Guarding Safety

SDOT is committed to making our streets safer for everyone, and we’re taking a big step by retrofitting all SDOT trucks with sideguards.

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Sideguards reduce the risk of serious injury or death by preventing pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcycles from being caught underneath a large truck. According a study in the U.K., fatalities from side-impact collisions with trucks were reduced by 61% for cyclists, and 20% for pedestrians, after sideguards were added.

Sideguards can also help save on gas by reducing air drag an increasing fuel efficiency.

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In addition to retrofitting all existing large trucks, SDOT is requiring all new large trucks be equipped with sideguards straight from the manufacturer.

To learn more about side guards, and how they help save lives and fuel, check out the U.S. Department of Transportation information page.

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The Price is Right

What’s the dollar value of a slab of sidewalk? What about a bike rack, or a tree?

Most people consider the initial sticker price and maybe the labor to install, but what about upkeep, depreciation, and obsolescence over the years? The reality is that many cities and departments struggle to track of their long list of assets, and are subsequently unable predict and budget for long-term costs.


SDOT owns a lot of stuff, everything from the big (bridges, streetcars, the new Seawall), to the small (traffic cameras, counters, networking devices), to the surprising (a Cold-War era air-raid siren). All of these assets, and their future costs, are detailed in our “Asset Status and Condition Report,” which values the current SDOT inventory at $20 billion.

That $20 billion figure is just a snapshot though. To improve long-term planning and spend scarce tax dollars wisely, in 2015 SDOT implemented an accounting projection technique known as “lifecycle costing.” This technique considers not only how much something costs upfront, but how much it will cost for the next 50 years, and helps us tie real world metrics to larger policy goals like sustainability or equity.

50 Year Upkeep Forecast

SDOT Assets 50 Year Cost Forecast

Our 50-year forecast shows a surge of costs in the late 2020’s and early 2030’s. This wave of spending need is driven largely by the expected replacement of our bridges, which will be hitting 100 years of operation. With a better understanding these costs, we can show the value of proactive maintenance to extend the life of the bridges, and save tax dollars in the long-term.

SDOT is committed to improving performance metrics and asset measurement – and sharing that with the public. In addition to the “Asset Status and Condition Report,” information is available through online dashboards like Performance Seattle (general department goals), the Capital Projects Dashboard (large projects), and the newly released Levy to Move Seattle Dashboard (levy-related deliverables).

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Connecting the DoTS

SDOT held its last 2016 session of the Working With SDOT Outreach Event series, Connecting the Dots, at Seattle City Hall on October 20.


Event venue: Bertha Knight Landes Room, Seattle City Hall.

In collaboration with King County, Sound Transit and other local transportation agencies, the event connected more than 100 people with agency staff to discuss ways to better find and access contracting work opportunities within transportation public works. Highlights of the event included:

  • A panel discussion about the commonalities between the agencies denoting what information, processes, and experiences can be carried over to obtain work with other agencies
  • Information on upcoming Public Works opportunities from SDOT, Sound Transit, and King County
  • Technical assistance for the Seattle Online Business Directory, and other partner agency directory systems
  • Information on State of Washington Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises (OMWBE) certification
  • Information on Bonding/Insurance from the USDOT Northwest Small Business Transportation Resource Center
  • An hour-long networking session

Attendees connecting with transportation agency staff.

SDOT’s Women- and Minority-owned Business Enterprises (WMBE) Program, within the SDOT Office of Equity and Economic Inclusion, promotes equity in contracting through the inclusion of small and historically underutilized businesses on transportation projects. Mayor Murray affirmed the City of Seattle’s commitment to promote race and gender equity in contracting through Executive Order 2014-03 Equity in City Contracting.

This event was part of an ongoing series of targeted outreach initiatives for SDOT to increase the inclusion of WMBE firms. To learn more about the SDOT WMBE Program, contact Edson I. Zavala, Manager of the Office of Equity and Economic Inclusion at or visit our website at:

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