Tacoma Washington Cityscape Railroad, Dome, Downtown, Foss River Waterfront

Construction with the latest light rail technology is underway in Washington State on the much anticipated Tacoma Link Extension project which extends the current rail line from the Theatre District in downtown Tacoma to the Stadium District and Hilltop neighborhoods. The $217 million project includes building six stations along the new line and is expected to double the number of commuters it can accommodate from 2,000 to 4,000 daily riders.

The project is a collaboration between Sound Transit, the City of Tacoma, and the Federal Transit Administration. It is the result of several years of planning and thoughtful partnership between these agencies with the shared goal of expanding affordable public transit options for local residents, students, and commuters. Jacobs Engineering Group was selected to help provide oversight and support the work required to complete this massive project.

The shared work effort is enhanced by Sound Transit’s investment in innovative new construction software that takes collaboration between the groups to the next level, allowing for enhanced and improved communication between stakeholders, project managers and those performing the onsite work. By providing one central location for the project to live and making it easy for those in the field or working onsite to instantly access and review the details, everyone has the latest, most up to date information on project status. Sound Transit’s high standards for project inspection work and their mindfulness of project budget led the search for innovation that could provide their inspectors with the most effective technology available to help teams amplify their efficiency and collaboration to deliver great results for the project.

“I couldn’t get all I need to get done on this project without HeadLight”

– Project Inspector, Tacoma Link Project


By deploying HeadLight, a visual-based inspection and verification tool, inspectors are provided with a solution that can improve the quantity and quality of observations and keep them in the field longer by reducing administrative burden. In addition, a higher level of oversight is possible by providing real-time access into this jobsite data for the resident engineers and construction managers. Sound Transit expects the following benefits from their investment:

  • Reduced administrative burden on project inspectors allowing them more time in the field (1 – 1.5 hours more each day)
  • Eliminate data omissions or errors that come with the current paper-based process
  • Reduce RE/PE administrative time spent reviewing and approving reports
  • Quickly and effectively Search and Retrieve project documents
  • Allow for collaboration with agency partners on project verification processes
  • Provide a portal with a virtual view of the jobsite for all stakeholders, construction managers and inspectors to and collaborate in real time

The City of Tacoma is poised to grow by 64 percent in the next 20 years and expanding Tacoma Link will connect neighbors, cut traffic and help people avoid expensive parking bills. The project is expected to bring $250 million in economic development to the region. Service on the new extension is scheduled to begin in 2022.