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King County Metro tackles racial disparities and the climate crisis with bold direction from community


King County Metro’s new Mobility Framework will guide transit priorities in response to changing demographics across the region, the need for increased focus to combat the climate crisis, an increase in technological innovations in mobility services, and a growing demand for new and traditional mobility options.


By 2040, the Central Puget Sound Region may have an additional one million residents, increasing demand on public transit and services. The question is: How will King County Metro deliver services to existing and future transit services in a way that is equitable, sustainable, and contributes to a thriving economy?


King County Executive Dow Constantine transmitted to the King County Council the Mobility Framework, which was drafted by the Mobility Equity Cabinet, a diverse group of community leaders from across the County, and endorsed by King County Metro.


The Equity Cabinet identified opportunities to center equity and sustainability in how the region grows, integrates new mobility choices, and invests in public transit and related infrastructure. Through the process, Equity Cabinet members identified five thematic areas where Metro can directly and indirectly contribute to the development of an equitable, sustainable, integrated, and innovative mobility system:

  • investments in service,
  • partnerships with jurisdictions to ensure transit service synchronizes with increased density,
  • innovation through technology,
  • workforce improvements,
  • community engagement.


“I appreciate all the hard work by the Equity Cabinet in drafting these recommendations for how Metro delivers service in the future,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “With this new Mobility Framework, we will make investments that meet the demand for transit in all our communities, while continuing to provide innovative mobility services that offer new, climate-friendlier ways of getting around.”


The Equity Cabinet recommended that Metro provide additional service in areas with unmet need, where density is high with a high proportion of low-income people, people of color, people with disabilities, and members of limited-English speaking communities. Investments also include increase safety features, lighting, real-time arrival signs, and informational campaigns. The Equity Cabinet also recommended that Metro continue to incentivize and partner with local jurisdictions to implement speed and reliability investments, to make transit more successful.


“As we believe mobility is a human right, I am very impressed how Metro has captured the multitude of issues, concerns, policies, goals, and outcomes which we discussed over these past few months and we have developed together with community guiding principles reflecting health and economic opportunities for everyone to thrive through the mobility framework. Our recommendations are a product of community shared approaches with those impacted who are not usually at the table. I am proud of our recommendations modeling co-creation based on equity approaches and policies for real change,” said Paulina Lopez, Equity Cabinet Co-Chair and Executive Director, Duwamish River CleanUp Coalition/TAG


“The Mobility Framework resulted from a partnership between a diverse representation of the users of transit and King County Metro leadership and staff. Our mission is to increase ridership by those with access challenges so Metro service will improve for everyone. I am excited to continue this work and see what happens next,” said Tony To, Equity Cabinet Co-Chair and HomeSight Director Emeritus


Other recommendations include promoting increased density and mixed-use zoning to improve transit accessibility; support for affordable housing and reduced parking requirements in urban areas; a change in Metro’s policies to assert the role of innovation and address mobility services; and strengthen communications to ensure that priority populations are aware of existing and new services.


“As our region feels the strain of rapid growth, our transportation system must evolve into one that is truly multi-modal and works for everyone,” said Council Vice Chair Claudia Balducci, who sponsored the legislation calling for a new Mobility Framework. “This means a system that puts people first with a reliable and frequent transit system that provides easy, safe and affordable options to get from home to all the places they need to go, better serves underserved communities, and makes walking, biking and other local transportation modes safe and accessible to all. Thanks, also, to members of the Mobility Equity Cabinet for their invaluable work to guide Metro in developing the framework”


The Equity Cabinet’s recommendations for the Mobility Framework were accepted by Metro and will be transmitted to the King County Council today for their consideration. If approved, the Mobility Framework will guide updates to Metro’s adopted policies. That could include updates to Metro Service Guidelines to identify how new service is added throughout the county.