Getting to a Great Commute

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This month we’re highlighting some of the great work that’s improving commuting around the region. Many people don’t know that back in 1991 Washington State passed legislation to help manage the effects of increased traffic associated with our daily commutes. The bill, titled the Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) Act, a part of the Washington State Clean Air Act, required that large employers encourage their employees to drive alone less in order to reduce carbon emissions and keep the busiest commute routes flowing. As a part of the CTR Act, SDOT staff works with these employers to help them deliver programs and services for their employees. Through this partnership, SDOT connects employers with transportation resources and technical services that enhance their program’s effectiveness.

For more than 20 years now, many employers throughout the region have recognized the value of CTR and invested in offering free or reduced transit passes, vanpool subsidies, classes on starting to commute by bike and much more. Leaders like the Gates Foundation, Children’s Hospital, and the Amgen Corporation have embraced the program as an employee benefit that helps recruit and retain great employees.

And we’re seeing great results! Last year Seattle made news by being one of the few cities in the country with more than 50% of commuters travelling to work by modes other than driving alone – think transit, carpooling, biking, working from home, any and all of these. We were again spotlighted as a city where there is an increasing number of households who do not own a car – 16% according to the most recent census data! And finally, just this week, the region was featured as having one of the fastest growing transit ridership bases on both King County Metro and Sound Transit services.

This is all great news for the environment, our commutes and our wallets. On average Americans spend 19% of our income on transportation, so CTR benefits can really add up. Check with your employer to learn what they offer to save you money, time and the environment!