Downtown Transportation Advantages Spur Company Relocations

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Seattle’s natural beauty, highly skilled workforce and innovative culture continues to draw major companies seeking to relocate or expand. And workers don’t want to be just anywhere in Seattle. Downtown is the destination. Enviable cultural amenities, great restaurants, retail and nightlife — as well as accessible transportation options — are powerful draws for new firms and their employees.

Shifting to urban offices is especially effective for reducing car commutes as more workers look to walk and utilize public transportation. In the last few years, downtown added tens of thousands of jobs while only experiencing a 3 percent increase in car commutes.

After radio frequency ID maker Impinj moved downtown two years ago, the share of their employees driving to work alone fell from 50 percent to 20 percent.

Delta Dental of Washington left Northgate for downtown last summer and reduced their employee drive-alone rate from 73 percent to 15 percent.

And at Weyerhaeuser, drive-alone commutes fell from 82 percent to just nine percent following the company’s relocation from Federal Way to downtown’s Pioneer Square neighborhood.

Together with area employers, local government and other nonprofits, DSA is pursuing a multi-pronged strategy to expand transit, lower drive-alone rates and boost alternate modes of travel. Through our sister organization Commute Seattle, we’re using education and advocacy to help companies reduce  the number of workers who need a car to get to the office.

Commute Seattle offers transportation fairs and lunchtime seminars to provide employees with new tools and technologies. Educational events connect businesses and property managers to the latest commuter information.

It’s an approach that’s paying big dividends. Around the country last year, transit use in major cities was flat or fell. But in Seattle our ridership spiked 4.1 percent. We added more total riders than Houston, Milwaukee and Detroit combined.

In addition to helping employers understand the value of downtown’s commute options, we work hard to pass legislation that invests in future-focused transportation infrastructure. By leveraging public and private resources, DSA is helping bring more skilled workers, congestion relief and economic prosperity to the center city.

For information about services offered by Commute Seattle, contact