5 Ideas for Getting Cars Off the Road in Seattle

The Seattle Department of Transportation is searching for ways to remove 3,000 cars from the roads every day.

2 minute read

July 6, 2018, 7:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Dan Lewis / Shutterstock

The number of solo car commuters dropped by 4,500 a day in Seattle between 2010 and 2017—a laudable accomplishment and the envy of many a gridlocked city. But the Seattle Department of Transportation has set a goal to remove an additional 3,000 cars from the roads, and a few upcoming construction projects have added some pressure to the timeline on that goal.

Josh Cohen reports that the Seattle Department of Transportation launched a microtransit pilot project earlier this year, but the City Council quickly shot the project down (it's not the only microtransit experiment in the country to fall short). Still, the city is looking for solutions, according to Cohen:

But the traffic problem is growing and the city needs a solution, even if it’s not going to be with private transit experiments. One idea – supported by advocates, bus drivers and some councilmembers – is to invest deeply to improve the bus system we already have. Mayor Jenny Durkan has floated a tax on private vehicles to discourage driving downtown. Seattle’s eastside neighbors think self-driving vehicles could solve their problems. Bike advocates remind us that bikes take up far less space than cars and could help, if only we make downtown a safe place to ride.

Throughout the remainder of the article, Cohen takes a closer look at these ideas, sifting through pros and cons and the current political and economic viability of each.

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