Continuing trends from 2021, downtown saw steady growth in transit ridership in 2022. The opening of light rail to Seattle’s University District, Roosevelt and Northgate — along with major events in downtown — pushed Sound Transit’s Link Light Rail to record ridership numbers. While transit ridership overall was still 62% of what it was in 2019, traffic has returned to pre-pandemic levels.
With e-bike sales surging, downtown workers and residents took advantage of new bike paths along the waterfront, on Fourth Avenue and between Climate Pledge Arena and other parts of downtown. The Washington State Department of Transportation welcomed ferry riders to its new gleaming Colman Dock terminal in 2022, with additional expansions to open in the first half of 2023.
In 2022, small businesses’ demand for transit passes surged. DSA affiliate Commute Seattle saw sales to small retail businesses jump to 57% from just 34% in 2021.
Looking ahead, investments in Pike and Pine streets and Pioneer Square’s Main and Washington streets will create a first-class experience for people walking and rolling downtown. In 2023, Sound Transit’s Board will determine the location of six new light rail stations downtown, along with the future West Seattle to Ballard line. In 2024, light rail extensions will open to Lynwood and the year after to Bellevue.
- Light Rail Ridership Record: Sound Transit’s Link Light Rail hit an all-time record with 2,370,000 riders in the month of October 2022, eclipsing 2019 numbers.
- Mode Split: Commute Seattle’s 2022 Mode Split survey found the share of workers that were remote was steady at 46% of respondents. Driving alone and taking public transit each representing about a quarter of respondents.
- Slow and Steady: Transit ridership is 62% of 2019 numbers.
- The In-person Work Week: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday had much higher rates of people working downtown than Monday and Friday.
- Remote Worker Age Demographics: According to a recent Commute Seattle survey, non-remote workers tended to be younger than those working remotely.
DSA’s Third Avenue Vision
In September 2022, a resolution endorsing the Downtown Seattle Association’s vision of a Third Avenue with more space for pedestrians and greater investments in transit stops was supported unanimously by the Seattle City Council.
Named the country’s outstanding transportation-management association in 2022, DSA affiliate Commute Seattle helps make it easy to walk, bike, ride and roll for the 300,000 people who work in downtown and the more than 104,000 who call it home. Commute Seattle’s staff works directly with employers and properties to make downtown easy to reach from across the region, helping with recruitment and retention of top talent. Visit commuteseattle.com to set up a free consultation.
2022 Seattle Commute Survey
In partnership with the Mobility Innovation Center at the University of Washington, Commute Seattle designed a new survey to understand how people are getting around post-pandemic. More than 75,000 people took the survey, providing new insights into their demographics, where they live and what motivates their commuting behavior. More data will be available in late March 2023.