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UPA/CRD Annual Report
Seattle/Lake Washington Corridor Tolling and Transit Projects

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Cover graphic shows a view of the Governor A. D. Rosellini Bridge, Evergreen Point, with traffic in both directions.
Seattle – Picture Courtesy of WSDOT


  • King County, Washington
  • Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC)
  • Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)


The Lake Washington Urban Partnership will result in implementation of variable pricing on the State Route 520 floating bridge that currently carries about 160,000 people per day between Seattle, Bellevue, and its eastside suburbs and improved bus service. The variable tolls on the existing bridge are intended to help pay for the new bridge, and there is a desire for tolls to pay for transit operations as well.

Seattle/Lake Washington Corridor Tolling and Transit Projects



  • Variable Pricing on SR 520 – Variably priced (by time of day) tolls will be added to the SR 520 corridor with a single point tolling system at the SR 520 Bridge across Lake Washington. WSDOT will be opening a new Statewide Customer Service Center to handle toll transactions for the 520 corridor and other existing state toll systems.
    • Toll Collection System – WSDOT has entered into a contract with Telvent USA to design, install, and operate the Toll Collection System on the SR 520 Corridor. This project is well into the design phase and installation will begin in 2011.
    • Customer Service Center – WSDOT has entered into a contract with Electronic Transaction Consultants (ETC) to design, implement, and operate the State's new Customer Service Center scheduled to open in January of 2011.
  • Enhanced Bus Service Along SR 520
    • Sound Transit added a new peak period service between Redmond and the University District.
    • King County increased service frequencies and added trips in fall 2010 between Kirkland/Redmond and downtown Seattle/First Hill and between Eastgate/downtown Bellevue and University District.
  • New Transit Improvements along SR 520 corridor
    • Purchase of 45 new hybrid-electric diesel buses for use in the corridor.
    • Bus stop improvements to enhance the waiting environment for transit riders.
    • Completed parking garage at the Redmond Transit Center in 2009 and improvements are planned for South Kirkland Park and Ride, scheduled for completion in 2014.
  • Real-time Multi-modal Traveler Information
    • WSDOT has entered into a contract with Elcon to install travel time signs on SR 520, SR 522 and I-405. Drivers will have real-time travel times into Seattle on alternate routes to make decisions about the best route to travel. Elcon will finish construction by the end of 2010 and WSDOT will activate in early 2011.
  • Active Traffic Management System (ATM) – New dynamic message signs will be installed above each lane about every half mile on the SR 520 and I-90 corridors. This system will automatically use information gathered from the roadway to vary the speed limits on the corridors, alert drivers to congestion or incidents, and notify drivers of blocked lanes ahead.
    • WSDOT has completed a contract with Mowat Contractors to construct the monotube sign bridges on SR 520 and I-90 to support the ATM system.
    • WSDOT has entered into a contract with Elcon to design, supply, and install the ATM system on SR 520 and I-90. The SR 520 ATM system was activated on November 16th of 2010 and is operating smoothly. The I-90 corridor is still under construction with activation planned for 2011.
A timeline is shown for the period extending from July 2009 extending to March 2012. Events are grouped according to three activities. Baseline Data Collection activities occur from July 2009 to March 2011. TDM activities occur from approximately March 2009 to February 2011, with milestones indicating enhanced bus service (Part 1), State Route 520 ATM, travel time signs, and enhanced bus service (Part 2). Post Deployment Data Collection activities occur from approximately March 2009 and extend past March 2012, with milestones indicating I-90 ATM westbound, State Route 520 tolling, and transit real-time displays and I-90 ATM eastbound.
  • TDM/Telecommuting – This UPA element includes continued implementation and expansion of TDM programs. The UPA will examine changes in travelers' use of these modes in response to tolling and transit investments in the SR 520 corridor.
    • Commute Trip Reduction Program: Ongoing implementation of employer–based trip reduction programs. 2009–2010 surveys completed.
    • Growth and Transportation Efficiency Center Program: Continued implementation of community-based trip reduction programs. Progress from 2006 baseline reports expected shortly.
    • Vanpools: Continued implementation of program.
    • King County Telework Outreach: Continued outreach in limited markets and initiation of new telework programs at employers in downtown Seattle and Bellevue. Developed program to expand market focus to entire SR 520 corridor in 2011.
    • trip reduction system: since its rollout in March 2010, more than 14,000 people have signed on to and approximately 160 employee transportation coordinators have received training and now can use the system to support their workplace network.
    • Downtown Seattle e-park program: Launched and ongoing.
    • Marketing and outreach: a variety of targeted and broad grass-roots outreach and incentives programs completed or underway, including Wheel Options, employer transportation coordinator support, Brilliant Commute, Eastside employer outreach, etc.
Corridor Tolling and Transit Projects Map. A map shows major highways in the Lake Washington area. Highlighting indicates variable tolling, toll signing, active traffic management, and transit improvements on State Route 250. Transit improvements continue on Route 5 as well as Route 405. To the south, active traffic management is indicated for Interstate Route 90 between Route 5 and Route 405.

