How Seattle Is Winning the War on the Car Commute - CityLab

February 16, 2018

 

Seattle is the fastest growing city in the U.S., thanks largely to Amazon’s addition of 35,000 employees since 2010. For all the economic benefits that come with growth, it has also created a variety of civic headaches, crippling traffic chief among them.

 

But thanks in part to considerable efforts by the region’s largest employers, the share of commuters driving solo into downtown Seattle is on a dramatic decline.

 

Just 25 percent of workers traveling into the center city drove themselves, according to the results of the latest annual commuter survey by the Seattle Department of Transportation and nonprofit partner Commute Seattle. This is the lowest share since the city started keeping track in 2010, and a reduction of nine percent over the past year.  

 

The number of cars is also trending downwards, according to responses collected among 1,784 downtown workers. While Seattle has gained about 60,000 jobs since 2010, there are approximately 4,500 fewer single-occupancy vehicles.

 

Overwhelmingly, new workers are choosing transit. The share of commuters headed downtown by bus or train rocketed from 42 to 48 percent from 2010 to 2017, with about 41,500 such trips during the average morning rush hour. Bus trips (as anyone who’s waited at a packed King County Metro stop on a weekday morning can attest) make up the vast majority of them.

 

Walking, biking and carpooling also picked up by thousands of trips per day, according to the survey. Note, though, that ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft weren’t explicitly identified as options in the survey, which comes from a state document that hasn’t changed much since 1991.

 

Respondents might have registered those trips as “drive alone,” “other,” or as “rideshare” (meaning carpool), but there is no way of telling. That could be a potentially significant caveat, considering other transportation surveys in U.S. cities, including Seattle, find ride-hailing services to have a cannibalizing effect on transit. But Jonathan Hopkins, the executive director of Commute Seattle, said the scale of their impact seems to be pretty small in downtown Seattle specifically.

 

Click here to read the full article: https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2018/02/seattle-keeps-slashing-its-downtown-driving-rate/553280/

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