Real-time Information Signs

Real-time information signs outside a storefrontMany Seattle transit users want to know when their next bus will arrive in real-time. To meet this need, SDOT has developed a new tool in the form of real-time information signs (RTIS) that are located at city transit stops with high boarding activity. The signs provide up-to-the-minute estimates of incoming King County Metro and Sound Transit bus arrivals.

SDOT's RTIS program is a partnership with King County Metro and Sound Transit who help generate and format the bus arrival database so that the real time information can be easily displayed on SDOT's signs

For more information on the impacts of real-time information, please visit OneBusAway's research page. Also, in January 2014, the Atlantic Cities published an article on the benefits of real-time information through OneBusAway and its impact on the waiting experience.

SDOT installs three types of RTIS signs, depending on the particular type of bus corridor or stop.

Storefront Signs

SDOT installs RTIS in storefront windows of businesses where there is high boarding activity and willing partners who want to help with sign installation and operation. The storefront signs provide bus riders with actual bus arrival times using the OneBusAway program (maintained by Sound Transit) that many transit riders can access on home computers and cell phones.

Estimated Cost: $2,500 (for monitor, CPU, cords, bracket/stand, and installation)

Transit Information Kiosk

SDOT installs transit information kiosks at bus stops with the highest activity and served by many routes, such as the bus stops on Third Avenue in downtown Seattle. SDOT worked in partnership with King County Metro, the Federal Transit Administration, and Seattle City Light to install information kiosks that include ORCA card readers in addition to real-time bus arrival information from The ORCA card readers allow RapidRide passengers to pay for their rides before the bus arrives, thereby reducing the time required for boarding.

Estimated Cost: $50,000 (for materials)

Outdoor Signs

Current outdoor informatino sign designSDOT installs digital, pole-mounted RTIS signs (also known as blade signs) outdoors at bus stops where connecting to fiber optic lines is possible. These signs, which are being redesigned, use multi-line LED displays to let riders know when the next buses are arriving.

Estimated Cost: $95,000 (for materials and construction)

Proposed sign redesign


Please contact Jeff Bender at for more information, questions or comments.


Greg Spotts, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 3800, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34996, Seattle, WA, 98124-4996
Phone: (206) 684-7623

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The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is on a mission to deliver a transportation system that provides safe and affordable access to places and opportunities for everyone as we work to achieve our vision of Seattle as a thriving, equitable community powered by dependable transportation.