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Seahawks Stadium (Qwest Field) - Seattle, WA

FAST FACTS ABOUT: Seahawks Stadium (Qwest Field)
Types of TDM: Mode Choice
Keywords: Special events, multi-jurisdictional coordination, neighborhood impacts, stadium construction, parking reduction goals
Area Demographics: Professional sports stadium and adjacent exhibition center proximate to other regional venues and I-15. Seahawks Stadium is situated on the former Kingdome site surrounded by residential land uses.
Program: Transportation Management Program (TMP) was a condition of project (i.e. Stadium) approval. TMP implementation roles and responsibilities are clearly defined.
Results: Coordinated approach to demand management for special events. In the first year of the program, mode split goals were surpassed.
Contact: David Markley, Transportation Solutions, Inc.


A New Stadium for Seattle
In the late 1990s, as plans for a new football and soccer stadium began to take form, public agencies and the private sector acknowledged the importance of a balanced Transportation Management Program (TMP). The TMP needed to be consistent with the region’s approach on engaging stakeholder involvement and preserving the quality of life and the natural environment.

In 1998, Washington voters approved Referendum 48 allowing the use of public funds to build the stadium, an adjacent exhibition center and a parking structure. The referendum also created the Public Stadium Authority (PSA) to provide public representation as part owner. The new Seahawk Stadium is west of I-5 and north of Seattle Mariner’s Safeco Field. The site is where the former Kingdome stood within Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood. In 2000, the Kingdome was imploded and construction began. Two years later, the facility was completed within the $430-million budget and ahead of schedule. Seahawk Stadium was designed to host professional football and soccer games with a seating capacity of 67,000. The adjacent exhibition center typically hosts non-sporting events with up to 15,000 attendees.

TMP Sets the Stage
As transportation and parking mitigation for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) prepared for the project, the Transportation Management Program (TMP) was born. The Seattle Department of Construction and Land Use (DCLU) required that the conceptual TMP contained in the Final EIS be further developed and committed to as a condition of project approval. The TMP has built on the success of other local projects including the TMPs for prior Kingdome Stadium, the new Safeco Field, and the Seahawk’s temporary use of the University of Washington’s Husky Stadium during construction. The TMP was designed to minimize personal vehicle use to and from the site by supporting other transportation modes thereby minimizing negative transportation-related impacts to visitors as well as the immediate neighborhood. A number of goals were set as guiding principals for the TMP concerning area residents and businesses. Specific goals included minimizing the impact of event parking on adjacent neighborhoods as well as minimizing access delay and confusion for neighboring residents and businesses prior to, during, and following events. The TMP is flexible in nature with the ability to adapt to tenant changes, travel pattern variations, and transportation improvements as they occur in the vicinity.

The development of the TMP was a collaborative process engaging key stakeholders through a series of meetings including the re-establishment of the Parking and Access Review Committee (PARC), a group previously organized to address transportation and parking issues associated with construction of nearby Safeco Field.

The TMP is explicit regarding roles and responsibilities for TMP planning and implementation by assigning responsibility in one of four ways: exclusive, lead/coordination, partner, or advocate.

Input on the TMP was obtained from all affected agencies including King County METRO, the Seattle Department of Transportation, the Seattle Police Department, the Washington State Department of Transportation, and the Port of Seattle. The TMP was subsequently approved by the stakeholder groups and forwarded to the DCLU for final approval, which was granted in early 2002 allowing enough time for implementation prior to the stadium opening in August 2002.

The TMP is organized into four strategic program groups, which include: 1) Traffic and Parking Demand Reduction, 2) Management of Resultant Vehicle and Pedestrian Demand, 3) Event Management and Public Information, and 4) Implementation and Monitoring. The TMP is explicit regarding roles and responsibilities for TMP planning and implementation by assigning responsibility in one of four ways: exclusive, lead/coordination, partner, or advocate.

Transportation options for Seahawk Stadium include, but are not limited to, regular Metro transit service, Metro Express Bus Service from Park and Ride lots, charter buses, Sounder train service, and Event Match ridematching service.

Settling the Score
In order to evaluate the effectiveness of the TMP, it was important to have measurable criteria. Recognizing that personal vehicle use and parking have a significant impact on area traffic circulation and congestion, an index was developed to measure the reduction in personal vehicles traveling to and from events. The index has been defined as the number of personal vehicles per 1,000 persons attending an event.

The index is directly affected by the use of transit and other alternative modes of travel and average vehicle occupancy for the personal vehicles that do travel to the event. Based on historical travel data for the Kingdome and applying performance assumptions for each program contained in the TMP, an estimated mode split was derived that was then used as the basis for performance goals for the new stadium in terms of cars per 1000 attendees. The index-based approach has proven to be well-suited as an evaluation tool since it allows for varying degrees of attendance and time of day. The table below indicates performance goals (less than or equal to) for a single event occurring at any given time.


Although scheduled events at Safeco Field, Seahawks Stadium and the exposition center were never to occur concurrently or even within four hours of one another, an additional set of goals were established for dual events. Prior to the City of Seattle’s approval, a “Dual Event Agreement” was established eliminating the possibility of having two events with a combined attendance of over 58,000 occurring within 4 hours of each other without a special TMP.

An initial review of 2002 results indicate that mode split goals have been surpassed. The non-auto mode split was surveyed at between 25% and 30% which exceeded initial projections of 20%. Success can not be directly attributed to any single mode of travel, but is reflective of the range of options available including Park and Ride facilities, transit service, ferry and rail services as well as bicycling and walking.


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