PSRC conducting household travel survey

PSRC is conducting a regional travel study to better understand the transportation needs and preferences of the region’s residents.

Thousands of residents in the area will receive invitations to participate in this important transportation study sometime between March and June 2017.

Translation services are available. If you received the household transportation survey in the mail and need assistance to take it in your language, please contact us at 206-587-4819.

“The region has seen tremendous population and job growth in recent years, along with completion of new transportation infrastructure,” said Josh Brown, PSRC’s Executive Director. “This survey will provide an up-to-date view of how residents get around and help decision makers continue to plan improvements in the transportation system.”

Demand for travel in the Puget Sound region is expected to increase by 25% between now and the year 2040. Participation in the study can help answer questions about how the region can maintain and improve mobility, accessibility, and connectivity for residents as population grows and travel patterns evolve. The information collected will be vital for planning and prioritizing improvements for the Puget Sound region’s transportation system.

The study will help planners understand the travel behavior of real households, such as the trips people make to work, school, or shopping centers, to help decision makers prioritize transportation projects.

PSRC conducted similar studies in 2014 and 2015, so the 2017 study will provide up-to-date information and will also help planners understand changing needs over time.  Redmond and Seattle are sponsoring extra data collection in their cities.

Resource Systems Group, Inc. (RSG) and ETC Institute, independent research firms, are administering the survey on behalf of PSRC. A random sample of the region’s households will be invited by first-class mail to participate in the survey and will have the option of completing the survey online or by telephone. A small number of households will also have the option to participate using their smartphones.

The survey will involve questions about general household information as well as travel details for a given weekday. All individual and household information collected in this study will remain strictly confidential. Contact information will be kept separate from the responses and destroyed after the study is over. The aggregated data will be used for analysis and modeling purposes.

For more information on the Puget Sound Regional Travel Study:

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New driver registrations are still growing fast

The number of people from out of state being issued drivers licenses is growing in all four counties of the region compared to the previous year.

Where are these new drivers coming from? The top U.S. states are California, Texas, Oregon, Florida and Arizona, though there are some variations among which county they move to.

In King County, 11 percent of the driver registrations were from outside the U.S. states. Kitsap had the lowest rate at 2 percent. Regionwide, it was 8 percent.

Licenses issued to drivers outside the U.S. states saw a sharp decrease in 2002, but are now more than double what they were in 2002, and the highest they’ve been since 2001.

For King County, India is the biggest source of new driver registrations from outside the U.S. states. But in the region’s other counties, the top places outside the 50 U.S. states are Guam (Kitsap), American Samoa (Pierce), and Canada (Snohomish).


Region adds nearly 60,000 jobs in 2016

The central Puget Sound economy continues to grow at a fast pace. In 2016, the four-county region added 59,400 jobs — the seventh consecutive year of job growth.


During the last five years, job growth has been especially robust. The region added more jobs than during any five-year period since the early 1990s.

The region gained 270,900 jobs between 2011 and 2016, compared to loss of 21,700 jobs in the previous five-year period from 2006 to 2011.

All four central Puget Sound counties — King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap — gained new jobs, but most growth occurred in King and Snohomish counties, at an annual growth rate of 3.25%.


Services sector has highest job growth

The services sector, which includes jobs from information technology (IT), business services, and recreation and food services, experienced its highest annual growth rate (4.06%) since 2001.



Unemployment rate lowest in last decade

Regionwide the unemployment rate dropped by 17% in 2016, to 4.3% — the lowest unemployment rate in the last decade. King, Pierce and Snohomish counties all experienced reductions in unemployment rates over the past year. Kitsap County observed an increase in the unemployment rate from 5.4% to 5.7% in 2016.

For more data on regional employment, check out our latest issue of Puget Sound Trends.


Region’s population and job forecasts will look to 2050

What will the region be like in 2050 when today’s kindergartners are 30 something?

Current forecasts through 2040 predict the region will grow to 4.9 million people, about 900,000 more than today. Total regional employment is expected to increase to over 2.9 million jobs.

PSRC’s forecasts look ahead decades to anticipate growth and change.

To help with long-range planning, PSRC is getting started on extending a key population and employment forecast another decade to 2050.

This work is needed to develop a new long-range forecast to support an update of the region’s growth plan, VISION 2040.

The forecast provides annual projections of total households, persons, jobs, and other economic and demographic variables through the year 2040, at the regional scale. It is an input into PSRC’s land use model (UrbanSim).

Current forecasts through 2040 suggest the region will grow to 4.9 million people, about 900,000 more than today. Total regional employment is expected to increase to over 2.9 million jobs.

Later this month the Executive Board will decide on approval to move ahead with the forecast.

If the Executive Board approves the contract, work will start right away, with a new forecast available in early 2018.

