Route 40 - Transit-Plus Multimodal Corridor

Updated March 6, 2022

Making bus trips faster, enhancing reliability, and improving safety.

What's Happening Now?

Thank you to all those who took our survey!

We are working on further refining the project based design on community feedback and analysis by our project team. We are waiting on our environmental review before we are ready to share the latest designs. We anticipate being able to rollout the latest designs (60%) in April/May 2023. Stay tuned!

We have compiled an outreach summary that outlines what we’ve heard from Route 40 riders, small businesses, and other community members during our outreach efforts in May and June 2022. Please visit this link to read the full document.  

Project Overview

Partnering with King County Metro, we plan to make improvements to this vital transit corridor. 

The objectives of the project are to reduce transit travel times, improve transit reliability, and increase safety and transit access along the Route 40 corridor. We have a goal of reducing peak transit travel times by 5% to 10% and making the time between buses more consistent so trips take about the same amount of time, no matter the time of day.

Improvements made as part of this Transit-Plus Multimodal Corridor project will include: 

  • Dedicated bus lanes: Bus-only lanes that separate buses from traffic and improve transit travel times and reliability
  • Signal upgrades or optimization: Transit signal priority extends or activates green lights to reduce waiting times for buses at signals
  • Channelization changes or turn restrictions: Changes to lane markings, and restricting turns for other vehicles so that buses can move faster and avoid right-of-way conflicts, making all travelers safer
  • Safety improvements: Improvements to crossings and transit connections to help people get to bus stops more easily and safely
  • Sidewalk upgrades: Repaving sidewalks and upgrading curb ramps to become ADA-accessible in key locations 

Route 40 corridor improvements were first identified as part of the Levy to Move Seattle and King County Metro's METRO CONNECTS program. Based on results of the 2018 Levy Workplan Report, Route 40 will not be transitioned to RapidRide during this project. However, improvements will be designed to align with potential future RapidRide expansion.

Route 40 Background

Running north to south, Route 40 is 13.5 miles long and passes through the neighborhoods of Northgate, Crown Hill, Loyal Heights, Ballard, Fremont, South Lake Union, Downtown Seattle, and Pioneer Square.

Before COVID, Route 40 was one of Metro's highest ridership routes, serving over 13,000 weekday riders — the third highest ridership route in the system behind the D and E Lines. During COVID pandemic, it remains one of Metro's top highest ridership routes, serving 3,800 weekday customers as of March 2021.

Route 40 buses are scheduled to arrive every 5 to 10 minutes during peak periods and stops are located approximately every quarter mile throughout the route. However, buses on this route are often slow and unreliable, impacting thousands of people who rely on transit. This project will identify and implement improvements that provide faster and more reliable transit service for Route 40 and other bus routes that share the corridor.

Key Transit Connections

Route 40 connects with some of the highest ridership routes in our system, such as the RapidRide C, D, and E Lines, as well as Route 44. Additionally, Route 40 ends at the Northgate Transit Center, where many regional transit routes come together. Route 40 connects to the Northgate Link light rail station, completed in October 2021, and will connect to the Ballard station to be completed in 2027.

Project Map

An image of the proposed changes and project map.

Project Schedule

A timeline of the proposed Route 40 work.

We are currently in the design phase of this project. We split the design phase into 4 stages: 10%, 30%, 60%, and 90% design. At each stage, we've solidified different aspects of what the project will look like, so we look for different types of input from the community at each point.

We have recently reached our 30% design milestone, where we will review previous feedback from the community and refine bigger aspects of our design concepts, such as changes to lane markings and street configurations.

At the 60% design milestone, we will know what the project will look like and continue gathering feedback on smaller changes. By 90% design, we will begin preparing for construction. Design will continue into 2023.

See more on the RapidRide Program update.

See more on the comprehensive assessment of the Levy to Move Seattle.

Community Outreach

We received nearly 450 responses to our outreach survey in spring 2021. Overall, community members supported measures prioritizing transit and pedestrian safety improvements. You can read the full survey results in our outreach summary and view our presentation summarizing the current proposed changes.

Date Event
February 2020 Virtual drop-in session
February, 2020 - April 2020 Online survey
April 2020 Listserv and webpage updates
March 22, 2021 Concept video posted
April 7 and 8, 2021 Virtual drop-in sessions
March/April 2021 Listserv updates and stakeholder emails
March/April 2021 Online survey
April - June 2021 Presentations to community groups upon request
Spring 2021 Updated presentations to Transit and Freight Advisory Boards

Other Projects Along This Route

SDOT and Metro are focusing many investments along Route 40. Our project team is in close coordination with the following projects: 

Full Design Concepts

Project Materials


This project is being funded by the 9-year Levy to Move Seattle, approved by voters in 2015 to improve safety for all travelers, maintain our streets and bridges, and invest in reliable, affordable travel options for a growing city. Additional sources include federal grants, state grants, King County Metro funds, and Vehicle Licensing Fees from the Seattle Transit Benefit District.


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Greg Spotts, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 3800, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34996, Seattle, WA, 98124-4996
Phone: (206) 684-7623

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The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is on a mission to deliver a transportation system that provides safe and affordable access to places and opportunities for everyone as we work to achieve our vision of Seattle as a thriving, equitable community powered by dependable transportation.