Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) Overview

In 1991, the Washington State Legislature passed the Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) Law requiring employers to work with employees to reduce the number and length of drive-alone commute trips made to their worksite.

What is Commute Trip Reduction (CTR)?

The Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) Law (RCW 70.94.521 – 551) was adopted in 1991 as part of the Washington Clean Air Act. The purpose of the law is threefold – to reduce:

Emissions of greenhouse gases & other air pollutants

Traffic congestion

Energy consumption

Does Commute Trip Reduction work?

The City of Seattle’s Commute Trip Reduction Program is a partnership connecting large employers to resources and tools to support the use of travel options that keep businesses and the economy thriving. Employers participating in the Commute Trip Reduction program have contributed to a 11% reduction in the city’s drive alone rate (DAR) since 2007.

For more than 20 years, this partnership has helped over 250 employers city-wide provide transportation benefits for more than 139,000 daily commuters whose travel choices make significant contributions to reducing air pollution, traffic congestion and energy consumption. Recent survey results show that 64% of commuters traveling to Commute Trip Reduction (CTR)-affected worksites choose to get to work by transit, biking, walking, ridesharing and modes other than driving alone. The city aims to grow this partnership with businesses and continue to reduce the number of commuters driving alone.

What does the law require?

The law requires major employers to develop and implement a commute trip reduction program. The program must be designed to reduce the number and length of drive alone commute trips made to the worksite. The employer must submit a regular employer program report to SDOT and/or Commute Seattle for review and approval. What does the law require?

Every two years, the employer must conduct an employee commute survey – or supply equivalent data – showing employee commute behavior and the worksite’s progress toward commute trip reduction goals. If the employer does not meet reduction goals, the jurisdiction can require the employer to change or modify its program.

What is a major employer and a Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) affected employee?

A major employer is a public or private employer that employs 100 or more Commute Trip Reduction affected employees. A Commute Trip Reduction affected employee is a fulltime employee at a single worksite who is scheduled to begin their regular workday between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m., on two or more week days, for at least 12 continuous months during the year. A full-time employee is one who is scheduled to work an average of at least 35 hours per week.

What are the Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) goals?

The City of Seattle’s Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) program’s success is grounded in the contributions made by large employers. Building on this success, the City of Seattle has set a new city-wide goal to reduce the city’s Drive Alone Rate (DAR) an additional 10% by 2017. In order to meet this reduction, the city has adjusted goals and programming for large employers based on available infrastructure and travel options at their location. Eight geographic areas, called networks, have a specific Drive Alone Rate (DAR) goal that employers within that network will work to achieve by 2017. Local networks will foster stronger relationships between peer employers and encourage sharing of best practices to leverage commuter habits and trends. By focusing on specific geographies, the new Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) goals and programming are more responsive to local conditions that employers face and will help Seattle achieve greater reductions in commuters driving alone.

What does this mean for employers?

As a Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) affected employer you become part of a network of similar employers who are working towards the same trip reduction goals. You will have access to local resources and other employers within your geographic area and will receive programming to help you achieve your reduction goals.

City of Seattle Program Requirements – SMC 25.02

An affected employer is required to make a good faith effort to develop and implement a Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) program that will encourage its employees to reduce drive alone commute trips and vehicle miles traveled (VMT) per employee. The Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) program must include the mandatory elements outlined below:

Employee Transportation Coordinator (ETC)

Designation of an employee transportation coordinator to administer the CTR program and to act as a liaison for one or more worksites of an affected employer. The ETC’s name and contact information must be displayed prominently at each worksite.

Information Distribution

Distribution of the CTR program summary to affected employees at least twice a year and to each new affected employee when the new affected employee begins employment.

Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) Program Elements

The employer’s CTR Program shall include elements as needed to meet CTR goals. An affected employer’s CTR program shall specifically identify at least two of the following measures to be implemented by the affected employer:

  • Provide bicycle parking facilities and/or lockers, changing areas and showers for employees who walk or bicycle to work.
  • Provide commuter ride-matching services to facilitate employee ride-sharing for commute trips. Provide subsidies for transit fares.
  • Provide employer vans or third-party vans for vanpooling.
  • Provide subsidy for carpool and vanpool participation.
  • Permit the use of the employer’s vehicles for carpool and/or vanpool commute trips.
  • Permit alternative work schedules, such as a compressed workweek, that reduce commute trips by affected employees between six (6:00) a.m. and nine (9:00) a.m. A compressed workweek regularly allows a full-time employee to eliminate at least one (1) workday trip every two (2) weeks, by working longer hours during the remaining days, resulting in fewer commute trips by the employee.
  • Permit alternative work schedules such as flex-time that reduce commute trips by affected employees between six (6:00) a.m. and nine (9:00) a.m. Flex-time allows individual employees some flexibility in choosing the time, but not the number, of their working hours.
  • Provide preferential parking for high-occupancy vehicles.
  • Provide reduced parking charges for high-occupancy vehicles.
  • Collaborate with transportation providers to provide additional regular or express service to the work site (e.g., a custom bus service arranged specifically to transport employees to work).
  • Construct special loading and unloading facilities for transit, carpool and/or vanpool users.
  • Provide and fund a program of parking incentives such as a cash payment for employees who do not use the parking facilities.
  • Institute or increase parking charges for SOVs.
  • Establish a program to permit employees to telecommute either part- or full-time, where telecommuting is an arrangement that permits an employee to work from home, eliminating a commute trip, or to work from a work center closer to home, reducing the distance traveled in a commute trip by at least half.
  • Provide a shuttle between the employer’s worksite and the closest park-and-ride lot, transit center, or principal transit street.
  • Attend at least four meetings of a local transportation management association, transportation management organization, or employer transportation network group each year.
  • Implement other measures designed and demonstrated to facilitate the use of non-SOV commute modes or to reduce vehicle miles traveled that are agreed upon between the SDOT Director and the affected employer.

Need more information? Visit: www.seattle.gov/waytogo or connect with us.


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