Teaching Case - Sound Move: The Debate Over Seattle's Regional Transit System (B)

Sound Move: The Debate Over Seattle's Regional Transit System (B)


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  • Product Description

    The idea that the introduction or expansion of urban light rail systems could ease traffic congestion and air pollution has caught the imagination of many in American cities in recent decades. Yet, at the same time, questions about the efficiency and benefits of rail, compared with other transportation systems, have also arisen. This series of cases describes a long-running political and analytic battle in Seattle between rail transit proponents--including some of its leading planners and citizens--and opponents who believe the costs of a proposed new system, to be financed through a $3.9 billion bond package, will exceed its benefits.

    Learning Objective:
    The case proceeds from the point when rail proponents seek to adjust their plans, based on the electoral defeat of a bond proposal, through the 1996 victory of rail financing in another ballot measure-followed by a series of complications which threaten the scale of transit plans. The cases can serve to support discussion of both the analytic assumptions and methods underlying the views of the two sides in the Seattle rail transit imbroglio. The extensive exhibits require careful preparation in this regard. Such issues as the number of commuters likely to be drawn to rail and the costs attached to doing so must be thought through. At the same time, the cases can also serve as vehicles for discussion of the interest group politics and advocacy methods which come into play around the ballot measures. Business interests, citizen groups, and public officials all figure in the long-running drama surrounding rail transportation in Seattle. Funder: New England University Transportation Center, which is supported by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Research and Special Programs Administration, and by the Parker G. Montgomery Endowment.

  • Other Details

    Publication Date: October 01, 2001
    HKS Case Number: 1640.0
    Case Author: Susan Rosegrant
    Pages (incl. exhibits): 7
    Setting: United States
    Language: English
    Funding Source: New England University Transportation Center
    _year: 2000-2009
    _pages: 1-15
    _geography: US & Canada
  • Warranty Information

    /review/1640.0.EducatorCopy.pdf, /teachingplan/1639_2.pdf