Transit to underserved areas

Background

King County Metro adopted a Mobility Framework to center equity when making decisions, and established an Equity Council that issued a report with recommendations on it. This will be used in updating Metro's Strategic Plan in 2021, the long range Metro Connects plan, as well as the biennial 2021-2022 budget for Metro. This plan has already affected things like which routes will get the first electric buses, and how cuts in service hours will be distributed, to prioritze South King County.

The map on the right is the Areas of Unmet Need from the Mobility Framework Report. it "indicates areas of high density; a high proportion of low-income people, people of color, people with disabilities, and members of limited-English speaking communities; and that have limited mid-day and evening transit service to schools, jobs, and child care centers and other ways to build wealth and opportunities." These are the areas where Metro plans to focus more resources.

The cost of car ownership per year is roughly $9000 (actually this study puts the average at $12613) , and the cost of riding transit for a year is about $1500. Many households in the area, and particularly in Seattle, are rent-burdened, and have given up owning cars in order to make rent. Others have decided to move farther out, where the rent is cheaper, but then they have to spend extra money and often significant amounts of extra time commuting from job to job.

More Places, Better Connections

This is a report from Puget Sound Sage and Transportation Choices Coalition. It found that:

  • Mismatch of commute patters to current transit network. Transit it oriented to taking people downtown, and back out again, but most people surveyed don't work downtown. This would argue shifting away from a hub and spoke system.

  • Access to transit is a poor measure for actual use. Most people surveyed do live near transit, but it doesn't get them where they need to go on time.

  • Transit is not affordable to most. Most report that transit is very or somewhat unaffordable, and only a minority are able to take advantage of Orca Lift or employer-based subsidies.

All the top priorities mentioned for transit relate to reducing time to travel.

Areas of Unmet Need, identified in Metro's Mobility Framework Report. Credit: King County Metro.