Engineering, Passenger Rail, Technology and IT

Seattle asks customers to ‘build their route’ for light rail extension

Sound Transit route option

Public transport planner and operator Sound Transit has set up an interactive website asking customers to build their own proposed route for a light rail extension south of Seattle, in north-west USA.

Sound Transit plans, builds and operates express bus, light rail and commuter train services in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties – an area which covers the city of Seattle and its surrounding areas.

The Federal Way Link Extension is a proposed expansion of the regional light rail system from SeaTac, south of the city’s centre, roughly 16km further south to Federal Way.

The project would begin at the in-development Angle Lake station, which is expected to be opened in 2016, and would continue to Federal Way via three new stations.

Sound Transit recently released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the expansion, which features a number of options for the specific locations of stations, and the alignment of track below, on, or above ground along the route.

And to decide on those specifics, the project proponent has turned to the public.

“This Draft EIS evaluates several build (light rail) alternatives and a No Build alternative, which considers how the transportation system would operate if the proposed project were not built,” Sound Transit said.

“The light rail alternatives include at-grade, trench and elevated light rail alignments with different station configurations. Four alternatives are evaluated, each with between four and nine station or alignment options.”

Sound Transit has set up the website, where customers can go and review the options, before submitting their comments to the EIS.

After inputting their preferred route and station locations, users are given a summary of the projected cost, travel time and capacity of their chosen option.

Sound Transit encouraged customers to “use this tool to select route and station options to understand the various impacts”.

“This interactive tool provides a sample of the potential options,” Sound Transit added, before encouraging customers to read the Draft EIS for more information.