Transit Planning

Strategic Plan for Public Transportation 2011-2021

Strategic Plan

Metro is proud to present its Strategic Plan for Public Transportation 2011-2021. This plan describes a vision for the future of King County's public transportation system and sets objectives, goals, and strategies for getting there. It focuses on the results Metro intends to achieve: outstanding performance, financial sustainability, transparency and accountability to the public, and excellent service.

The 2011-2021 plan replaces Metro's Comprehensive Plan for Public Transportation and the 2007-2016 Strategic Plan for Public Transportation.

Overview

Plan Development

The Strategic Plan for Public Transportation 2011-2021 is the second substantial update to Metro’s Strategic Plan since the 2002-2007 Metro Six-Year Development Plan. The 2011-2021 plan builds on three major planning efforts in recent years.

King County’s Strategic Plan, 2010–2014

This plan was developed under the leadership of Executive Dow Constantine and is a key tool in his work to reform county government. It focuses on customer service, partnerships, and ways to bring down the cost of government. Metro’s strategic plan guides work on portions of the county plan that involve public transportation.

The Regional Transit Task Force

The Task Force was convened to recommend a new policy framework to guide the county’s transit system. Its members represented many different perspectives and parts of King County. Metro drew on the task force’s recommendations as it prepared its strategic plan.

The Service Guidelines Task Force

This task force was convened in 2015 to recommend changes to how transit service is evaluated and allocated. The group worked from March through October, developing many of the principles and recommendations reflected in the updates to the strategic plan and service guidelines.

Metro's Vision for Public Transportation

Metro provides safe, efficient and reliable public transportation that people find easy to use. The agency offers a cost-effective mix of products and services, tailored to specific market needs. Its fixed-route bus system meets most public transportation needs, particularly in areas of concentrated economic activity or urban development and along the corridors that link them. Metro also offers alternative public transportation options for people who cannot use the fixed-route system. No matter what community they live in or whether they have special needs because of age, disability or income, people can use public transportation throughout King County.

Expanded and improved products and services make public transportation attractive to a growing segment of the population and public transportation ridership and use increases as a result. With more and more people switching from single-occupant cars to buses, carpools and other alternative transportation options, roadways are more efficient—carrying more people and goods and moving them faster. Less land is paved for parking, and the region can reduce its reliance on highway expansion.

Public transportation is contributing to a better quality of life in the Puget Sound region. The local economy is thriving because transit has kept the region moving. Public health is improving because people are walking, biking, and using transit more. Emissions from transportation have leveled off and are starting to decline, and Metro is using new technologies to reduce its energy consumption.

The public is engaged with Metro—informed about its plans and performance and a big part of the decision-making process. Customers find the public transportation experience to be positive at every stage, from trip planning to arrival at a destination. People understand how to use Metro's products and services, and are happy with the variety of transportation options available.

Metro has quality employees who enjoy their jobs. Their satisfaction shows in their good work ethic and responsiveness to customers.

Metro is financially stable—able to sustain its products and services in both the short and long term by emphasizing productivity and efficiency and by controlling costs. Metro receives sufficient funding to fulfill the public's expectations for service and the region's vision for a robust public transportation system.

Summary of Goals, Objectives, Strategies and Performance Measures

Goal 1 Safety: Support safe communities

Objective

Keep people safe and secure.

Outcome: Metro's services and facilities are safe and secure.

Strategies

  • Promote safety and security in public transportation operations and facilities.
  • Plan for and execute regional emergency response and homeland security efforts.

Performance Measures

  • Preventable accidents per million miles
  • Operator and passenger incidents and assaults
  • Customer satisfaction regarding safety and security
  • Effectiveness of emergency responses

Goal 2 Human Potential: Provide equitable opportunities for people from all areas of King County to access the public transportation system.

Objective

Provide public transportation products and services that add value throughout King County and that facilitate access to jobs, education and other destinations.

Outcome: More people throughout King County have access to public transportation products and services.

Strategies

  • Design and offer a variety of public transportation products and services appropriate to different markets and mobility needs.
  • Provide travel opportunities for historically disadvantaged populations, such as low-income people, students, youth, seniors, people of color, people with disabilities, and others with limited transportation options.
  • Provide products and services that are designed to provide geographic value in all parts of King County.
  • In areas that are not well-served by fixed-route service or where geographic coverage service gaps exist, seek to complement or "right-size" transportation service by working with partners to develop an extensive range of alternative services to serve the general public.

