Looking Back on Two Years of Commute Trip Reduction

by | Jul 19, 2023 | Commute Trip Reduction, News

Commute Seattle works to make it easy to walk, bike, ride, and roll for the more than 600,000 people who go to work or school in Seattle everyday. One of the ways we do this work is partnering with the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) through a contract to serve as Seattle’s Transportation Management Association. That means Commute Seattle works with employers, property managers, and the City to advance the goals of the Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) law and to reduce drive-alone rates to CTR-affected sites across the city.

Over the past 25 years, vehicle miles traveled have fallen more in Washington State than any other state. A big part of the reason is the Commute Trip Reduction law, which turns 30 this year. We’re proud to be the organization leading this work in the largest city in the only state with a CTR law.

We just wrapped up our latest two-year contract with SDOT, and are excitedly embarking on another two-years of this work with a renewed contract. As we look ahead to a new biennium, we are also taking a moment to celebrate our accomplishments from the last two-years.

Lowest drive alone rate… ever!

At the core of Commute Trip Reduction is reducing the number of people driving-alone to work in Seattle. In fall of 2022, our Seattle Commute Survey found that only 21% of commuters to Central Seattle drove alone to work. This is the lowest rate we’ve ever recorded, and reflects a significant drop compared to 33% of commuters driving alone in 2012.

This remarkable progress is due to several factors, including the rise of remote work and the incredible investment across the Puget Sound region that has expanded Link light rail, added bus service, and built bike lanes. Our Commute Trip Reduction work has played an important role too, as we see workers at CTR-affected employers drive-alone at lower rates than others.

Held more than 800 consultations, leading to lower drive alone rates.

Over the past two years we held more than 800 total consultations, including 477 consultations with CTR-affected employers and 204 consultations helping employers comply with Seattle’s Commuter Benefits Ordinance.

These consultations are more than just meetings. They lead to employers providing subsidized ORCA cards to employees, better bike rooms, and improved transportation plans. Ultimately, they reduce the number of car trips in Seattle. A great example is our consultations with Gourmondo Catering Company. Gourmondo initially met with us to learn about compliance with the Commuter Benefits Ordinance. After three consultations with several members of our team, Gourmondo decided to go above and beyond minimum compliance, and now offers ORCA Passport to all 125 of their employees across 11 locations. Our work with Gourmondo highlights the real world impact of a consultation, and how Commute Seattle has been able to leverage the Commuter Benefits Ordinance to engage with employers beyond compliance.

Achieved more than 26,000 engagements through training and learning opportunities.

We hosted 16 training or educational events in the last biennium, double our contract requirement. These events engaged more than 26,000 people, spreading awareness of transportation best-practices among employers, property-managers, and decision-makers. Highlights include the “Transit Talk: Beyond the 9-to-5 Commute” panel discussion, a Bike 101 webinar, our Insider Insights event to share highlights from the Seattle Commute Survey, and demo days across the city to introduce people to e-bikes and e-scooters.

Released four case studies (and counting…) highlighting employer transportation programs.

During the last biennium, we released four case studies, with a fifth published just this week. Each of these case studies showcases an employer’s or building’s transportation program, sharing successful models and highlighting opportunities for other employee transportation coordinators.

We highlighted EQ Office’s fresh approach to commute fairs, explored Regence BlueShield’s commute program and transportation subsidy, profiled four organizations that invested in Vanpool, and showcased Amazon’s active transportation programs. Just this month we released our latest case study highlighting ORCA Business Programs. Stay tuned for more!

Heard from 64,000 people for the new Seattle Commute Survey.

In partnership with the Mobility Innovation Center at the University of Washington and Challenge Seattle, we revamped our survey work and launched the 2022 Seattle Commute Survey. With over 64,000 respondents, more than 1 in 10 people who work in Seattle, we captured valuable insights into travel trends at a unique moment in the pandemic recovery. We applied these insights to 400 Commuter Insights Reports, giving employers an individualized look at how their transportation programs were performing. The insights gained from this work continue to garner attention in local and national news coverage.

Let’s work together!

As we embark on another two years of this work, we are always looking for new partnerships. Reach out to us to learn more about the services Commute Seattle offers and how we can work together!

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