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About TriMet

Public transportation in the Portland metro area

About TriMet

TriMet provides bus, light rail and commuter rail service in the Portland metro area. Our transportation options connect people with their community, while easing traffic congestion and reducing air pollution—making our region a better place to live.

Things are different here

In 1974, residents of Southeast Portland rejected a proposed eight-lane freeway that would have destroyed many neighborhoods, and officials decided to put the money toward transit instead.

At a time when pavement and parking lots were measures of a city's growth, this was a pioneering decision that marked a new way of thinking about how transportation affects our quality of life.

By the late 1970s the Portland region was embracing the idea of linking land use and transportation to help manage growth and maintain livability:

  • 1976: The city replaces a four-lane freeway downtown with what is now Tom McCall Waterfront Park.
  • 1978: The Portland Transit Mall opens, with one-way streets intended specifically for transit. Among the first of its kind in the nation, the Mall became the focus for downtown redevelopment.
  • 1981: Instead of a 10-floor parking garage, the city builds Pioneer Courthouse Square—now known as Portland's "living room."
  • 1986: MAX Light Rail opens between downtown and Gresham, using money initially earmarked for new freeways. MAX was one of the first modern light rail systems in the country.

Today, Portland is frequently cited as one of the best places to live in the world, known for its thriving downtown, walkable neighborhoods, extensive bike paths and comprehensive transit system.

Learn more: A history of TriMet and public transit in Portland

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Public Transportation
—Travel & Leisure Magazine, 2007–2012

How we stack up

In the Portland area…

More people ride transit in the Portland area than in larger cities, such as Dallas, Denver and San Diego. And 84% of riders choose TriMet over driving.

  • Transit use is growing faster than auto use: We're bucking the national trend. Transit use in the Portland area is growing at a faster rate than both population and vehicle miles traveled.
  • More people use transit: We rank 7th in transit ridership, even though we're 24th in population. More people ride transit here than in larger cities, such as Dallas, Denver and San Diego.
  • 84% of riders choose TriMet over driving: We're the "go-to" transportation option for many Portlanders—even those who own a car.
  • People use transit for more than just getting to work: People ride more on weekends than in most U.S. cities, due to TriMet's Frequent Service bus lines and MAX, which run 7 days a week.
  • Commutes are 20% shorter: Compared to other U.S. cities, we spend less time sitting in traffic, thanks in part to our network of buses and trains.

Learn more: TriMet in the news

Less traffic and pollution

Every day, buses and MAX eliminate about 207,300 car trips (that's 65 million per year!), which helps ease traffic congestion and reduce pollution.

TriMet service eases traffic congestion and helps keep our air clean. With more than 318,000 trips taken each weekday on buses and trains, transit makes a big difference in our quality of life.

Every day…

  • buses and MAX eliminate about 207,300 car trips (65 million per year).
  • TriMet service keeps 4.2 tons of smog-producing pollutants out of our air.
  • on the west side, MAX carries the equivalent of 2.9 extra lanes of traffic on the Sunset Highway.
  • MAX carries 26% of evening rush-hour commuters traveling from downtown on the Sunset and Banfield freeways.

Without TriMet, the average commuter would spend five hours more in traffic each year, and it would cost the region $98 million more in time and fuel.

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Cleanest U.S. Commutes
—forbes.com, 2009

Transit means independence

Esperanza depends on TriMet and community shuttles to get to the grocery store, medical appointments and other services. The Portland area's elderly population is expected to more than double by 2035.

For thousands of residents and workers who can't drive due to age, income or a disability, TriMet is a lifeline to essential services. We provide transportation to jobs, grocery stores, medical appointments, government offices and more. It's easy to take for granted, but mobility is the key to independence for many of our friends and neighbors.

More than 10 million bus and MAX trips are taken by seniors and people with disabilities each year. Another 1 million trips are taken on LIFT, TriMet's door-to-door paratransit service for those who can't use regular buses and trains.

As the elderly population grows (it's expected to more than double in the Portland area by 2035), so does our need for high-quality, accessible transit.

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Transportation to/from Airport
—Travel & Leisure Magazine, 2009

We're growing places

Patton Park Apartments, a transit-oriented development along MAX Yellow Line in North Portland, is part of a compact, walkable neighborhood mixed with retail.

Our region's investment in MAX Light Rail has paid off in the form of more than $10 billion in development near MAX stations.

Much of this development mixes residential, retail and other commercial uses to create dense and diverse neighborhoods where people can live, work and play.

Transit-oriented developments are walkable and compact, without the sprawl and traffic congestion (and the associated air pollution). More people are choosing a lifestyle based on short trips that don't require a car.

Learn more: How quality transit helps create livable communities

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Greenest Cities in America
—Popular Science, 2008

Everyone benefits

Even if you don't ride, you benefit from our region's investments in public transit.

TriMet connects people to work, school, recreation, job opportunities and essential services. But riders aren't the only ones who benefit from TriMet service. Transit is a community asset that:

  • stimulates the economy by bringing shoppers to grocery stores, malls, farmers markets and neighborhood shops.
  • reduces traffic congestion and air pollution by taking cars off the road.
  • generates tourism dollars by making the Portland area more attractive for conventions, conferences and events.
  • saves money on roads by reducing the need for maintenance and new road projects.
  • promotes development that helps revitalize neighborhoods and create livable, sustainable communities.
  • supports a healthy lifestyle by encouraging people to walk or bike as a part of their daily routine.

Learn more: Benefits of public transportation publictransportation.org

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Most Sustainable U.S. Cities
—SustainLane.com, 2008

Making transit better

Rob, a MAX operator from our Ruby Junction facility, is one of 2,400 TriMet employees committed to getting you where you need to go, safely and on time.

In the short term, as the economy recovers, our top priority is restoring service hours on buses and MAX.

Long term, we're always looking for ways to improve the transit experience—from planning your trip and finding your stop or station, to accessing real-time service information and getting safely to your destination.

We envision a "total transit system" that provides:

  • frequent, reliable and comfortable service
  • access to transit via walking, biking or driving
  • stops with comfortable waiting areas and amenities
  • accurate and reliable service information
  • a safe trip

Learn more: See how we're building the "total transit system"

 

 

We operate our programs without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, age or disability in accordance with applicable laws, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and ORS Chapter 659A. Title VI policy statement