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Portland, OR


Portland Rose Garden
August 2, 2007

Portland, Oregon has a reputation for being a transit-friendly city on account of its longstanding, progressive land use and transit oriented development policies.  Portland’s transit ridership is higher than that of several larger cities, including Los Angeles.  The primary transit operator in Portland is TriMet.  TriMet serves Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington counties with its light rail (more commonly known as MAX) and bus systems.  In downtown Portland, the Portland Transit Mall prioritizes public transit vehicles over private vehicles to speed the buses and light rail through the city center, and to provide a large hub at which many transfers are available.

Although it is not owned by TriMet, the newer Portland Streetcar is also quite popular and an essential part of the city’s transport network.  The streetcar serves downtown Portland and the area immediately surrounding it.

Finally, bus connections to surrounding jurisdictions such as Clark County, WA are available via the C-TRAN and Columbia County Rider bus systems.

MAX Light Rail

The MAX Light Rail opened on September 5, 1986, using funds that were originally designated for the cancelled Mount Hood Freeway. Today, the system has over 50 miles of tracks, 4 lines, 87 stations, and carries over 115,000 passengers a day. A fifth line is scheduled to open in September 2015.

TriMet Buses

TriMet operates a fleet of about 600 buses on 79 routes. TriMet buses have had bike racks installed on their fronts since the early 1990s. Twelve routes are designated as "Frequent Service Lines" that come at least every 17 minutes during rush hour. TriMet has 17 transit centers at which multiple bus routes converge to facilitate transfers.

Portland Streetcar

The Portland Streetcar opened in 2001. Since then, it has often been used as a model by other cities looking to create similar systems for their own public transit networks. Today, it carries about 12,000 passengers each day.


Clark County Public Transit Benefit Area Authority (C-TRAN) is the public transit provider in Clark County, Washington. C-TRAN operates 27 routes within Clark County as well as express services to Portland.