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Youth Transportation Summit participants deliver 5 key recommendations to City of Seattle leadership

Youth Transportation Summit participants smile at Seattle City Hall before heading upstairs to present their recommendations directly to Mayor Bruce Harrell. Photo: SDOT.

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  • On December 9, 2023, 60 young people attended Seattle’s first-ever Youth Transportation Summit, hosted by the City of Seattle, King County Metro, and Sound Transit.
  • The summit was called for by Mayor Harrell’s 2022 One Seattle Transportation and Climate Justice Executive Order.
  • At the summit, participants discussed urgent issues impacting climate justice and transportation access in Seattle.
  • The group voted on a list of recommendations to address these pressing concerns. Nine participants were selected to further clarify and organize the recommendations.
  • In late-January, participants from the summit presented their findings to Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, Seattle City Councilmember Rob Saka, Seattle Department of Transportation Director Greg Spotts, and Office of Sustainability and the Environment Director Jessyn Farrell.
  • Read on for an overview of the recommendations from summit participants. You can also find the full action plan with more details online.

Climate justice and transportation access are highly important issues to this generation of youth and young adults. Young people are eager and excited for more spaces to have conversations about these topics, particularly around influencing government decision-making.

All of the recommendations detailed below were created by and voted on directly by youth and young adults. The recommendations are relevant to our work at the Seattle Department of Transportation and to the broader regional transit system. They also call for an opportunity for further collaboration between various public transportation agencies. For a full list of recommendations and tangible action items suggested by participants, view the full action plan online.

More than a dozen people smile in a group photo inside while looking at the camera. The City of Seattle seal and U.S. and Washington State flags are in the background, as well as a cityscape image of Seattle.
Youth Transportation Summit participants at Seattle City Hall while meeting key Seattle officials and elected officials. Photo: SDOT.
Graphic stating "Youth Climate & Transportation Action Plan." The graphic shows six people moving multicolored shapes into a larger shape or pile.
The Youth Climate & Transportation Action Plan. Graphic: SDOT
Graphic icon stating "Recommendation #1". The icon shows a person walking and another person riding a bike in two overlapping circles.

Repurpose Existing Infrastructure to Enhance and Encourage Bicycling and Walking

Goal: Decrease single-occupancy vehicle (SOV) use and improve sense of connection to community.

Graphic icon stating "Recommendation #2". The icon shows two books stacked upon each other with an apple above.

Develop Meaningful Partnerships and Relationships with Community Through Increased Transportation Education and Engagement

Goal: Create a positive culture around stewardship and transit use to shift travel behavior and increase transit ridership.

Graphic icon stating "Recommendation #3". The icon has a person rolling up a ramp in a wheelchair or mobility assistive device.

Increase Investments in Safety to Make Navigating Seattle More Accessible by Using Public Transit

Goal: Increase public transit use and reduce SOV use; Increase green space and use of public space around transit rich areas.

Graphic icon that says "Recommendation #4". Two hands, one small and one larger are overlaid upon each other.

Engage Transit Riders from a Younger Age and Modify Transit Service to Meet the Needs of Young People

Goal: Increase youth ridership and engagement in public transit and reduce SOV reliance for future generations

Icon saying "Recommendation #5". The icon shows a hand out with a flower and dollar sign emerging from it.

Invest in Regional Transit Service Improvements

Goal: Increase public transit use and reduce single-occupancy vehicle (SOV) use.

Over a dozen people sit around a large conference table inside a meeting room. A presentation screen is in the background. Several people have laptops and paper in front of them.
Youth summit participants present to and connect with Mayor Harrell and other City of Seattle leaders at Seattle City Hall. Photo credit: Seattle Mayor’s Office

“Being a part of the planning process for the Youth Transportation Summit and participating in the creation and presentation of the Youth Climate and Transportation Action Plan has been a valuable experience. I enjoyed having the space and the opportunity to brainstorm and create recommendations alongside peers that are equally as passionate about climate justice and transportation access and equity. The most valuable part of this experience was being able to directly present these ideas to Mayor Harrell and other City leadership, where I felt like our recommendations were acknowledged and will hopefully come into fruition soon!” -Katelyn Saechao

What‘s next?

City of Seattle staff will review the recommendations and actions shared by summit participants and look for opportunities to incorporate them into our everyday work where appropriate, to help address climate change and improve the City’s transportation system.

We hope these recommendations can guide and support climate justice and transportation access initiatives coming from other youth groups, community-based organizations, and our partners in the regional transit system as we continue to build a safe and reliable transportation network.

Thank you to all the young people and speakers who participated in the Youth Transportation Summit! We look forward to sharing additional updates as this work moves forward in 2024 and beyond.