Frequently Asked Questions
CTR By the Numbers
- CTR Overview
- What is CTR doing for us?
- CTR reduces greenhouse gas emissions
- How does CTR work?
- What is WSDOTs role?
- What is the role of the CTR Board?
- Where can I find more information?
- Which employers are affected by the state's CTR Law?
- What are employers are required to do under the CTR Law?
- What can employers do to encourage employees to use commute alternatives?
- Employer liability for employee participation in Commute Trip Reduction - See RCW51.08.013
- What if an employer doesn't comply with its local CTR ordinance?
- Have any other states passed a CTR-type law?
- What is the major difference between Washington's regulations and those of other states?
The Washington State Legislature passed the Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) Law in 1991 to address traffic congestion, air pollution and petroleum fuel consumption.
In 2006 legislators passed the CTR Efficiency Act, requiring local governments in urban area with traffic congestion to develop programs that reduce drive-alone trips and vehicle miles traveled per capita.
For two decades, CTR has proven an effective tool for easing congestion and operating our transportation system efficiently. By encouraging people to ride the bus, vanpool, carpool, walk, bike, work from home or compress their work week; CTR makes transportation better for the entire state.
By 2009 three years after the programs started, people at CTR worksites across the state had reduced their weekday morning trips by about 30,000. CTR cut traffic delays by 8 percent in the Central Puget Sound Region, and rush-hour commuters saved about $59 each that year in fuel and time.
Vehicle emissions account for nearly half the harmful greenhouse gas released in our state. By driving 154 million fewer miles since 2007, CTR participants have prevented about 69,000 metric tons of GHG from entering the atmosphere each year. That's about the weight of eight Space Needles.
CTR participants also conserved about 3 million gallons of gasoline in the 2009-2010 biennium, which saved them togehter about $30 million each month.
State and local governments, transit agencies, regional transportation planning organizations and employers collaborate to make CTR programs convenient, efficient and rewarding. These partnerships develop meaningful transportation solutions that support local and state goals and leverage the state's investment. For every taxpayer dollar that goes into the program, businesses invest $18.
CTR targets workplaces with 100 or more full-time employees in the most congested areas of the state. Employers develop and manage their own programs based on locally adopted goals for reducing vehicle trips and miles traveled.
More than 1,050 worksites and 530,000 commuters statewide participate in the CTR program. Employers regularly report on their programs, and jurisdictions report on progress toward meeting drive-alone and VMT reduction targets, as well as their use of state CTR funds.
WSDOT provides technical assistance to jurisdictions and employers to get their programs up and running. WSDOT maintains 17 years of CTR data that jurisdictions and other agencies use for planning. WSDOT also staffs the CTR Board.
The governor-appointed CTR Board directs overall policy and funding for the program and reports to the Legislature every two years on how the program is working. The board represents diverse perspectives of citizens, businesses, state agencies, transit agencies and jurisdictions around the state.
The program is described in detail in the CTR Board 2011 Report to the Legislature.
Which employers are affected by the state's CTR law?
The CTR law applies to both public and private employers that have 100 or more employees who work at a single worksite, and who begin work between 6 and 9 a.m. on two or more weekdays for at least 12 continuous months. This applies only to worksites in counties with 150,000 or more residents (currently Clark, King, Kitsap, Pierce, Snohomish, Spokane, Thurston, Whatcom and Yakima). The law also includes local jurisdictions (i.e., cities) where an affected employer is located, as well as all state agencies, even if they have fewer than 100 affected employees.
- Designating an employee transportation coordinator (ETC)
- Displaying the ETC's name and contact information where employees are likely to see it
- Distributing information to employees about commute alternatives to driving alone
- Implementing a set of measures geared toward achieving the CTR goals
- Surveying employees about their commuting habits every two years
- Reporting annually about progress toward meeting CTR goals
- Meeting additional local requirements
What can employers do to encourage employees to use commute alternatives?
Under the CTR law, an employer must implement at least two measures to reduce commute trips to the worksite. However, ETC's are only limited by their imagination. Some of the more popular program elements include:
- Encouraging ridesharing by matching employees for carpools and vanpools
- Encouraging bus ridership by subsidizing bus passes or vanpool fares
- Allowing employees to work from home one or two days per week
- Implementing parking management programs that minimize drivealone commuting by charging employees for parking or designating preferred parking for carpools and vanpools
- Installing showers, lockers and bicycle racks for bikers and walkers
- Offering flexible work schedules that allow people to alter their start and quit times in order to take advantage of alternative commute options
What if an employer doesn't comply with its local CTR ordinance?
The CTR goals are just that, goals. As long as the employer is making a good faith effort to implement its CTR program, it cannot be penalized for failure to meet the CTR goals. Those employers that don't meet the minimum requirements of the law will be asked by their city or county to do certain things to come into compliance.
The city or county is there to work with employers to create successful programs, not to penalize those that don't succeed. However, civil penalties may be assessed against employers that fail to meet either the SOV or VMT goals, that do not make a good faith effort to comply with the law, and that fail to work collaboratively with their local jurisdiction.
Since 1992, civil penalties have only been assessed against two employesr in Washington State (in this case $100 per day).
Have any other states passed a CTR-type law?
California, Arizona, Wisconsin, Texas, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Illinois all have CTR-type laws in place for regions within their states.
What is the major difference between Washington's regulations and those of other states?
Overall, Washington's regulations, and specifically the City of Seattle's, emphasize public/private cooperation. By contrast, in Southern California affected employers felt that change was the issue, not choice, and penalties became more important than designing successful commute trip reduction programs.
Our law allows employers to choose from a menu of incentives they think will work for their location and employees. The local jurisdictions are there to help employers make these decisions by offering training, workshops and by proving materials designed to support employers' efforts.
For more information please contact the Spokane County Commute Trip Reduction Office.