A year ago, we reported on future ridership maps that showed a 2040 ST3 system with ridership concentrated in and near Seattle. We subsequently got a closer look at the station (and segment) level detail behind those maps.
The tables below are the high-end estimates for boardings 2040, organized by rail segment. These estimates are from September 2016, and may have been modestly refined since. In particular, I-405 BRT estimates are now higher than in 2016, as project improvements have greatly improved travel time. Variations in future growth vs current plans will surely raise or lower ridership in some places. On current trends, that means more ridership in Seattle and less in some suburban cities, but growth patterns may be different in 20 years.
The busiest stations? All are in downtown, and the two Westlake stations are first and fourth in the rankings, with 48,800 and 28,900 boardings respectively, along with thousands of transfers. International District, Capitol Hill, University Street and UW will all top 20,000 riders per weekday.
Boardings on the new lines in Seattle mostly lag the existing stations, excepting the aforementioned second Westlake station. Ballard just tops 10,000 and the West Seattle stations together are expected to see 16,700 boardings.
On the Eastside, just two stations are expected to exceed 10,000 daily boardings. Critics of the ST2 alignment may be surprised that East Main in Bellevue is one of them. The other of course is downtown Bellevue. The most productive ST3 station on the Eastside is expected to be in Issaquah, but it’s a low bar with only 12,600 boardings together across all six Eastside ST3 rail stations. Southeast Redmond is expected to surpass downtown Redmond , boosted by the large parking garage.
The BRT numbers look relatively small against the light rail estimates, but most of the BRT stations are comparatively small. The SR 522 Stride is largely a feeder to Link, with 44% of boardings at N 145th. On I-405, nearly a quarter of boardings are in Bellevue, with the next busiest stations at South Renton and Tukwila. More recent estimates from Sound Transit indicate up to one-third more riders along the line than estimated in 2016, so expect Stride to exceed these station estimates comfortably.
If you’d like even more detail, here are the documents:
- The complete station boardings data including 2014 and 2040 projections (the 2014 projection is what we would have with a fully built out system today, but without any growth or change in land use).
- Passenger loads on every 2014 segment
- Midpoint estimates of the 2040 segment loads including PM peak and daily volumes.
- High end estimates of the 2040 segment volumes, again with both PM peak and daily volumes.