TransitCenter is a national foundation that works to improve public transit and urban mobility through grantmaking, research, technical assistance, and public programs in cities across the country. TransitCenter’s annual “Frequencies” Awards recognize outstanding work by transit agencies, workers, and advocates to improve transit service. This year, they have jointly selected Community Transit, Sound Transit, King County Metro, and Seattle Department of Transportation for the “Best Transit Expansion” award of 2021! The award recognizes the regional coordination and infrastructure improvements that went into the Northgate Link Extension project.
In late 2019 Community Transit and partners began public outreach –talking with bus riders and people who are considering using public transit -- to learn more about community priorities for creating a regional connection between Snohomish County buses and Link light rail. This was in preparation for the opening of the Northgate light rail extension. Through two rounds of public surveys and working with transit partners, Community Transit redesigned the 800-series bus routes to connect to light rail at Northgate, which included adding 48 bus trips to create fast and frequent connections. This was a big change for riders who previously had taken the 800-series buses all the way to the University of Washington.
When it came time in mid-2021 to open this connection, Community Transit launched a two-month creative educational campaign to help our riders plan new travel options. It was critical to make sure people would be prepared for changes in their travel routine, including learning how to take the bus and connect to light rail.
Community Transit took a proactive approach to ensuring transit users had the tools and information they needed. The agency developed a series of how-to videos, live trip-planning sessions, and online and print resources. Staff also met bus riders at locations across Snohomish County to explain the changes and answer questions in person.
“Through multiple working groups with our partners and innovative approaches from our staff, we were successful in bringing new ideas to transit integration projects, like at Northgate,” said Community Transit CEO Ric Ilgenfritz. “We’ll also be able to take our lessons learned to our future 2024 work, when light rail arrives in Snohomish County.”
After years of planning, design, community engagement, and construction, our region can be proud of the connections and opportunities in North Seattle – and the close community and agency partnerships that helped make them all a success! It’s an honor to receive this award with our regional transit partners as we continue to help people get from where they are to where they want to be.
Watch TransitCenter's video announcement of all the 2021 Frequency Award winners here.