Washington State Ferries Long Range Plan

Project news

Washington State Ferries submitted the 2040 Long Range Plan to the Legislature on Jan. 3, 2019. The Plan recommends short-, medium- and long-term actions for WSF to pursue and focuses on a set of investments and service enhancements to be implemented over 20 years.

Map showing proposed service and terminal enhancements to be implemented over the next 20 years

The Plan

The Plan reflects extensive input from ferry customers, the public and stakeholders, including nearly 900 comments from more than 7,500 people who participated in 32 public meetings on land and on board ferries and in two online open houses.  

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Needs & benefits

  • WSF developed a Long Range Plan to plan for the future of the ferry system through 2040. The plan does the following:
    • Considers demographic trends and ridership forecasts
    • Looks at the condition of the ferry fleet, terminals, and access to them
    • Evaluates our work force and operations
    • Identifies opportunities to use new technology and prepares for climate change
    • Reviews and updates performance measures


  • The objective of the Long Range Plan is to provide information about the needs of ferry customers, establish operational and pricing strategies to meet those needs, and identify vessel and terminal operations and capital requirements
  • The Plan makes recommendations in four key theme areas: reliable service, customer experience, manage growth, and sustainability and resilience 
  • The 2030 Long Range Plan (pdf 7.7 mb) presented a vision for the future of the ferry system. What have we accomplished?
    • Studied and launched vehicle reservations
    • Improved customer web experience for easier trip planning
    • Started construction on the new Mukilteo ferry terminal and Colman Dock
    • Implemented pricing strategies to maximize use of vehicles space
    • Built six new ferries 


The following legislation guided WSF in developing the 2040 Long Range Plan.

  • 2007 Legislative Directive (ESHB 2358)
    • Include service objectives for routes
    • Forecast demand
    • Develop investment strategies that consider regional and statewide needs
    • Support local use plans, and assure that ferry services are fully integrated with other transportation services
    • provide for the preservation of capital assets based on lowest life-cycle cost methods; be consistent with the regional transportation plans
    • Be developed in conjunction with the Ferry Advisory Committees
  • 2017/2019 Transportation Budget
    • Review the changing needs of ferry system users and funding opportunities and challenges
    • Evaluate strategies to help spread peak ridership
    • Identify operational changes to reduce costs
    • Address the seismic vulnerability and emergency preparedness of the system 

Community Participation Surveys

Executive Advisory Group

The Executive Advisory Group (EAG) includes elected and appointed government officials representing communities across the state. The EAG provides WSF strategic advice on how to prioritize needs; represents their communities’ interests; reviews and provides feedback on policy elements; and supports the successful delivery of the plan.

Policy Advisory Group

The Policy Advisory Group provides policy guidance and input on the plan and serves as community ambassadors. The group includes representatives from Ferry Advisory Committees, transportation and user groups, including bicyclists and pedestrians, mobility-impaired riders, tourism organizations, transit riders, and freight representatives.