Growth is the story of 2016 – with more to come next year

Some of our most popular posts in 2016 focused on major growth trends: population, transit ridership, jobs and more. Looking ahead, the region is expected to keep on growing. By 2040, the population for the four counties is forecast to reach more than 4.9 million.

Here’s a look back at some of our top data stories from 2016:

Population edges over 4 million people 

Since 1960 there have been five different times when the region added over 80,000 people.

We reported that population in the central Puget Sound region reached 3,985,040 in April 2016, growing by 86,320 people in the past year. This was the biggest gain this century and the highest growth rate in 20 years. Based on the rate of population growth (about 236 people per day), the region likely surpassed 4 million people in June.

Job gains highest since 2000

The services sector added the most jobs in the last year, followed by retail and wholesale trade, transportation, & utilities.

The services sector added the most jobs in the last year, followed by retail and wholesale trade, transportation, & utilities.

The region started the year building on six years of robust job growth, adding 269,600 jobs since January 2010. That’s 150 jobs per day. The majority of the job gains occurred in King and Snohomish counties. Throughout the year, job growth continued to accelerate, with the region gaining 32,800 jobs in the first six months of 2016.

Total jobs in the region surpassed the 2 million mark and job growth is on pace to meet the region’s forecast of nearly 3 million jobs by 2040.

Transit ridership keeps growing 

Monthly boardings on the region’s transit system were up approximately 3.6% in the first seven months of 2016 and continue to outpace employment and population growth. The region’s transit boardings have grown faster than any other large metropolitan area in the United States since 2005.

More Puget Sound workers living outside the region

More than 100,000 workers commute into the region – about 5% of the entire workforce of central Puget Sound (King, Snohomish, Pierce and Kitsap counties).

On pace for another record year at Sea-Tac Airport

Over 26 million passengers passed through Sea-Tac in the first seven months of 2016 — 2.2 million more than the record-setting first seven months of 2015 (a 9.4% increase).

You can check out more regional data on our Puget Sound Trends page.  Happy New Year!

Puget Sound region meeting all federal air quality standards

Good air quality news for the region:  We’re in attainment for all pollutants regulated by the federal government, including ozone and carbon monoxide.

Washington is the second most populous state in the country (after North Carolina) currently attaining all federal air quality standards.

Washington is the second most populous state in the country (after North Carolina) currently attaining all federal air quality standards.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sets federal standards for a number of air pollutants.

If an area exceeds the standard, EPA can designate it as “nonattainment.” After a period of meeting the standard, an area can apply for attainment status, and a 20-year maintenance period begins.

After the 20-year maintenance period, metropolitan planning organizations such as PSRC are no longer required to track transportation emissions for the pollutant.

Carbon Monoxide

Improvements to vehicle technology have contributed to the dramatic decline in carbon monoxide emissions in the region.

On October 21, the region will successfully complete a 20-year maintenance period and PSRC will no longer have to track carbon monoxide in its transportation conformity modeling.


EPA revised the ozone standard to a more stringent level in 2015. The region has been monitoring levels to see if we would be out of attainment to the new standard.

So far the region is meeting the new standard, and the Department of Ecology is starting to work with the EPA to formalize our attainment status.

Other pollutants

The region continues to hold steady on other pollutants and is currently meeting all other standards.

For more detail, check out this summary of Regional Air Quality Status.



Driven by light rail, transit ridership keeps growing

Monthly boardings on the region’s transit system were up approximately 3.6% in the first seven months of 2016 and continue to outpace employment and population growth. Light rail boardings have accounted for over 10% of the overall transit boardings so far this year.

Transit ridership is up 14% from the same six month period in 2011.

Transit ridership is up 14% over the same six month period in 2011.

Almost 3.8 million more boardings took place in the first seven months of 2016 than in 2015, which is a total of 108.8 million boardings through July 2016. Transit ridership is up 14% since July of 2011. There were 13.3 million more boardings in the first seven months of 2016 compared to the first seven months of 2011.

Light rail boardings have increased faster than any other transit mode in the first seven months of 2016. This increase is driven by the opening of the new light rail stations in Capitol Hill and at the University of Washington and has resulted in an additional 3.5 million boardings in the first seven months of 2016 (a 47% increase).

Bus ridership over this time period has remained fairly consistent at approximately 95 million boardings through July 2016, still at all-time record levels for the region.

Commuter rail boardings have also continued to increase with overall boardings increasing by almost 300,000 in the first seven months of 2016 (a 13.4% increase).

Although overall ridership has increased across the region, there are noticeable differences in the change in transit ridership across agencies. Sound Transit ridership has grown the most rapidly over the last three years, driven by growth across all its modes including ST Express bus, Light Rail and Commuter Rail. King County Metro and Community Transit have also experienced noticeable increases in transit ridership over the past three years. Kitsap and Everett transit ridership have remained fairly steady since 2014 with a slight decrease over the first seven months of 2016 whereas Pierce Transit has experienced a noticeable drop in ridership since 2014.

See the full Trend, here.

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