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Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) Program

The Commute Trip Reduction began in 1991, when it was added to the Washington Clean Air Act. The law directs local jurisdictions to work with major employers to reduce the impacts of employee commuting. The goals of the program are to improve air quality, reduce traffic congestion and reduce gas usage. From the beginning, the CTR law called for state government (including higher education) to take a leadership role in the program.

Guidance for state agencies

Legislation in 2009 recognized the state's crucial leadership role in establishing and implementing effective commute trip reduction programs and directed that all state worksites in the urban growth areas of Olympia, Lacey, and Tumwater be included in a Joint Comprehensive CTR Plan, which was updated by the CTR Advisory Group in 2023.

The Commute Trip Reduction Program is managed by the Public Transportation Division within the Washington State Department of Transportation. Visit WSDOT Commute Trip Reduction Program for details about the program not covered on this site.  

What is Commute Trip Reduction (CTR)?

CTR is the term used for programs designed to reduce the drive-alone rates of people traveling to and from work.

Who must have a CTR Program?

All state government worksites in Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater are required to participate in CTR. The Joint Comprehensive Commute Trip Reduction Plan suggests that these agencies include all of their statewide worksites and employees in their CTR plans. Outside of Thurston County, both public and private employers are required to create a commute trip reduction plan for worksites with more than 100 employees, if the worksite is located in an affected urban growth area.

What impact does CTR have on Human Resources?

CTR programs may offer information, promotional prizes, incentives, subsidies, preferential parking and other rewards to state employees for using commute alternatives to driving alone. If offered, these may act as a benefit that saves employees money on expenses related to commuting—bus fares, vanpool vouchers, bike maintenance and others. In addition, they:

  • Support employee and agency efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Offer a unique benefit to prospective employees. 
  • Encourage employee wellness through walking and biking commute alternatives.

State agency CTR program requirements

According to the Joint Comprehensive CTR plan to meet requirements, state agencies must:

  • Designate an employee transportation coordinator (ETC) & attend networking and training sessions
  • Implement measures to reduce drive-alone commutes
  • Communicate program options to employees
  • Promote ride-matching opportunities and assistance
  • Commit towards reaching CTR program goals
  • Collaborate with nearby state worksites
  • Survey Employees and submit annual program reports
  • Report on the agency's CTR program to top management annually

2023-2027 Commute Trip Reduction Goals

State agencies can adopt WSDOT's statewide drive-alone rate performance goal for 2023-2027; the goal is a drive-alone rate of 60%. The requirements begin July 1, 2023, and extend until June 30, 2027. A state agency may develop a unique drie-alone rate goal. If pursuing a unique drive-alone rate goal, the Interagency CTR Board must review and approve the goal. 


Be sure to review your applicable collective bargaining agreements and contact your labor partners if you are considering making any changes to your existing program.

 State commute trip reduction law 

Last updated
Tuesday, May 30, 2023
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