Sound Transit’s network will expand rapidly in the near future – with new Link light rail lines, extensions to the Tacoma Link streetcar and Sounder commuter rail, as well as the new Stride BRT lines along SR 523/SR 522 and I-405. With all these new services, Sound Transit has to come up with a way to identify all of them on future maps.
Originally, the current Link light rail spine was going to be renamed as the Red Line, with future lines gaining new colours as they came online. However, the local community was quick to point out the similarity of that name to the racist practice of redlining, where people of colour were denied loans or insurance, defining where in a city they could live. Though Sound Transit acknowledges that there are many other Red Lines around the world, they also chose to act decisively and change their plans at this early stage.
So now we have five Link lines – four of which will be numbered as the main network, while the separate Tacoma Link streetcar will be the “T Line”. The Stride network will get an “S” prefix before their numbers, and the Sounder lines will become the “N Line” and “S Line” after the directions trains travel out of Seattle. To show off this new system, Sound has made this nifty little animated GIF showing how the network will change over time as each new component comes on line. Neat!
The colours actually work well when placed together on the map, and Sound Transit says that though has gone into making them user-friendly for colour-blind readers, which is good to hear. The other thing to note is that there’s still 21 years to go until the system is built out fully, which is like FOREVER.
Source: Sound Transit blog