New survey tracks how we travel for the greater good

May 23, 2023, 4:51 AM | Updated: 6:49 am

travel survey SEATTLE TRAFFIC...

The Puget Sound Regional Council is asking residents to fill out a survey about their commute (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

(Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

Most people blow off survey requests they get in the mail, but there’s a huge survey underway right now that will help determine the future of travel in our region and how it’s developed.

Have you ever wondered how cities and counties decide where to put developments, build new roads or infrastructure, and put your hard-earned tax dollars to work? They do surveys. They ask people to give up information about their lives to figure out what should be prioritized.

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The Puget Sound Regional Council is sending surveys out right now to random households in King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Kitsap counties to find out how we all get around.

Do we ride the bus? Do we drive solo? Do we drive to a light rail station and then catch a train? Do we carpool? Do we use ride-share?

Brian Lee is the Data Solutions and Research Program Manager for the council, and he says that its important to understand what people’s commutes are actually like in their day-to-day.

“We’d like to know where growth is happening, where we’re expecting people to be living and working,” Lee said. “So getting an idea of how people get around where people are coming from and moving to allows us to better plan for the future for the region.”

It’s expected that another 1.8 million people are going to move here over the next 27 years, and knowing the trends of how we travel will help prepare for that.

This survey used to be done every 10 years, but now it’s done every two, just to keep up with all the changes in our habits. This will be the first study since the pandemic has settled down.

“We want to see more about teleworking,” Dr. Lee said. “Who’s teleworking? Where are they living? What kinds of trips are making if they’re not going to the office? If they aren’t going to the office, who are the folks that are doing it? What types of trips are [they] making, and how they’re using different parts of our transportation system like the road networks, as well as transit and biking and everything else that’s out there.”

Survey participants can download an app to help track all their trips. They can also use a web-based service. Participants are asked to do this for a week to get a good representation of their travel habits.

Lee said they also want personal data to track how different communities use the available services.

“If they’re more urban and have a lot of different options versus if you are more in the rural community and maybe more auto-dependent, and then similarly for race and ethnicity as well as income, different communities may have different challenges and needs,” Lee said.

The survey ends in June, and the initial data and conclusions should be available early next year.

And Lee has a request for you, “If you do get an invitation, please consider joining the survey and providing this information because it’s for everybody that lives in this region, and we’re hoping to make this a really great place to live.”

This is a random survey of 4,000 Puget Sound area households, and participants need to opt in.

Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints.


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New survey tracks how we travel for the greater good