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Minneapolis and Seattle Have Achieved the Holy Grail for Sustainable Transportation - Streets Blog U

Two American cities have finally cracked one of the hardest codes in city planning: Even with low gas prices, even with population growth, even with Uber and Lyft circling 24/7, Minneapolis and Seattle have reduced the amount of driving in their cities.

Vehicle miles traveled are down 2 percent in Minneapolis between 2007 and 2016, according to city officials. During that time the city gained roughly 30,000 residents.

Average daily traffic declined 5 percent in Seattle over roughly the same period — between 2006 and 2017, according to Dongho Chang, the city’s lead traffic engineer.

Believe it or not, this is a rare feat. For example, San Francisco’s vehicle miles traveled increase 13 percent between 2010 and 2016, according to city records [PDF].

So how did Minneapolis and Seattle do it? They’re doing a lot of things right. Here’s a short rundown:


In the last decade, Minneapolis has made some important investments in public transit. The city opened its popular Green Line light rail in 2014 and it now carries 37,000 riders a day. The region has also been building a network of bus rapid transit service, beginning in St. Paul.

The city is also famously bike friendly and has been steadily adding bike infrastructure. In 2016, bike commuting rates reached an all-time high of 5 percent.

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