1. I’d rather not introduce NYC’s system of separated services and lines, which would unnecessarily complicate things for a region that’s new to having this kind of transit service.

      1. NYC has overly complicated service patterns. You really, really don’t want your service patterns to be more complicated than London or Paris.

    2. +1 to Gordon for this.

      Colors are a gimmick to make transit more “accessible” by not using normal route naming conventions.

      One of the biggest problems with “colors” is they create operational patterns that may need to change … and it becomes difficult to do so when the routes are known by color and not route number or terminal.

    3. I fail to see how telling someone to take “the 6 train” is any more concise than telling them to take “the blue line”.

      It is precisely the same number of syllables.

      That you then explain how we should take advantage of your chosen definition of “simplicity” to run four differently letter-branded long/short services that mostly follow precisely the same trunk route takes a hatchet to any premise of inherent letter-branded legibility.

      1. Too bad we’re not in New York City in the old days. Everybody knew that the Independent Subways (IND) “A” train went to Harlem.

        If they’d had our announcement systems, after every “Held By Traffic Ahead” apology, the system would play the Duke Ellington classic so people would forget they missed a plane because service was delayed by bus fare collection.

        A New Jersey city had a GMC dual power fleet in the 1950’s, but I don’t think it shared the road with streetcars, let alone Light Rail Vehicles. Mostly because in 1950 nobody ever heard of one.

        Also, ST could save fortunes in neighborhood sound-proofing walls if everybody knew they were listening to “Rhapsody in Blue” every time the crockery shattered on the shelf.

        But Glenn, if you’re reading this: What happened to Portland’s scheme of identifying bus routes by pictograms of maple leaves and chipmunks and other cute objects?

        My theory is that TriMET dropped them because of constant arguments about whether the bus was displaying a stoat or a common weasel.

        Or because Portland State’s horticulture department had to turn people away from foliage identification classes. Or similar reason too many Gresham passengers were ending up in the Pearl District.

        Based on the Hawaiian shirts worn for some reason by both CT and Olympia’s IT drivers, different routes could have different uniforms.

        Whatever. I hate colored lines and dots so bad I’d take night courses at Portland State to learn both leaf and small-savage-predator recognition.

        Mark

      2. Sorry, nothing quite so nice as that.

        TriMet decided that it didn’t work with the new transit mall configuration, with stops every four blocks instead of every two.

        The pattern is also very different. 35 used to be grouped with 33 as they both go to Oregon City. Now, they are separate stop sets. The 10 and 14,are gone from the transit mall completely and run across it.

        Keeping the old symbols would have been confusing for people due to the level of reorganization.

        They might come back. TriMet still sells them on T-shirts.

    4. People remember colours more easily than they remember numbers. While a line can have both, for simpler transit systems, colour naming is the best practice.

  2. I absolutely despise naming lines after colors. After you’re done with the primary colors, what then? I don’t think I’m alone in having a very limited color palette. It’s why LA is now looking into switching to letters, but even letters by themselves don’t indicate what kind of service it is. The Red line is an actual subway, the Gold line is light rail, etc.

    I’ve always been a fan of the German naming system (U# for subways, S# for suburban trains, R for regional rail, etc.). The name itself indicates both the line number and the category of service you can expect. It’s also non-exhaustive (you don’t run out of numbers…). It’s practical because it’s short, and if you find a bus that displays “U” on its destination display, you know it’s a feeder to a subway station (KC Metro has to spell out LINK and that requires an extra phase on the display).

    1. The single color by which S-Bahns tend to be depicted on maps, combined with seemingly haphazard branching nomenclature that can lead to a single “number” line going three different places, can render those S-Bahn networks as needlessly complicated to parse as Philadelphia’s similarly-nomenclatured regional rail.

      And then you’ve got the Eastern European legacy tram networks with 25 overlapping lines merging and diverging from thin, indistinct map lines that demand you trace the entire route with your finger just to gauge if it might possibly be the one you want. (Yes, rail networks can be as badly organized as any American bus system.)

      Basic colors allow for immediate identifiability, as well as for an easily applied additional layer of differentiation (letters, branch names) should the line happen to split.

      L.A., meanwhile, need not differentiate between subway and light rail because it does not matter in the slightest for any kind of trip you might be taking that would involve multiple pieces of the rail network.

      Anyway, all of this is immaterial in Seattle, because we are never going to have more high-capacity lines than can be handled with the most basic of primary colors, visually communicated by holding up fingers on one hand, or mentally mapped by anyone with the slightest grasp of local geography.

      1. I have never seen the S-Bahn depicted as single colors. Not in Frankfurt, not in Munich (where I live). Maybe that was an old practice.

