Oregon Highway 8, better known as the Tualatin Valley Highway, or TV Highway, is a vital transportation connector in Washington County that serves regional and town centers in Beaverton, Aloha, Hillsboro, Cornelius and Forest Grove. This area has long been served by TriMet’s Line 57 bus, but current and future population and job growth along the corridor – as well as a large percentage of transit-dependent residents – have spurred leaders to believe bus rapid transit should be implemented.
Supported by a Federal Transit Administration HOPE (Helping Obtain Prosperity for Everyone) grant, this project will complete planning and design for public transit and safety improvements on TV Highway. Communities along TV Highway have also adopted plans for improving the streetscape to better serve neighboring residents and businesses.
The area along TV Highway is home to some of the region’s most racially and ethnically diverse communities. Large populations of Latine and Asian residents call this corner of greater Portland home. Incomes in this area vary, but they are generally lower than average for greater Portland and Washington County. Poverty rates are slightly higher, with areas such as west Hillsboro seeing poverty rates as high as 49%.
TV Highway is one of the most dangerous corridors in the region for traffic crashes, especially for people walking, including those accessing transit. There were 21 fatalities on TV Highway between 2017 and 2021, and 52% of those fatalities were people walking. Approximately 29% of TV Highway lacks sidewalks, and approximately 32% of bike lanes are missing or substandard along the highway.
Enhanced crossings are widely spaced, meaning that many bus stops do not have an adequate crossing nearby. Between 2017 and 2021, 46% of all pedestrian serious injuries and fatalities on TV Highway occurred within 100 feet of a transit stop, highlighting the importance of access and safety improvements for pedestrians near transit stations. Additionally, numerous Line 57 bus stops lack accessible boarding areas for people using mobility devices, so riders must wait for the bus on the roadway shoulder.
Travel time on the Line 57 can be nearly double that of auto travel time, which impacts existing transit riders, limits the attractiveness for new riders, and hinders access to important destinations. This transit delay is primarily caused by congestion at intersections and will only get worse as traffic continues to grow over time. Substandard bus stops also result in slower boarding procedures and longer bus stopping times contributing to overall transit delay. Some stops on the Line 57 are also spaced more closely than TriMet standards, leading to greater delay when the bus makes all of these stops.
Riders have identified unreliability as a key concern leading to dissatisfaction with their Line 57 trips. Improving transit travel time and reliability within the corridor would provide an attractive alternative to driving, which could free up roadway capacity for other vehicles in the corridor, including commercial vehicles. Bus stops along TV Highway also don’t meet riders’ needs or provide a dignified experience of taking transit: 54% don’t have weather protection, 34% lack seating and 41% have no lighting.
The TV Highway corridor has relatively high concentrations of people who rely on transit and therefore need safe, efficient and reliable transit to access community resources, jobs and educational opportunities. In comparison to both the region and Washington County, communities in the corridor have higher concentrations of low-income households (33%), people of color (49%), people with limited English language proficiency (15%) and youth (24%). The Line 57 itself has a relatively high share of riders who speak Spanish, identify as people of color, do not have a car available and have a low household income.
Metro is working closely with TriMet to identify a feasible transit and safety project in this corridor. The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is also a key partner as the owner of the roadway from Beaverton to Highway 47. The Washington County and the cities of Forest Grove, Cornelius, Hillsboro and Beaverton are all members of the project steering committee, helping to guide the team to identify a project that meets the needs of their residents.
The steering committee also includes four members from community-based organizations that serve people in the area alongTV Highway: Unite Oregon, Centro Cultural, Adalante Mujeres and APANO. These members bring community perspectives to the discussion that may otherwise not be represented.