Some companies have done better than others to make the Seattle commute less daunting for their employees.
The best, according to the City of Seattle, are the Gates Foundation and Stoel Rives LLP, whose employees are the most efficient commuters around town.
According to data collected by the city, of the more than 1,300 employees at the Gates Foundation, 66 percent opted not to drive alone to work in 2017. That means fewer cars clogging up roads. The majority of Gates employees chose to use transit (19 percent); the next popular mode was walking (16 percent); then biking (10 percent) and using rideshare (9 percent). A total of 34 percent chose to drive alone to work.
Stoel Rives employees cut their single-car drivers down to 12 percent. The business law firm has more than 800 employees. A total of 68 percent use transit to get into downtown Seattle. Rideshare was the next most popular form of transportation, along with walking — both 9 percent.
Seattle recently awarded both companies with platinum status for their commuting habits – out of the possible awards of bronze, silver, gold and platinum. It’s part of Seattle’s ongoing Commute Trip Reduction Program. The platinum status is an improvement for both companies. Stoel was awarded bronze in 2016 and didn’t make the list in 2015. The Gates Foundation received a bronze rating over the past two years.
Seattle commute ratings
Seattle monitors how well the city’s largest employers are taking advantage of subsidized transit passes, carpooling, biking or other commuting programs that take people out of cars. Points are awarded depending on how well each program is used. Over the past three years, Seattle has awarded employers who make the best use of the program. They get a trophy or a certificate for boasting purposes.
A total of 76 out of 257 of Seattle’s largest employers received a gold, silver or bronze award. In 2016, KPFF Consulting Engineers, and Bloodworks Northwest nabbed the platinum status. KPFF also got platinum in 2015, along with the University of Washington, Seattle Children’s, and Big Fish Games.
Perhaps the city has never needed the program as much as it does today, with record growth in development, population and jobs crowding into the downtown core. Downtown Seattle gained about 45,000 new jobs between 2010 and 2016. Yet during that same time, only 2,255 cars were added to downtown roads. Officials believe that is because transit, biking or walking has absorbed much of that transportation need. According to a recent commuting survey, 70 percent of downtown workers are opting not to drive alone into work.
As for 2017, all the winners can be found here.