Non-technical Support Activities

  • Legislatively, both the Tolling Policy Bill (ESHB 1773) and the SR-520 Bridge Replacement Finance Bill (ESSB 3096) were passed on March 11, 2008, as was a transit bill for increasing taxes. The state provided authority to toll SR-520 and the Governor signed the bill (ESHB 2211) on May 13, 2009. In the 2010 legislative session, the WSDOT was provided the authority to administer an adjudication process for those who fail to pay their toll bills (ESSB 6499).
  • WSDOT launched the first SR 520 toll marketing campaigns in May 2010 and started a second campaign late in the year. A new web page was launched for SR 520 tolling that included an interest list and sign up for e-newsletters. Through October, made 49 presentations on the UPA project and attended 37 different events to provide information on the project. The local partners collectively developed a marketing plan for transportation demand management and telecommuting programs. King County and PSRC supported WSDOT on TDM programs through employer outreach activities; and other marketing efforts utilized the established TDM network for dissemination.

Independent Evaluation

  • National Evaluation Plan completed in 2009.
  • Evaluation planning in 2010 focused on preparation of 10 National Test Plans, each on a specific type of evaluation data.
  • Baseline data collection is underway and, for the earliest UPA projects (SR 520 Active Traffic Management and Phase I Bus Service Enhancements), post-deployment baseline data collection began in the fall. Baseline Household Travel Behavior Survey took place in the fall of 2010.


Key Evaluation Findings

  • Phase I bus service increases were successfully implemented in early October.
  • SR 520 ATM deployment in early November went smoothly and the technology is functioning as intended.
  • WSDOT's April survey of 800 households showed 42 percent would take another route rather than pay the SR 520 toll and 9 percent would change to a time of day when the tolls are lower. Most respondents (87 percent) were unaware of the Good to Go!TM electronic toll payment system and 58 percent said they were unlikely or very unlikely to get an account.

Lessons Learned

  • Recompete of a portion of the toll system procurement has been successfully managed by the site partners so as to avoid significant impacts to schedule.
  • Recent experience in deploying ATM in the I-5 corridor (not a UPA project) contribut ed to success of SR 520 ATM deployment.
  • Non-UPA construction activities have imposed some delay on the UPA travel time signs and real-time transit sign projects.
  • The significant political dimension of toll rate setting continues with the passage of a referendum in November 2010 potentially requiring state legislature supermajority approval of toll rates.


  • Highway travel time signs with comparative travel times into downtown Seattle to be deployed in January or February.
  • Second and final phase of bus service enhancements in February, including increased bus service frequency throughout the day between Kirkland, Totem Lake, and downtown Seattle and improved peak commuter service between the Woodinville Park and Ride, Brickyard Park and Ride, and Kingsgate Park and Ride and downtown Seattle.
  • I-90 westbound active traffic management operational in March.
  • SR 520 tolling to begin in April.
  • Transit real-time information displays and I-90 eastbound active traffic management in June.
  • Real-time information signs to be installed at SR 520 in Redmond at NE 40th Street and NE 51st and the Montlake Freeway Station by June 2011.

For Further Information

UPA website:

Seattle UPA contacts:

Angela Fogle
FHWA Office of Operations

DOT Logo, U.S. Department of Transportaion


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