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Groundbreaking Metro Transit Updates Passed by King County Council


Groundbreaking Metro Transit Updates Passed by King County Council


The King County Council has passed a groundbreaking series of key policy changes that will influence the next 10 years of public transit investments across King County.


The King County Council has passed a groundbreaking series of key policy changes that will influence the next 10 years of public transit investments across King County.

Comprised of three policy documents—the Strategic Plan for Public Transportation, King County Metro Service Guidelines, and Metro Connects long-range plan—this wide-ranging package will now influence future investments, transit service priorities, and more across the King County Metro public transit system, one of the largest systems in the United States.

Overview of key policy changes 

Measures passed by the council focus on equity, sustainability, safety, and innovation and strengthen Metro’s community engagement goals to focus on priority populations and to involve impacted communities early and in upstream decision-making processes. 

Metro’s Strategic Plan through 2031 outlines Metro’s goals, the strategies and objectives to achieve them, and the measures to determine if we are succeeding. Proposed updates to the Strategic Plan include: 

  • Simplifying and streamlining measures. 
  • Increasing transparency by creating a public-facing performance measurement dashboard so staff, elected leaders, and the public can more easily track progress on Metro’s strategies and goals. 
  • Aligning goal areas with the Mobility Framework. 
  • Aligning goal areas with King County-Cities Climate Collaboration. 

Service Guidelines help Metro evaluate, design, and modify transit services to meet changing needs and deliver efficient, high-quality service. They ensure that decision-making and recommendations are objective, transparent, and aligned with the region’s goals for public transportation. They also establish criteria and processes that Metro uses to analyze and plan changes to the transit system. Proposed updates to the Service Guidelines include: 

  • Prioritizing service growth investments based on equity, land use, and then geographic value. 
  • Expanding the definition of social equity to also include, in addition to race and income: disability, immigrants and refugees, and linguistically-diverse populations. Further, a measure was added to gauge low- and medium-income jobs along travel corridors.  
  • Clarifying that service hours directly replaced by a partner agency’s service could be redeployed to meet countywide goals. Proposed policy would clarify the possibility and approach. 

Metro Connects is Metro’s long-range plan for providing more service, more choices, and one easy-to-use system. It currently provides a vision for the service network in 2025 and 2040 with fast, frequent, and reliable service all day, every day throughout King County. It outlines innovative travel options; clean, safe and customer-friendly vehicles and facilities; and information that makes transit work for everyone.  

Proposed updates to Metro Connects include: 

  • Extending timelines to 2050 and replacing the 2025 network with an “interim network.” The service network maps will be updated with revisions to the RapidRide network and changes that better serve equity gaps identified. 
  • Updating planning dates, service proposals, and capital costs for future transit networks. 
  • Updating the estimated gaps between available and needed funding. 




“This week’s vote is the result of years of hard work and demonstrates King County’s continued leadership in centering equity and investing where needs are greatest,” said King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove, prime sponsor of the legislation and Chair of the Regional Transit Committee. “As our already robust transit system continues to grow, I take great pride in knowing these future investments will help reduce inequities and advance our ambitious climate change goals.”

“When I sponsored legislation in 2018 for King County Metro Transit to build a more people-centered transportation system, we didn’t know exactly what that would look like,” Council Chair Claudia Balducci said. “These, bold, new policy updates, developed with a diverse array of community leaders, sets Metro on a course toward a future bus service network that will serve our communities well, centered around equity, sustainability and connecting people to opportunity. I am excited to put the framework into motion and build toward our future transit vision.”

“A safe and reliable Metro system is the cornerstone to building a county where every person can access their needs and opportunities,” said King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay. “In reorienting the guiding documents for our transit system to prioritize equitable and consistent service, King County has laid out an inclusive vision for mobility. Now, it’s time to execute.”


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