Developing the Next Frontier: BRT and Land Use

Seattle BRT Report

Published 2011

By 2013, King County Metro Transit’s bus rapid transit (BRT) service, known as RapidRide, will be expanding to six lines covering 64 miles of high-use corridors. This report analyzes how bus rapid transit (BRT) can be an organizing catalyst for compact development along commercial arterials. The report documents the findings of The Bus Rapid Transit and Land Use Initiative, a partnership among ULI Seattle, King County Metro Transit, the city of Seattle, the city of Shoreline, and the ULI/Curtis Regional Infrastructure Project.

The partnership consisted of a team of ULI members and transit professionals who analyzed and made recommendations regarding the connection between RapidRide and land use opportunities. From the perspectives of multimodal corridors, neighborhood design, housing, jobs/workers, marketing, and stakeholders, the team developed specific recommendations for RapidRide and initiative partners, as well as recommendations for each station area. Three overarching themes emerged that can be widely applied to BRT on commercial arterials:

  1. Focus on corridors: RapidRide can become a powerful catalytic mechanism that unifies entire arterial corridors of diverse communities and land uses.
  2. Develop champions: A broad base of support can be built by seeking out and cultivating place-based advocates who take ownership of the community agenda as well as the promise of RapidRide.
  3. Promote community value: As it brings in new transit users and improves the transit experience, RapidRide presents an opportunity for establishing and extending neighborhood identity and branding over time. It can be the backbone of community development and green infrastructure in the corridor and for the neighborhoods.

By analyzing related case studies from the Midwest and conducting station research for three of the BRT stations in Seattle, the report provides both general and site-specific recommendations for the expansion of Seattle’s BRT system, highlighting the potential to strengthen transit corridors through planning, community investment, and place-based branding and identity.

This report is a product of the ULI/Curtis Regional Infrastructure Project.

Download the Report