North Seattle has a bunch of new real-time arrival signs (RTIS) and many of them are now live. Way back in August, I reported that eleven of them would go live within the month. Well, that didn’t exactly happen. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) had a few technical glitches that resulted in two months of delays. But as of last week, seven of the eleven are now operational.

Bus riders will find the digital, pole-mounted RTIS as bus stops stretching from Ballard to the University District. Nine of the eleven of them are located on the Route 44 corridor with two uniquely providing information at intersecting Route 5 stops, located at N 45th St and Phinney Ave N.

Locations of RTIS in North Seattle. (City of Seattle)
Locations of RTIS in North Seattle. (City of Seattle)

The challenge of installing the signs isn’t necessarily surprising. For one, the poles are mounted into concrete, which originally required temporary stop closures. For another, the signs tap into the City’s fiber optic network. And then there’s getting the systems to sync with OneBusAway and powered on. Combined, that’s no easy task.

RTIS pole-mounted design. (City of Seattle)
RTIS pole-mounted design. (City of Seattle)

The signs also don’t come cheap. At $95,000 per unit, they’re a little spendy. But they’re also a practical and attractive investment. SDOT wants everyone to be able to have good access to live bus information on higher frequency corridors. Locations were intentionally chosen based upon high ridership at individual stops. Reliable information, of course, reinforces positive bus rider behavior and even induces it. At the same time, the high quality poles and signs stand out and offer an attractive addition to the streetscape. So, ultimately, SDOT should get a good bang for their buck.

Stop LocationDirectionAverage Daily BoardingsRoutes at StopTransfers at Companion Stops
Market St & Ballard AveEastbound100017X, 18X, 29, 40, 4417X, 18X, 29, 40, 44
Market St & Ballard AveWestbound37517X, 18X, 29, 40, 4417X, 18X, 29, 40, 44
Market St & 15th NWEastbound42544D, 15
Market St & 8th Ave NWEastbound29028X, 4428, 28X
46th St & Phinney AveEastbound3905X, 445, 5X, 82
46th St & Phinney AveWestbound120445, 5X, 82
46th St & Phinney AveSouthbound1005, 8244, 5X
46th St and Phinney AveNorthbound1805, 5X44, 82
45th St & Wallingford AveEastbound38016, 4416, 44, 82
45th St & Wallingford AveWestbound27516, 44, 8216, 44
45th St & Roosevelt WayWestbound69044, 167, 810, 821, 855, 860, 871, 88066, 67, 68

Aside from these, SDOT is looking to turn on new RTIS along Dexter Ave with other corridors to follow in near future.

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Stephen is a professional urban planner in Puget Sound with a passion for sustainable, livable, and diverse cities. He is especially interested in how policies, regulations, and programs can promote positive outcomes for communities. With stints in great cities like Bellingham and Cork, Stephen currently lives in Seattle. He primarily covers land use and transportation issues and has been with The Urbanist since 2014.