Performance Measures

  • Population within a ¼-mile walk to a transit stop
  • Number of jobs within a ¼-mile walk to a transit stop
  • Number of students at universities and community colleges that are within a ¼-mile walk to a transit stop
  • Percentage of households in low-income census tracts within a ¼-mile walk to a transit stop
  • Percentage of households in minority census tracts within a ¼-mile walk to a transit stop
  • Population within ½ mile of stops with frequent service
  • Number of jobs within ½ mile of stops with frequent service
  • Households within specific ranges of distance from frequent service
  • Average number of jobs and households accessible within 30 minutes countywide (total population, low-income population, minority population)
  • Average number of jobs and households accessible within 30 minutes from regional growth centers, manufacturing/industrial centers, and transit activity centers
  • Vanpool boardings
  • Transit mode share by market
  • Student, reduced fare (youth, seniors, people with disabilities) and low-income fare permits and usage.
  • Accessible bus stops
  • Access registrants
  • Access boardings/number of trips provided by the Community Access Transportation (CAT) program
  • Requested Access trips compared to those provided
  • Access applicants who undertake fixed-route travel training

Goal 3 Economic Growth and Built Environment: Encourage vibrant, economically thriving and sustainable communities.

Objective

Support a strong, diverse, sustainable economy.

Outcome: Public transportation products and services are available throughout King County and are well-utilized in centers and areas of concentrated economic activity.

Strategies

  • Encourage land uses, policies, and development that lead to communities that have good access to transit and that transit can serve efficiently and effectively.
  • Partner with employers to make public transportation products and services more affordable and convenient for employees.

Objective

Address the growing need for transportation services and facilities throughout the county.

Outcome: More people have access to and regularly use public transportation products and services in King County.

Strategies

  • Expand services to accommodate the region's growing population and serve new transit markets.
  • Coordinate and develop services and facilities with other providers to create an integrated and efficient regional transportation system.
  • Work in collaboration with transit partners, WSDOT and other public and private partners to address transit parking capacity demand through a range of approaches that use resources efficiently and enable more people to access transit.

Objective

Support compact, healthy communities.
Outcome: More people regularly use public transportation products and services along corridors with compact development.

Strategies

  • Encourage land uses, policies, and practices that promote transit-oriented development and lead to communities that have good access to transit and that transit can serve efficiently and effectively.
  • Support bicycle and pedestrian access to jobs, services and the transit system.

Objective

Support economic development by using existing transportation infrastructure efficiently and effectively.

Outcome: Regional investments in major highway capacity projects and parking requirements are complemented by high transit service levels in congested corridors and centers.

Strategies

  • Serve centers and other areas of concentrated activity, consistent with Transportation 2040.

Performance Measures

  • All public transportation ridership in King County (rail, bus, Paratransit, Rideshare)
  • Transit rides per capita
  • Ridership in population/business centers
  • Ridership in population/business centers
  • Employer-sponsored passes and usage
  • Park-and-ride capacity and utilization (individually and systemwide); capacity and utilization of park-and-ride lots with frequent service
  • HOV lane passenger miles
  • Bike locker capacity and utilization (including number of locations with bike lockers)

Goal 4 Environmental Sustainability: Safeguard and enhance King County's natural resources and environment.

Objective

Help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in the region.

Outcome: People drive single-occupant vehicles less.

Strategies

  • Increase the proportion of travel in King County that is provided by public transportation products and services.

Objective

Minimize Metro's environmental footprint.

Outcome: Metro's environmental footprint is reduced (normalized against service growth).

Strategies

  • Operate vehicles and adopt technology that has the least impact on the environment and maximizes long-term sustainability.
  • Incorporate sustainable design, construction, operating and maintenance practices.

Performance Measures

  • Average miles per gallon of the Metro bus fleet
  • Vehicle energy use (diesel, gasoline, kWh) normalized by miles
  • Vehicle fuel use (diesel, gasoline, kWh) normalized by boardings
  • Total facility energy use
  • Energy use at Metro facilities: kWh and natural gas used in facilities, normalized by area and temperature
  • Per capita vehicle miles traveled (VMT)
  • Transit mode share

Goal 5 Service Excellence: Establish a culture of customer service and deliver services that are responsive to community needs.

Objective

Improve satisfaction with Metro's products and services and the way they are delivered.

Outcome: People are more satisfied with Metro products and services.

