King County Metro releases report outlining real-world examples of how to improve bus service

Nov. 15, 2021
Expanded red transit lanes and more green traffic lights for buses across King County these days are making traveling by bus swifter and more reliable than ever.

Behind the scenes, cities have been teaming up with King County Metro Transit planners to invest in targeted improvements that make bus service better.  

With help from local cities and the state, King County Metro has updated and published its playbook for the world: Metro’s 2021 Transit Speed & Reliability Guidelines and Strategies. 

Inside are real-world examples of how operational tools (such as traffic signal timing) and capital projects (including bus lanes and curb changes) can literally carve a better path for transit service and riders. 

In downtown Bellevue, new red bus-only lanes on 108th Avenue Northeast are keeping buses on time even in the face of congestion. That helps riders on routes 249, 271, Sound Transit Express 550 and the RapidRide B Line. 

For riders on bus routes 159 or 168, King County Metro has a batch of traffic signals that feature better timing to help buses along Southeast 272nd Street, Kent-Kangley Road and South Kent-Des Moines Road in Kent, SeaTac and Covington. 

Overall, tens of thousands of riders benefit from these and many other investments, saving people travel time and lowering transit operating costs for King County Metro. 

The agency says teamwork with cities and the state builds on five years of focused work and keeps getting stronger. Bellevue, Federal Way, Kirkland, Seattle, SeaTac and the Washington State Department of Transportation contributed on the guidelines and provide ongoing support and partnership. 

About the report 

The Speed & Reliability Group within King County Metro’s Capital Division first published its guidelines and strategies in 2017 to facilitate discussions between the agency and local jurisdictions, elevate opportunities to partner with King County Metro and describe types of improvement projects. The group’s goal is to strengthen and broaden transit partnerships with local jurisdictions and to jointly develop new tools to implement speed and reliability improvements.  

The updated document provides clear and concise definitions of processes, better defines King County Metro’s and local jurisdictions’ roles and responsibilities, references King County Metro’s policy documents and guidelines (e.g., Metro Connects, Mobility Framework, Transit Route Facilities Guidelines and Transit Signal Priority Policy), includes updated and more detailed costs for improvements as well as new project examples, and provides expanded images, infographics and illustrations. The report is available on the agency’s website.