        Seattle needs a naming system with a categorized structure because we are now running into a fragmented network with a complicated (i.e. non-existing) hierarchy.

        * Regular buses have numbers
        * ST Express buses also have numbers (starts with 5XX)
        * RapidRide A, B, C, etc.
        * Streetcars have actual names
        * Tacoma Link is just Tacoma Link…which is a streetcar that shares a name with Link light rail

        This fragmentation means that the user (especially new ones) has no concept of what kind of service it is, which is important for usability. A categorized naming system lowers the learning curve. When you’re in Munich and decide to go to a nearby village, the first thing you check is an S-Bahn map, because the concept is there that “near-regional services are served by S# and it’s not the U# that serves the inner city (mostly).”

        Can’t say the same about “Link Red Line”. Is it light rail? Is it commuter rail? Is it an awful combination of both? Does it serve Tacoma? Then why is there Tacoma Link? And does the Red Line have anything to do with the not-so-rapid A Line, which is branded red on maps and uses red buses? Isn’t Sounder the soccer team?

        But anyway, it seems like the region wants to carry on with a mess of colors/letters/numbers/names and their variations, all within one fragmented network. Seems to reflect the planning style.

      2. I completely agree that “Link” is a dumb and broadly uninformative moniker. But that’s one of the things that would be aided by an informal-consensus switch to basic color coding. No one would ever bother with the word “Link” in the Seattle area again. “I’m gonna grab the Red Line to Columbia City” comes to suffice.

        Of course, since these “two” lines intend to be operated with more than 50% in common — more like a proper branching approach than separate corridors — the semantic switch will be incomplete. Still, you can bet that anyone headed from Northeast Seattle to downtown will simply tell you that they’re “taking the train”.

        Tacoma Link can continue to be called that, because no one will bother to rebrand it, and also because that is accurate — it “links” downtown Tacoma to a peripheral transit center and giant garage, and that’s about it.

        Also, it does indeed seem that German transit maps do not (or no longer) show the entire S-Bahn networks in blasé, undifferentiated green, as I was picturing them having been shown in the past. Though there are two many lines to describe them solely by color, the utilization of a visual taxonomy by which branch numbers are layered upon core-segment base colors allows the system to readily communicate more identifiable routing information to the customer than just an S# could in a single color.

        However, your complaint that relatively straightforward rapid transit networks naming by color fails to provide wonky modal information really is not a valid one. The color-coded systems of Los Angeles, Chicago, Montreal, D.C., Boston, etc. confuse no one, because they are quite clearly the core heavy-lifting services for their respective urban and inner-regional mobility needs. Even where adjoining commuter trains are shown in their own line-by-line map colors, language takes care of the distinction. “The Blue Line” is Los Angeles to Long Beach because that’s the only service anyone ever refers to as “The Blue Line”. That there may be a blue-mapped commuter rail becomes irrelevant, because that line operates at an entirely different scale, is not formally named “Blue”, and no one has ever verbally confused the two.

        In Seattle, your complaint is an excess of network complexity and too many services branded beyond their actual contributions to mobility. I would tend to agree. But having two new subways shorthanded as “Red” and “Blue” improves upon that in a way that a nerdy, unvisualizable “Light Rail 1” and “Light Rail 2” does not.

      3. Well…it depends. In any area, anyone who is familiar (important key word) with the system will have no problem navigating it. You and I both know that Red Line and Blue Line will be light rail, RapidRide is (supposedly) BRT, etc.

        But for users coming from elsewhere, or for local users who simply don’t use the system on a daily basis, it’s important to have easily discernible information with a low learning curve.

        Metro figured that out and branded RapidRide A, B, C, etc. in order to highlight it as a trunk service. ST is using colors to highlight their trunk service. Seattle uses geographical names for their “trunk” streetcar services. The problem is that they’re all trying to do something similar (highlighting trunk services) but all in a different way.

        LA doesn’t have have this problem. You can expect that lines with color names are light rail/subway. Geographical names are commuter rail, etc. There is more consistency that represents the type/level of service.

        But in Seattle, that naming consistency doesn’t exist, which also reflects our lack of a real network hierarchy. If one unfamiliar (key word) rider only needs to access transport services within just one of those agencies, then it’s absolutely no problem.

        But when you have a complex network that relies on transfers between services from different agencies, at some point you’ll want trunk services all on one map. Then all of a sudden, you’ll have multiple “categories” of services with multiple modes using multiple types of vehicles.

        Put RapidRide, ST Express, Link, Sounder, etc. on one map and watch consistency fly out the window.

      4. Not to mention other interface problems…such as typing out “Red line” on the train using signs that clearly use amber-colored LEDs, or the fact that it takes up much more space on a station display for real-time arrival information, etc.

