CTR Requirements

The Commute Trip Reduction Law is a Washington State law, first passed in 1991. As a CTR-affected jurisdiction, the City of Seattle has adopted a CTR program to reduce single-vehicle travel to lighten traffic, decrease pollution, and encourage commute alternatives like transit, walking, bicycling, and adopting alternative work schedules. 

An employer with 100 or more employees who report to work at a single site between 6 and 9 a.m. is subject to the law and must:

  • Appoint and maintain an individual to act as an Employee Transportation Coordinator (ETC) to be the primary contact between the employer and the City and to administer and promote the employer's CTR program. The contact information of the ETC must be prominently displayed at each worksite.
  • Submit a program report to the City for review and approval once every two years.
  • Exercise a good faith effort by collaborating with the City in its administration and implementation of the law.
  • Conduct a commuter survey once every two years to measure employees' drive alone rates.

We have drive alone rate goals for all areas of Seattle. Find out what goal you are working toward. Employer drive alone rates are calculated by taking the total number of drive-alone trips and dividing them by the total trips made to their location.

CTR employers report progress to the City annually. Employers file program element reports on even years and conduct an employee commute habit survey on odd years.

What is a regular employer program report?

Employers are required to submit a regular CTR program report to the City of Seattle that describes the actions is has taken during the preceding year and the actions it will take in the coming year. The City of Seattle requires employers to submit a program report biennially, usually on even-numbered years. The report format can be completed online.

What is an employee commute survey?

Employers are required to conduct a baseline measure of employee commute behavior, via the state-provided Employee Questionnaire, within 90 days of becoming a CTR-affected employer. In addition, employers must measure employee commute behavior every two years to determine their programs towards their drive-alone reduction goals. This survey typically occurs in odd-numbered years.

The state-provided Employee Questionnaire is available in paper or online format. The ETC distributes and collects the surveys and the state processes them. A 50% response rate is required but a 70% response rate is desired. In lieu of the survey, certain employers can provide equivalent data from other records or surveys, but this must be pre-approved by WSDOT.

What if an employer does not meet the basic requirements?

If an employer does not appoint an ETC, distribute information, implement a program or survey employees as required, then the City of Seattle can levy a civil penalty. Penalties for sites that are considered out of compliance are $250 per day. However, this is a rare occurrence as compliance is not a challenge for most worksites.

An affected employer is required to include certain minimum elements in its employee transportation program that demonstrate an effort to support non-drive alone trips.  These include:

  • Distribution of CTR Program information to employees at least twice a year and to each new employee when the new hire begins employment.
  • Program Elements - An employer's program must contain at least two of the following:
    • Bicycle parking racks and/or lockers, changing areas, and showers for employees who walk or bicycle to work
    • Ride-matching services to facilitate employee carpooling and vanpooling
    • Subsidies for public transit fares
    • Vanpool vehicles
    • Subsidies for carpool and vanpool participation
    • Use of employer-owned vehicles for carpool and/or vanpool commute trips
    • Alternative work schedules, such as a compressed workweek, that reduce the number of commute trips between 6:00 and 9:00 a.m. by enabling a full-time employee to eliminate at least one (1) workday every two (2) weeks
    • Flexible work schedules that allow employees to adjust their arrival and departure times in order to accommodate transit, car-pool and van-pool schedules
    • Preferential parking for high-occupancy vehicles
    • Free or reduced parking charges for high-occupancy vehicles
    • Custom bus service to the work site
    • Special loading and unloading facilities for transit, carpool and/or vanpool users
    • Rewards and incentives for employees who do not use parking facilities
    • Institute or increase parking charges for single occupant vehicle commutes
    • Telecommute arrangements so employees can eliminate a commute trip by working from home or at a work center closer to home
    • A shuttle or circulator service between the worksite and nearby park-and-ride facilities or transit centers
    • Attend at least four meetings of a local transportation management association, transportation management organization, or employer transportation network group each year
    • Other programs or facilities that have demonstrated effectiveness at reducing vehicle miles traveled or drive-alone commutes

The Employee Transportation Coordinator (ETC) is the spokesperson, public relations representative and administrator of the CTR program.

The ETC serves two key functions. They are the point of contact between:

  • The employer and its workforce to implement, promote, and administer the organization's CTR program.
  • The employer and the local jurisdiction to track the employer's progress in meeting CTR requirements

Examples of tasks an ETC will perform:

  • Meet with employees to talk about the benefits of carpooling, vanpooling, bicycling or riding transit
  • Assist employees with ride matching to form carpools or vanpools
  • Promote the worksite CTR program to employees by producing and distributing information pieces
  • Coordinate the distribution and collection of biennial CTR surveys to all employees
  • Track employees' participation in specific program elements
  • Complete the CTR Report & Program Description (annual report)
  • Evaluate the CTR program and make enhancements when necessary
  • Brief management on the CTR program's progress

Qualities of a successful ETC:

  • A high level of interest in CTR, the ability to work with other employees, and manage the elements of a worksite CTR program
  • Interest in commute alternatives and environmental sustainability
  • Someone who already commutes by bicycle, carpool, vanpool, walking or transit
  • Access to management and other employees
  • Excellent communications skills
  • Flexibility in work responsibilities and schedule to implement and promote a worksite CTR program