Sound Transit service is growing, and to keep up with the growth we have a new and simpler way of naming our train and bus rapid transit lines. Beginning in September 2021, Sound Transit will begin augmenting branded names with lettered and numbered line names.
What are the new line names?
Link lines will have a line number (1, 2, 3, 4 etc), Sounder (S and N lines) and Tacoma Link (T) will have a line letter, and Stride bus rapid transit will have alphanumeric line names (S1, S2, S3 etc).
Will there still be line colors?
Yes. Link lines will each have an individual line color to aid in navigation, but the colors will not be part of the line name. Link lines will use green (1 Line), blue (2 Line), magenta (3 Line), purple (4 Line), and orange (T Line). Sounder lines will share a gray-blue line color, and Stride lines will share a gold line color.
When will this happen?
Sound Transit is launching the new line names with our Fall service change beginning September 18, 2021. At that time, Link becomes the 1 Line, Tacoma Link becomes the T Line, Sounder South becomes the S Line and Sounder North becomes the N Line. The 2 Line will launch with East Link, currently scheduled for June 2023.
The opening dates for the future 3, 4, S1, S2, and S3 lines are currently under review as part of the Board’s realignment process.
Coming September 2021, new signs and rider tools
Link is becoming the 1 Line
Tacoma Link is becoming the T Line
Sounder North and South are becoming the N and S lines
Why is Sound Transit changing these names?
We’re making these changes to give passengers a better experience. We want to provide an intuitive system that first-time, low English proficiency, or color vision deficient riders can easily navigate. Lettered and numbered lines are a common global standard and will augment the branded names we’ve solely relied upon to this point (Link, Tacoma Link, Sounder, etc). Research and testing revealed that letters and numbers are easier for everyone to understand than branded names or line colors alone. Now riders will have multiple ways to differentiate and remember our service lines: the primary number and letter, and accompanying brand names and colors where applicable.
Voters have approved a 252-mile system with five Link lines (1, 2, 3, 4, T), two Sounder lines (N, S) and three Stride lines (S1, S2, S3). The map below shows what the system will look like when fully built. Opening dates for several lines are currently under review due to the COVID-19 recession.
We need your help!
We need everyone to help us communicate and implement this change. Passengers will begin seeing new signage installed in spring and summer 2021, and we will use this opportunity to promote and socialize the new names to passengers. We will begin using the new 1, T, N, and S lines on the first day of revenue service for Northgate.
From September to December 2021, we suggest using transitional names such as “1 Line (Link)” to help passengers adjust to the changes. You will see the new line names and colors everywhere, on signage, in audio/visual messaging, on TVMs, etc. In the weeks leading up to the change, please work with Sound Transit designers to replace any instance of Link represented as a red line in documents, reports, or other materials.
Guidelines for speech and writing
Please see links in Standards and guidelines above.
Who do I contact with questions?
We know this will be a momentous change and it may be confusing at first. For design questions, please contact Elizabeth Trunkey (firstname.lastname@example.org) . For editorial and usage guidelines, please contact Zachary Shaner (email@example.com). You can view both our visual and editorial style guides anytime at soundtransit.org/brand.
How did Sound Transit choose these line names?
The research team undertook a comprehensive peer analysis in 2019 and 2020 to understand our options for designing an intuitive system that also worked well with pre-existing partner agency services. If you’re interested in the details, please read our comprehensive FAQ here.