Strategies

  • Provide service that is easy to understand and use.
  • Emphasize customer service in transit operations and workforce training.
  • Improve transit speed and reliability.

Objective

Improve public awareness of Metro's products and services

Outcome: People understand how to use Metro's products and services and use them more often.

Strategies

  • Use available tools, new technologies, and new methods to improve communication with customers.
  • Promote Metro products and services to existing and potential customers.

Performance Measures

  • Conformance with King County policy on communications accessibility and translation to other languages
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Customer complaints per boarding
  • On-time performance by time of day
  • Crowding
  • Use of Metro web tools and alerts

Goal 6 Financial Stewardship: Exercise sound financial management and build Metro's long term sustainability.

Objective

Emphasize planning and delivery of productive service.

Outcome: Service productivity improves.

Strategies

  • Manage the transit system through service guidelines and performance measures.
  • Establish and maintain a long-range transit service and capital plan developed in collaboration with local comprehensive and regional long-range transportation planning.

Objective

Control costs.

Outcome: Metro costs grow at or below the rate of inflation.

Strategies

  • Continually explore and implement cost efficiencies, including operational and administrative efficiencies.
  • Provide and maintain capital assets to support efficient and effective service delivery.
  • Develop and implement alternative public transportation services and delivery strategies.
  • Provide alternative or "right-sized" services in the context of overall system financial health and the need to reduce, maintain or expand the system.

Objective

Seek to establish a sustainable funding structure to support short- and long-term public transportation needs.

Outcome: Adequate funding to support King County's short- and long-term public transportation needs.

Strategies

  • Secure long-term stable funding.
  • Establish fare structures and fare levels that are simple to understand, aligned with other service providers, and that meet revenue targets established by Metro's fund management policies.
  • Establish fund management policies that ensure stability through a variety of economic conditions.

Performance Measures

  • Service hours operated
  • Service hours and service hour change per route
  • Boardings per vehicle hour
  • Boardings per revenue hour
  • Ridership and ridership change per route
  • Passenger miles per vehicle mile
  • Passenger miles per revenue mile
  • Cost per hour
  • Cost per vehicle mile
  • Cost per boarding
  • Cost per passenger mile
  • Cost per vanpool boarding
  • Cost per Access boarding
  • Fare revenues
  • Farebox recovery
  • ORCA use
  • Asset condition assessment
  • For new or nontraditional alternative services, cost per boarding, ride, or user, as appropriate
  • (Note: Different performance measures may be used to evaluate different types of services.)

Goal 7 Public Engagement and Transparency: Promote robust public engagement that informs, involves, and empowers people and communities.

Objective

Empower people to play an active role in shaping Metro's products and services.

Outcome: The public plays a role and is engaged in the development of public transportation.

Strategies

  • Engage the public in the planning process and improve customer outreach.

Objective

Increase customer and public access to understandable, accurate and transparent information.

Outcome: Metro provides information that people use to access and comment on the planning process and reports.

Strategies

  • Communicate service change concepts, the decision-making process, and public transportation information in language that is accessible and easy to understand.
  • Explore innovative ways to report to and inform the public.

Performance Measures

  • Public participation rates
  • Customer satisfaction regarding Metro's communications and reporting
  • Social media indicators
  • Conformance with King County policy on communications accessibility and translation to other languages

Goal 8 Quality Workforce: Develop and empower Metro's most valuable asset, its employees.

Objective

Attract and recruit quality employees.

Outcome: Metro is satisfied with the quality of its workforce.

Strategies

  • Market Metro as an employer of choice and cultivate a diverse and highly skilled applicant pool.
  • Promote equity, social justice and transparency in hiring and recruiting activities.

Objective

Empower and retain efficient, effective, and productive employees.

Outcome: Metro's employees are satisfied with their jobs and feel their work contributes to an improved quality of life in King County.

Strategies

  • Build leadership and promote professional skills.
  • Recognize employees for outstanding performance, excellent customer service, innovation and strategic thinking.
  • Provide training opportunities that enable employees to reach their full potential.

Performance Measures

  • Demographics of Metro employees
  • Employee job satisfaction
  • Promotion rate
  • Probationary pass rate

Strategic Plan for Public Transportation 2011-2021

The strategic plan was updated in 2015. Download a PDF or Flipbook version below:

Individual sections (PDF only):

Service Guidelines

Updated in 2015. Download a PDF or Flipbook version below:

Related

For more information

Christina O’Claire
Manager, Strategy & Performance
Send an email or call 206-477-5801