Study details new Seattle area commute patterns

SEATTLE — In the post-Covid era, how we get around is changing.

Just ask Ann Cooke.

“Before the pandemic, we would drive to work and now we’re working from home,” she said Thursday.

Like many remote workers, she saves car trips for other things.

“When I drive it’s mostly to drive my kiddo around and get groceries,” Cooke said.

A new study from the University of Washington’s Mobility Innovation Center and Commute Seattle finds traffic is back not just because of work trips.

75% of people drive alone for errands.

“If we can make transit, biking, and walking for those types of trips, we’ll make it work for all trips,” said Kirk Hovenkotter of Commute Seattle.

But higher-income people, who were most likely to take transit before the pandemic, still haven’t returned.

22% of people who work in Downtown Seattle rode transit last year, compared to 46% in 2019.

One in five people now drives downtown for work, with traffic heaviest on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

“We see different weekdays tell a different story. Monday and Friday have the highest rate of remote work,” said UW researcher Lamis Ashour.

The survey was done in late 2022.

Researchers expect more changes this year as companies call workers back to offices.

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