With congestion and pollution becoming a larger problem each year, Spokane County is encouraging commuters to find another way to get to work besides driving alone.
In 1993, Spokane County implemented the Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) Law (RCW 70.94.521-5 5 1) to reduce traffic congestion, air pollution and petroleum consumption through employer-based programs that reduce the number and distance of commute trips in single occupant vehicles (SOVs).
How CTR Works
The CTR program rewards commuters for leaving their cars at home. Not only can they win prizes (ranging from cash, trips, movie tickets, sporting tickets, etc.) for finding alternatives to driving alone, but they also save money on gas, parking, and vehicle maintenance. Some businesses even subsidize employee’s bus passes or parking expenses for those who carpool.
Some of the travel methods CTR encourages are: carpooling, vanpooling, taking the bus, walking or biking, teleworking (working from home), or working a compressed work week.The CTR website, www.MyCommute.org, can help you get started using any of these alternatives. Another website instrumental in matching people up with carpools or vanpools in Spokane County is www.Rideshareonline.com.
After fourteen years of implementation, all measurements point to the success of CTR. The significantly higher use of commute alternatives at CTR worksites compared with other worksites in the same areas makes it clear the CTR Program is working. The drive-alone rate at CTR worksites dropped from 71.1 percent in 1993 to 66.0 percent in 2003.
The CTR Program removes over 5,400 vehicle trips each day on Spokane County streets. To put this into perspective, if those 5,400 vehicles were lined up bumper to bumper, they would fill one lane of traffic beginning at Division Street and I-90 and continuing to the east side of Post Falls, Idaho; approximately 21 miles.
Each year, the commute trip reduction program prevents 264 tons of air pollution from being emitted and reduces petroleum consumption by 434,000 gallons, saving Spokane citizens over $1.1 million in fuel costs alone.
CTR is a good investment
Employers invest in CTR because it makes good business sense and because they are supported by a strong and active countywide program. More than 1,070 worksites participate in the CTR Program statewide. In Spokane County, 149 worksites are part of the CTR program, including 48 worksites participating voluntarily.
With population growth in Spokane County projected to grow by over 20% in the next 20 years, the importance of the CTR Program for managing demand on the transportation system has greatly increased.
To learn more about Commute Trip Reduction, commute alternative choices and much more, go to www.mycommute.org.