More leaving cars behind when going to work in Seattle

Jun 23, 2011

More people who work in downtown Seattle are riding mass transit than driving to the office. That’s according to a survey just released by Commute Seattle, a non-profit that tries to reduce the number of people who drive alone. 

It’s the iconic American image – a driver sitting behind the wheel of a shiny car, radio on, cruising down the highway. It’s a tough notion to change.

Most people who try say there has to be a compelling reason to get people to ditch their cars.  Jamie Cheney, executive director of Commute Seattle, says a growing concern for all things “green” has helped do the trick:

“It becomes more expensive for people to drive a car to work and they are looking for alternatives," she says. "People are also looking for greener ways to get to work, and driving alone in a car doesn’t support many of these personal interests in greening your commute."

She says it’s becoming easier for commuters to find those cheaper, more-environmentally friendly alternatives as the city adds light rail lines and trolleys.

The survey found that 40 percent of trips taken to work downtown are on public transit. Other trips are made by:

  • Car with single driver (35%)
  • Carpool (10%)
  • Foot (8%)
  • Bike (3%)
  • Teleworking (4%)

Cheney says the key to convincing even more people to hang up their keys is to increase their options. That hasn’t been the case as funding for public transportation dwindles.

Pierce Transit recently slashed service for thousands of riders. King County Metro is also considering major cuts.