Commute Seattle was founded in 2004 by the Downtown Transportation Alliance (DTA), which is a public-private partnership of the Downtown Seattle Association, City of Seattle King County Metro, and Sound Transit. The DTA had the vision that their collaboration at the highest level would be critical for transportation planning that needed to happen as
One of the goals to support the vision of this partnership was to set a downtown Mode Split target that by 2016, only 30% of downtown employees would commute using a single occupant vehicle. Now, over ten years later, Commute Seattle and the DTA Partnership is poised to announce whether or not the goal has been achieved, and begin the process of setting new mobility goals for the future. In 2014 when the last study was conducted the drive-alone-rate (DAR) was 31%. In that time however, the city has added over 19,000 jobs downtown, bringing downtown jobs (i.e traveling workers) to a total of about 247,000.
The long term trend in the US has been for vehicle travel to increase at similar rates as economic growth, or as the economy booms so does the amount of cars on the road. We hope the opposite is true. Positive factors that might help to overcome our growth challenges include increased transit service, increased downtown housing options – allowing people to live within walking distance from their workplace, and a positive trend of employers providing ORCA cards and other incentives for choosing alternative modes of travel.
We are proud of the work we do with our public and private sector partners and believe that their leadership is one of the key reasons that even as job growth increases the number of cars on the road is not going up proportionally. The business community is offering ORCA Business Passport and other creative commuter benefits to encourage transit use, biking and walking. They are relocating downtown where transit access is at its best, and they are moving the dial. We look forward to providing more detail on the downtown Mode Split results on February 9th!