      5. You’re not wrong about nonsensical hierarchies being confusing to outsiders. But that’s an argument to fix the hierarchies, more than an argument that any particular branding nomenclature is better or worse than any other.

        RapidRide’s branding is particularly ridiculous, because the apportionment of routes has been entirely political, and thus “RapidRide” neither represents a usable network in an of itself, nor does it telegraph anything particularly insightful about its relationship to the more complete transit network (including light rail and frequent bus routes, not especially including commuter routes or Sounder).

        Thus the existence of an A through F is useless information to a non-wonk, who is more likely to need to know how to connect from the E to the 12 than to any other lettered route.

        This is, of course, another way in which L.A. eats our lunch: their MetroRapid network is comprehensive enough that a reasonable person could expect to get around using only Rapids and color-coded lines (including the equally color-coded Orange Line BRT). RapidRide offers no such urban comprehensiveness.

      6. Still, one needs to make a distiction between the problems created by troublesome and counterintuitive political/service heirarchies, and the more arbitrary complaints of a tech-wonk.

        This is comically low-tech, and superlatively easy to comprehend. It literally states the color twice in text, and shows it in unmissable fashion. It is infinitely clearer than any signage displayed by Sound Transit today… and Sound Transit only runs a single line!

      7. Is there any research related to such line naming conventions? I bet that the names do not matter much in practice but do we have any hard evidence?

        I can imagine that it does not matter for the frequent user, but newcomers and those who only seldom use transit? My own experience tells me that in a new city
        * geographic names to distinguish lines are of little use unless you also have a relevant map (probably not an issue for infrequent local transit users)
        * I always consider subway/rail more reliable than bus, partly because simple maps are always available.

        In addition, what about color-blinds? The colored lines should also have a non-color symbol?

        A different major source of confusion are tickets and zones. Where can I get one? Which type I should pick? (Why cannot airports just have a big red button on ticket machines labeled “take me to downtown?) Visitors do not have the transit card and may be reluctant to buy one.

      8. People are going to places, not levels of service. Differing levels of service only comes into it if there are multiple levels going to your destination. Seattle is not going to have so many lines or modes that we have to worry about it too much. We’re never going to have as many lines or as numerous modes as San Francisco, for instance. The worst problems have nothing to do with what the Link lines are called or how they’re depicted on the map: it’s bus routes that turn in strange non-intuitive ways, the fragmented fare structure, etc. For instance, say you’re in Wallingford going to the commercial part of Laurelhurst; it’s a straight shot and a major street; there’s gotta be a bus from one to the other, right?

        The earliest systems had names or letters or numbers for their lines, but most recent systems have colors, and they start with blue and red. And some of those that don’t have colors switch to them. Atlanta’s MARTA lines where named North-South and Northeast-South when I visited there, but now they have both those names and color names.

        As for color-blindness, map designers are well aware of which color combinations are problematic. This chart shows what the colors reduce to for the most common forms of color blindness. Green/yellow and purple/blue are the furthest apart on the color spectrum (the widest wavelength difference), so if people can distinguish two colors it’s usually those. Red is in the middle, so if you have a red deficit it looks gray, and green is reduced to yellow, and purple to blue. Blue is at the extreme and red is in the middle so they look different, and you can vary the intensity of one of them so it looks different even if it looks like the same color. That’s how black-and-white shades still look different when the color is removed. This article has some other visual examples and techniques in the field of web design. Some systems also put the color word on the train for those who can’t perceive the color.

      9. Forgot to say, where we get overly complex is the bus branding. Community Transit has Swift, Metro has RapidRide, and Pierce Transit has one-digit routes. These all have to be explained alongside Link, the two streetcar lines, the monorail, the ST Express buses, etc. Seattle does have a way of starting things and not expanding them much before starting something else. We have a monorail… with two stops. Before Link we had a great subway… in the airport. The two streetcars are going to be like this because they can’t really solve the citywide transit problem if they expanded. Will Madison BRT be yet another brand, or simply RapidRide M? What about Roosevelt BRT?

      10. Mike,

        “Differing levels of service only comes into it if there are multiple levels going to your destination.”

        Differing levels of service come into the decision to take transit or to take the trip at all.

        Also, the physics of colour perception is fairly complex. Technically, red and purple are at the extremes of perceptable wavelengths, not green and purple, but this doesn’t actually matter much for evaluating perception.

  3. I’m surprised Sound Transit didn’t hold multiple community meetings in every city, town, village and neighborhood along the different rail lines asking people what they thought the colors should be.

