How do people get around the region?

Walk, drive alone, or take transit? People have distinct reasons for choosing their modes

We may drive to work by ourselves, but we’re likely to have a companion with us when running errands or shopping.

That’s one of the takeaways from the 2017 Puget Sound Travel Survey, which included questions about mode choice, demographics, and ride-hailing services.

Most people in the travel survey said they drive alone to work (63%) but use carpool more often for school or running errands.

School was the main reason folks gave for taking transit (with “school” in our survey including all ages and education levels). When they walked, it was usually for recreation or getting a meal.

The survey revealed differing travel habits by income level. People in households earning over $100,000 were the most likely to carpool—and the least likely to drive alone.

On the other hand, households making less than $25,000 were three times as likely to take transit on each trip, and twice as likely to walk as those in the $25,000-$100,000 bracket.

It’s worth noting that lower-income households in our survey tended to be smaller in size, younger and less likely to own cars (in other words, probably singles instead of families with kids)

The household survey allowed us to drill deeper into the use of ride-hailing services like Lyft and Uber.

Interestingly, people who had recently used these services were about as likely to be in the lowest income bracket as the highest: 17% of households under $25,000 had summoned a car in the last 30 days, versus 16% of households over $100,000.

Overall, households over $100K were the biggest users of these services, with 29% saying they had booked a car.

The Puget Sound Regional Council conducts a regional travel survey every two years to learn more about how and where people travel in the region.

We’ll be launching the 2019 travel survey this month. You might be one of thousands of residents in region who will receive invitations to participate this spring.