Collaboration in Civic Spheres

2000-2009: SOVs still dominate region’s work commutes

by Matt Rosenberg August 9th, 2012

A data profile currently feaured on the web site of the Puget Sound Regional Council shows that on weekday work commute trips in King, Snohomish, Pierce and Kitsap Counties and on a percentage basis, there’s been only very scant progress from 2000 to 2009 in getting solo drivers to take transit, bike, or walk to work. Ride-sharing has actually dropped. Data from the PSRC, metro Seattle’s regional transportation planning organization, shows that between 2000 and 2009 the percentage of total workers age 16 or over commuting alone in a vehicle dropped 1.8 percentage points from 71.3 percent to 69.5, with a .7 percent margin of error. Use of public transit to get to work rose from 7.1 percent in 2000 to 8.6 percent in 2009, an increase of 1.5 percent with a .4 percent margin of error. The total pool of commuters 16 and older grew 9.4 percent, from 1,642,700 in 2000 to 1,812,600 in 2009.

Walking to work gained .3 percent, matching the margin of error in that measure, from 3.2 to 3.5 percent, while bicycling to work rose from six-tenths of one percent to nine-tenths of a percent, with a margin of error of one-tenth of a percent.

Telecommuting, or working at home, increased 1 percent from 4.2 to 5.2 of the regional commuter mix over the same nine-year span, with a .3 percent error margin. Taking a taxicab, motorcycle or other means of travel to work rose slightly, from nine-tenths of a percent to 1.1 percent, equal to the margin of error.

2009 is the most recent year for which the U.S. Census Bureau has mode of travel data for major metropolitan regions.

From Regional Data Profile: Transportation/Puget Sound Regional Council, via U.S. Census Bureau

Washington state employers with more than 100 workers at a single site, under a 1991 state Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) law and a related 2006 statute, have been required to make modest shifts of peak hour travel of their employees from drive-alone to other approaches. A January 2010 PSRC data brief reported that so-called CTR sites showed slightly better numbers than the region’s work population as a whole, in using alternative modes of transportation. For instance, to and from CTR sites in 1993, 72 percent of workers drove alone; but that declined to 67 percent by 2007, several points lower then than the overall regional commuting pool, while transit use to and from CTR job sites grew from 6.7 percent in 1993 to 9.4 percent by 2007.

RELATED – from Public Data Ferret:

Puget Sound Regional Council’s ‘Transportation 2040′: A $64 Billion Question

WSDOT: South King County Commuter Rail Study


WA Eyes New U.S. Transpo Bill, But With Questions

State to Contract For Feasibility Report On Vehicle Mileage Tax

Regional Tolling Fair to Low-Income Households, UW Researchers Report


Public Data Ferret is a news knowledge base program of the Seattle-based 501c3 public charity, Public Eye Northwest. Ferret In The News. Donate; subscribe (free)/volunteer.

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