  4. I realize that ST won’t consider changes so this is likely a mere information item.

    What was the history behind choosing red for RapidRide as opposed to a parallel Red Line rail? RapidRide A with its red-themed stops and the Red Line are going both have red between TIBS and Federal Way, for example! RapidRide E with its red-themed stops is going runs through North Seattle less than a mile from the Red Line! This just adds to transit confusion. Shame on the operators for not resolving this basic perception issue. How about addressing this before it’s too late, Dow? You sit on both boards!

    To avoid RapidRide confusion, I would have preferred gold to contrast with the navy blue used in the ST logo.
    1. RapidRide uses red.
    2. In a b/w scenario, red and dark blue are going to look very similar. Gold would be a stronger contrast.
    3. I’m not an expert on red color-blindness, but distinctions could also be an issue if the hues aren’t contrasting.
    4. Gold would honor the UW destination.

    Regardless, I hope we start using the colors in our standard rail language though. When we talk about segments, we tend to focus on city or large district names, where colors shifts the discussion more easily to destinations.

    Finally, I hope that we can get some directional signs with the revisions! It’s terribly difficult for an outsider to figure out on which platform to wait because the information is not highlighted.

  5. @Oran: regarding your alternate history photo. The vertical line separating geographic areas should be between CHS and UW, not CHS and WS. Capital Hill is more appropriately grouped with Downtown than it is with North Seattle. North Seattle doesn’t begin until the ship canal.

  6. So if the blue line is only supposedly going to run as far as Northgate where there will be a turn back according to STB commentors, then why does every single image if a map of the future system on the blog show it running all the way to Lynnwood?

  7. 3 decades to build two straight lines?

    I’m surprised they didn’t make one Yellow and the other Orange.

  8. Sure LA named their first line Blue and second Red, but there is the consideration that the Red Line is a heavy subway/metro and didn’t open that much later, so maybe it’s less clear what the priority/primacy is there between those two.

    1. LA is switching to a letter/color system for its busway/rail lines. Letters are assigned based on opening date. Original colors will be retained as secondary identification. Blue will become the A Line and Red/Purple will be the B/C Line and so on up to L. Letters F, H, I are skipped.

      Example http://calurbanist.com/los-angeles-future-rail/

      1. The D, L, and K lines in those strip charts imply some really weird and mis-weighted potential service patterning in 2024.

        I’m not convinced that letter branding makes it any easier to majorly reorganizate through services than color branding does.

        Which is why it still seems ideal for primary identifier “the [whatever] line” to describe a mutually exclusive trunk corridor, with any subsequent branching handled by an additional layer of identifiers (letters, numbers, shorthand branch names, etc.) on top of the [whatever] branding.

      2. Originally the Purple Line was just a branch of the Red Line and they changed it in 2006 because people were getting confused. There’s no ambiguity in Purple or C. There’s no need to translate ‘C’.

        Additionally, with a large multicultural population in LA, cultural sensitivities and language proficiency have to be considered. The name of the Gold Line became an issue when they extended it through a majority Hispanic area, which wanted it to be named in Spanish.

        Have you clicked through to the Metro presentation with the system map showing the lettered lines? Perhaps it might give more context.

        On Boston’s Green Line, there is really no penalty in taking any inbound train and the outbound trains more or less go to the west side of town and even meet somewhere down the line but in LA that could send you to any four different corners of the metro area. They are N-S and E-W lines that happen to overlap downtown.

        I think Blue A and Blue B is more complicated than just calling it A and B, especially if there’s also a Red A and Red B.

      3. Perhaps, but that D/L/K service pattern is going to cause quite the clustercluck in the LAX/Redondo area. Already the line maps don’t make the multiple overlaps and service-splitting clear enough.

        Should they happen to need to completely revise service arrangements in the area — which seems likely, as they look to be setting themselves up for a BART/SFO/Millbrae demand-distribution problem — this branding scheme will be no less confusing to remake than any other.

      4. Also, wasn’t the Purple Line rebranding in part just about setting up an excuse to run Wilshire/Western as a pointlessly infrequent shuttle service in the off-peak?

  9. Link is pattering itself after levels in a parking garage, with different names and colors. What’s next, each line will also be represented by an animal or world city?

    1. When you’re at Nothgate Station and see a train coming, don’t you need to know whether it’s going home to Bellevue or to SeaTac? Or do you just get in the train anyway and figure that wherever it’s going, you’re going.

  10. The north line should have been purple. The east line should be either crimson or grey. If grey then the east line could be the Earl Grey line.

  11. Is now the time for Seattle to choose colors for proposed transit routes which won’t be completed for many years? Are we going to be sensitive to the color-blind riders? Should this matter be taken up by the Seattle City Council or by a vote by the people? Does Mayor Murray get a vote or is there not enough paint for his color choices? Does ST3 have color choices?

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