Expanded red transit lanes and more green traffic lights for buses across King County these days are making traveling by bus swifter and more reliable than ever.

It’s not magic. Behind the scenes, cities have been teaming up with Metro planners to invest in targeted improvements that make bus service better. With help from local cities and the state, we’ve updated and published our playbook for the world: Metro’s 2021 Transit Speed & Reliability Guidelines and Strategies.

Inside are real-world examples of how operational tools (such as traffic signal timing) and capital projects (including bus lanes and curb changes) can literally carve a better path for transit service and riders.

In downtown Bellevue, new red bus lanes on 108th Avenue Northeast are keeping buses on time even in the face of congestion. That helps riders on routes 249, 271, Sound Transit Express 550 and the RapidRide B Line.

How about routes 159 or 168? We have a batch of traffic signals that feature better timing to help buses along Southeast 272nd Street, Kent-Kangley Road, and South Kent-Des Moines Road in Kent, SeaTac and Covington.

Overall, tens of thousands of riders benefit from these and many other investments, saving people travel time, and lowering transit operating costs for Metro.

Our teamwork with cities and the state builds on five years of focused work and keeps getting stronger. Special thanks to Bellevue, Federal Way, Kirkland, Seattle, SeaTac, and the Washington State Department of Transportation for their collaboration on the guidelines and their ongoing support and partnership.

To learn more from Metro’s experts, contact Masha Podolsky (mpodolsky@kingcounty.gov) or Gabi Kappes (gkappes@kingcounty.gov).

About the report: The Speed & Reliability Group within Metro’s Capital Division first published its guidelines and strategies in 2017 to facilitate discussions between Metro and local jurisdictions, elevate opportunities to partner with Metro, and describe types of improvement projects. The group’s goal is to strengthen and broaden transit partnerships with local jurisdictions and to jointly develop new tools to implement speed and reliability improvements. The updated document provides clear and concise definitions of processes, better defines Metro’s and local jurisdictions’ roles and responsibilities, references Metro’s policy documents and guidelines (e.g., Metro Connects, Mobility Framework, Transit Route Facilities Guidelines, and Transit Signal Priority Policy), includes updated and more detailed costs for improvements as well as new project examples, and provides expanded images, infographics, and illustrations. For background information, visit Metro’s Transit Planning Page.