February 20, 2015
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Meet Tracy Reed!

Tracy Reed
Rail Activation Manager
Sound Transit
Member, Leadership APTA Class of 2012; mentor, Early Career Program, 2014, 2015; member, Human Resources, Rail Safety and Policy & Planning committees

Please describe your agency’s scope.
Sound Transit, which is headquartered in Seattle, builds and operates regional train and bus services for Central Puget Sound. The Sound Transit district stretches 1,080 square miles through three counties and has nearly three million ­people—40 percent of the entire population for the state of Washington.

Sound Transit started in 1995 with 26 employees; today it has more than 630. Services include ST Express buses, Sounder commuter trains and Link light rail trains operating in four cities: Tacoma, SeaTac, Tukwila and Seattle. The agency contracts with other transit providers in the region to operate most of those services.

Sound Transit continues to enjoy a strong ridership growth trend and anticipates that its buses and trains will provide about 34 million rides in 2015.

In addition, Sound Transit has invested more than $5 billion in infrastructure, including direct-access ramps, park-and-rides, HOV lanes, light rail and heavy rail improvements, and it has an additional 41 miles of light rail extensions in planning or construction.

How long have you worked in public transportation? What drew you to a career in the industry?
I’ve worked in public transportation for 22 years—initially, as a founding member of Transportation Choices Coalition in Washington state and a university research associate in project prioritization tools.

I was drawn to work in transit for the oppor­tunity to positively impact people’s daily lives. ­Providing good alternatives to driving and reducing our impacts on climate and the environment are still key motivations.

I am fortunate to have joined Sound Transit early in its light rail program development phase. Although I’ve been with the same organization since 1998, my work is ever-changing. I’ve been involved in every stage of project implementation from planning to startup of operations and seeing ideas transformed from paper into reality is a great reward. I love when I find myself standing in a new facility or at a job site and realize that it looks just as I imagined back in the office.

How long have you been an APTA member?
I have been an APTA member since 1998 when I first began participating in APTA Annual Meetings, presenting at rail conferences and in technical forums.

What have you found to be the most valuable APTA benefit or resource? Please explain why or how this has helped.
APTA’s partnership with other organizations is a great asset for members. Efforts such as jointly sponsored transit conferences or committee collaboration on research and standards development help develop relationships in a cost-effective way for members. Combined efforts help me make the most connections on every trip.

Participating in Leadership APTA and in development of the new Early Career Program have also been valuable experiences. The sustained commitment to a yearlong training program as student, mentor or instructor helps ingrain the lessons more completely and allows time to consider applications to my own career before seeking additional feedback.

Finally, being involved with a national organization like APTA gives me perspective on my local situation and work environment without having to move around. You get to know people with similar responsibilities who can act as a sounding board, offering support or referrals.

What do you like most about your career?
I enjoy bringing people together to make a difference in my adopted hometown. Sound Transit is a relatively new service provider and being involved in changing the way people think about getting around the region or investing in property development near new stations is important to me, and fun.

What is unique about your agency? What would readers be surprised to learn?
Sound Transit’s Link light rail trains run at-grade, in tunnels, on elevated tracks and by 2023, will be the only passenger trains in the world that operate on a floating bridge.

That I-90 floating bridge, which is over a mile long, connects Seattle and ­Bellevue over Lake Washington.
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