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A T Line train drives next to Stadium High School.

Tacoma train safety poster contest: the results are in!

K-12 students vied for the opportunity to display their train safety posters on light rail and win cash prizes.

Publish Date

If you could teach others about train safety through art, how would you do it?

More than 100 Tacoma Public School students took up the challenge when they entered the Train Safety Poster Contest, a partnership with Sound Transit, Graduate Tacoma’s STEAM Network and Spaceworks Tacoma.

With the Hilltop Tacoma Link Extension opening soon in the Stadium and Hilltop neighborhoods, the posters presented an opportunity for students to show their community how to stay safe around trains and tracks. 

Graduate Tacoma is a community movement to bridge sectors together under the common goal of student success. The overall goal is that by 2030, 70% of Tacoma Public Schools students will earn a degree, technical certificate, or gain a good-earning wage employment opportunity within six years of high school graduation.  

The poster contest received 103 submissions from students ranging from kindergarten through 12th grade. Poster designs focused on Sound Transit’s key safety messages, including: 

  • Only cross tracks at crosswalks. 

  • Stay behind the yellow line on the platform. 

  • Don’t race trains, a train/trains can’t stop quickly. 

  • Take out your headphones/trains are quieter than you expect. 

First-place winners will appear in interior ad spaces on T Line trains when the Hilltop extension opens. Check out the artwork below and keep an eye out next time you ride Tacoma Link! 

K-5 winner 

A collage of photos of students demonstrating safe behaviors
By Bolt C.

"Leading by example is how I encourage others to stay safe on and around the Tacoma link. I live across the street from the University of Washington light rail station. I designed my poster to show everyone all the safety measures I use on the light rail within my own neighborhood. I only cross the train tracks inside of a crosswalk when the walk signal is on, I always show everyone how to stand behind the yellow line on the platform, and always to keep in mind to never disturb the train operator so he can keep us on the right tracks.”

Winners: Grades 6-8

A cartoon of Sasquatch with train safety tips
By Lia M.

“My design is a Sasquatch demonstrating the four light rail safety measures. I chose this because it is entertaining and captures the audience’s attention, while also using an icon of the Pacific Northwest. Following these safety precautions is important because they help enhance the light rail experience and keep you safe.”

A cartoon showing right and wrong safety behavior
By Donte’ A.

"“Hello, as you can see my picture is supposed to show that following safety is a good thing. But if you don’t listen to those safety [tips], a lot bad things could happen. Thank you for this honor to announce this.”

Winners: Grades 9-12

An art piece showing two people on a train platform with safety tips in text bubbles
By Victoria S.

“My design includes icons and words stating how to behave while waiting or being on the link. It emphasizes things like being aware of your surroundings and belongings while showing ways to prevent an accident or altercations with other people on the train.”

A comic featuring a bear and train safety tips
By Stephanie B.

“Train safety is super important because making the wrong move can put your life at risk. My design encourages train safety by demonstrating the rules in a colorful, family-friendly way. Children are one of the most prone groups to making these mistakes, but a cute bear and his animal friends will certainly attract their attention to the guidelines. Everyone should take their safety and well-being seriously, and I believe my design is the best to bring awareness to the community.”

Thanks to all who participated! Together, we can all ride safe. 

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