Seattle Beats Atlanta in Cars Per Household


People aren't moving up here with all of their $3k rent/who knows how much down payment money to sell their cars and use our kind-of-works mass transit. People from LA don't even understand using sidewalks beyond getting from parking lots to where you meant to end up.
This car ownership rate is more a reflection of personal financial and logistical choices than city design. People FEEL like it's worth the money it costs to own an AWD car 365 days a year for the < 10 times a year they go into the mountains and "require" AWD. Or, they have that AWD car, and another, separate "city" car which might be smaller but probably isn't. Americans feel this is worth the money. That the logistics of their lives demand the expenditure of all those payments and insurance and gas and maintenance. For most, it's an illusion. But they're obsessed by it.
This is a measure of wealth and access, not a preference or need for cars. There are a lot of poor people in ATL - a lot more than in the PNW.
@2 and @3, i agree with your point. i completely missed it but clearly this is a part of the picture. seattle is, yes, richer, but the fact remains: we have more cars.
Expounding on @2 point and to answer Charles point/rhetorical question, I notice that many Seattle area household couples not only have two commuter cars, but also have the pickup truck with canopies/covers or an suv for camping/hiking/kayaking or for attaching a boat. It's not just the disposable income factor and the need in many cases to get to areas for work that are devoid of efficient public transportation, but the love of the outdoor activity that is a significant dynamic of much of the local bourgeois that differentiates us from ATL.
A year in Copenhagen sounds nice. Might try to stay on, eh?
@5 I agree. Which is why we should build more mass transit to outdoor and out of town activities.
@2: stop talking shit about me. i "need" my SUV, and it's a paid-off, 20 year-old POS.
@7.5 - I don't know why someone hasn't already started an "Outdoor Activities" Vehicle Share program, where you can rent AWD or camping or boat-pulling vehicles for sensible prices for the weekend. ZipCar (fka FlexCar), Car2go, regular car rentals... none of these are useful or reasonably-priced options for going camping for a night or two.
@9 That's a great idea. I think it would have to be more of a person2person company to work. Like CarBNB, if that makes sense.
Seattle has been a car town for decades and will be for many more decades.

Ask any parent with kids who play soccer, swim team etc, go to schools in a different neighborhood. The driving can be endless.

Just soccer alone. Tons of single adults play rec soccer and the field assignments are scattered across an enormous area.

If we had built real transit in the 70s , things might be different. But we didn't. Who built our train system? Atlanta.
Poor transit is the biggest reason. Not that we are terrible, just not very good. Our buses are better than average (but that just shows how bad it is for most cities). Our rail is full of flaws. It doesn't go where it should go, nor does it have enough stops. The one section that really makes sense (UW to downtown) has only one stop. One! It is really hard to find any metro anywhere where they manage to put only one stop in the most important, most densely populated and most popular section. In contrast, Forward Thrust (proposed a long time ago, when the city was much smaller) had three stops between there.

This will likely continue, unless so called urbanists wake up, and realize that where you put a subway is just as important as building it in the first place. Don't send half empty trains out to distant, sprawling suburbs (or even relatively close ones). Build urban lines, with good bus integration. Vancouver (our closest neighboring big city) is a great example of how to build a relatively small, cheap system that manages to do wonders for transit mobility. Even in the suburbs, where folks probably do own cars, they don't use them nearly as often as we do. Vancouver has roughly three times the transit ridership per capita that we do, and most of that is on buses.
Statistics can prove anything you want, 95% of statisticians have agreed with this statement (no source).

Who cares about car ownership stats. If you own a car and use transit when it works, then thank you! It isn't easy for most folks to relocate to a home near their work.

King County Metro ridership is 395,000 boardings per day and Sound Transit is over 150,000, plus Pierce County Transit, Washington State Ferries walk on boardings, Community Transit and Everett Transit. Believe it or not, we have one of the most heavily used bus systems in the country. Light rail usage will gain exponentially as the system grows, we have already witnessed this with the opening of the Capital Hill and UW stations.

It's easy to complain about transit when someone else is responsible for coordinating planning, funding, expansion. Our geography, protection of our environment, and strong community interests make it challenging. People complain because they are stuck in gridlock, yet most folks don't want to see (including me) more pavement for cars.
@14 -- Believe it or not, we have one of the most heavily used bus systems in the country.

I agree, and it is better than average. It is bogged down by increasingly bad traffic, though, in the city (where transit matter most).

Light rail usage will gain exponentially as the system grows, we have already witnessed this with the opening of the Capitol Hill and UW stations.

That section is rare. There are very few corridors that hold as much potential for light rail as that piece. For Sound Transit, it is a once in a system development. A Metro 8 subway would be similar. Ballard to UW would also lead to a huge increase in transit mobility (but more because of bus integration). But neither are on the table, and it will be a very long time before we build either one (ST4? ST5?).

It is crazy to think that some of the pieces (e. g. Lynnwood to Northgate) will come even close to improving transit the way that U-Link has. It is pretty obvious when you look at a census map (like this one). The most densely populated areas are right within this section. You also have the biggest downtown as well as the biggest university (which has a sizeable and growing office sector). You really can't miss with this, even if you make plenty of mistakes.

They did, of course. They left out the First Hill station, and the bus integration is terrible. The result is that while it works great for areas close to the station, it does nothing for areas not that far away -- areas that are very populous by Seattle standards.

The system will improve, of course. Adding the station in the U-District will be huge, and extending to Northgate and the east side will be great. Meanwhile, Seattle itself is doing some very good work with what little money it has to improve the bus service.

But without spending money on the right projects, it is bound to level off. In many cases, you just can't "get there from here" when it comes to transit, even if ST3 is built and even for the areas it purports to serve.
@15 -- Boston's mass transit (arguably the best in the country) carries only 8% of the trips

Citation please (seriously -- I'm curious how you got that number). Typically they cover mode share for commuting, which often decreases automobile numbers. About 35% of the people in Boston take public transport to work, and about 45% take a private car (…).