Commute Trip Reduction (CTR)
If your worksite has 100 or more employees arriving at work between the hours of 6 am and 9 am, your company may be affected by Washington State's Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) law. CTR protects our environment by encouraging employers and employees to find alternatives to driving alone to work. Employer Transportation Coordinators (ETCs) and large employers play a critical role in reducing drive-alone trips and promoting transit, biking, walking, teleworking and alternative work schedules.
Washington State’s Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) Law was passed by the Legislature in 1991 with goals to improve air quality, reduce traffic congestion, and reduce the consumption of petroleum fuels through employer-based programs that encourage the use of alternatives to driving alone. Alternatives include riding the bus or train, carpooling, vanpooling, bicycling, walking, working a compressed work week or teleworking
The Washington State Legislature passed the CTR Efficiency Act in 2006 and revised the goals for trip reduction; each city and county must reduce drive alone trips at major worksites by 10% by 2011. Local jurisdictions have revised their CTR ordinances and published new CTR goals for employers.
The law requires major employers to develop and implement an employee commute program to reduce the number and length of drive-alone commute trips made to the worksite. Local jurisdictions (cities and counties) implemented ordinances to define how the law would apply to worksites in their area. Local jurisdictions are required to provide training and technical assistance for employers.
The CTR program benefits our state’s transportation system, economy, CTR participants and other drivers on the road.
Between 2007 and 2016:
- Employees at 955 CTR-affected worksites increased their non-drive-alone trip rate from 34.3% to 39.1%, representing a 4.8% increase from the original rate. They left about 22,400 cars home at work every day, and commuted by other means such as bus, vanpool, train, walking, biking or teleworking, resulting in less traffic congestion.
- The average vehicle miles traveled per surveyed employee declined by 7.4%. The overall miles decreased by about 79 million miles annually. This results in a reduction of 3.7 million gallons of fuel, saving commuters almost $10 million in fuel expenditures. This translates into an annual greenhouse gas emission reduction of 33,500 metric tons, the equivalent of 180 rail cars of coal or the same amount of carbon sequestered annually by about 31,500 acres of forest: enough trees to cover almost 60% of Seattle.
Source: 2017 CTR Report To the Washington State Legislature.
CTR-affected worksites must conduct a measure of employee commute behavior every two years to determine progress toward CTR goals. They are also required to conduct a baseline measure of employee commutes within 90 days of becoming affected by the CTR Law. The primary measurement tool is the state-provided CTR Employee Survey Questionnaire; it is available in two formats:
The survey measures employee commute behavior in two ways: Vehicle Miles Traveled per employee (VMT) and Non Drive Alone Trips (NDAT) for the employee population surveyed. In addition, the survey provides data on employee preferences for incentives and commute change, home zip codes and is useful in identifying areas for program improvement.
Training is offered regularly for the state provided survey process. Employers are also allowed to use pre-approved equivalent data instead of the survey.
The State Guide to Employee Surveys can provide answers to most technical survey questions. Highlights listed below:
Develop an employee transportation program
Most King County jurisdictions require, at a minimum, that you distribute information on your CTR Program to all employees annually and that you include information on your employee transportation program in your new hire onboarding process. The City of Seattle's CTR Ordinance requires distribution of the CTR program summary to all employees at least twice a year and to new employees at their time of hire.
CTR affected worksites are required to include a copy of their current CTR program summary when submitting their program report. The summary should describe your commuter program and resources; the summary typically includes: ETC name and contact information, resources for commuting options and company policies that influence commute choice.
Need a program summary? Here's how to get started!
Use one of our free CTR program summary templates to customize and produce your own brochure:
The employer program report provides you with a way to report on the strategies and program elements your company uses to promote commute alternatives to employees. Once submitted to your jurisdiction, the program report is reviewed for its completeness, its inclusion of mandatory program elements and the likelihood it will result in trip reduction.
The CTR law requires employers to complete an initial employer program report and submit it to the local jurisdiction for review. Many jurisdictions use a condensed version of the report for subsequent program updates.
Upon completion of your baseline survey, your survey results and a notification to complete your initial program report will be sent to you. You will have 90 days to complete the initial program report. Sites are also required to submit a CTR program summary piece with their program report.