Choosing routes

Public involvement is part of the process

Sound Transit is building a system that links the region's largest population and employment centers with high capacity transit. To choose projects, the agency engages in various public and stakeholder processes.

Identifying needs

Sound Transit conducts planning studies to identify and better understand transit-related needs. Using public input, quantitative and qualitative data and information about anticipated future growth, Sound Transit identifies travel corridors where high capacity transit is needed, along with other facility, maintenance and access needs throughout the regional transit system.

Defining solutions

During alternatives analysis and environmental review, Sound Transit considers a range of solutions to address a transit-related need. The agency compares transit modes (bus, rail), alignments (potential routes, station locations), profiles (tunnel, surface or elevated guideway) and facility locations. Sound Transit evaluates alternatives based on project objectives, public input, benefits and impacts to people and the environment, project and operating costs, and other factors. The Sound Transit Board uses this information to identify and approve a project and its major elements  to move forward into design and construction.

Developing and implementing projects

During final design, Sound Transit works with communities to determine how a project will look and exactly how it will function as part of the regional system. Once design and engineering are complete, Sound Transit hires a contractor to build the project. After completion, a project begins operating as part of the regional transit system.