Vol. 1, No. 3  November 2010
In this issue:
Focus of the Monthtransportation costs and ways to reduce them
Options: more service on route 7, new sidewalks 
Tools: calculate your transportation costs, compare costs by location
Inspiration: blogs on trying a car-free lifestyle, video: family struggles with rising car costs
Upcoming: holiday safety for walkers

ThemeMonthFocus of the Month: Transportation Costs

Transportation is often a big part of a household budget, but it doesn't have to be.

Transportation costs were about 20% of the average American household budget in 2001, second only to housing costs and greater than costs for food or for health care.  Most of today's household transportation costs are to buy, use and maintain cars.


The cost of owning a car

The American Automobile Association (AAA) calculates that a car costs $8,500 per year.  This is for the average new car driven 15,000 miles per year.   Here's some food for thought: if you didn't own that car and you invested half of the $8,500, you would have half a million dollars in 24 years and a million dollars in 30 years.


Considering selling a car?  

Seattle's One Less Car Challenge could seal the deal with its hundreds of dollars of incentives.   You'll save money, reduce stress and get more exercise.  If you donate the car, you may receive a tax deduction.


Walking, biking and riding can save money.

Leaving the car at home saves on wear and tear, gas and parking. Biking and walking are very low cost.  With carpooling the math is simple: two people carpooling cut the cost of their car trip in half.

Choosing to commute by transit can also save you thousands of dollars per year.  Many employers provide a free or subsidized transit pass.  If your company does not provide this benefit, suggest they look into it. It could provide them a tax break. Commute Seattle helps downtown Seattle businesses set up such programs and the Duwamish TMA provides similar services for its area. 

OptionsHeaderOptions to Get Around

Walking gets easier in Lake City and North Capitol Hill.

SDOT recently extended the sidewalk on Lake City Way NE and NE 92nd Street and installed curb ramps.  In North Capitol Hill a curb bulb was built on Lakeview Boulevard at Harvard Avenue E. This makes the street crossing shorter for walkers and slows down vehicles turning onto Harvard Avenue E.  Both projects were requested by the neighborhoods.


More bus service on route 7 

Buses now arrive every ten to fifteen minutes, seven days per week, eighteen hours per day.  That's as often as light rail.  Route 7 serves downtown, Chinatown / International District and Southeast Seattle to Rainier Beach along Rainier Avenue S.

ToolsTools about Transportation Costs

Compare the cost of your travel options.

         Car, carpool and vanpool:  This commute cost calculator quickly reveals what it costs you to drive to work and what you would save by carpooling or vanpooling.

         Transit: A one-zone Puget Pass costs $81 per month and a two-zone Puget Pass is $99 per month.

         Bike: Calculate how much you can save with bike commuting by clicking here. 

         Walk: Walking is free and has many other benefits that may help your personal finances.


Input your personal savings in commute costs and see how they would grow if you invest them by clicking here. (This does not include increases from inflation.)      


Consider your transportation costs when deciding where to live.

A home further away from shops and transit lines can mean a cheaper rent or mortgage, but it often means fewer options to get around, higher car costs and more time behind the wheel.

         Find homes for sale near transit with Estately and you could lower your transportation costs.    

         The commute report from walkscore.com estimates the transportation costs in a neighborhood based on actual car ownership and transportation options in each area.  (Click on the "Your Commute" tab after you enter an address.) 


Time is money. Consider the value of your time while traveling.

Walkscore's commute report compares your commute times by foot, bike, transit or car. How long your trip takes is an important factor in deciding how to travel.  However, the quality of your time during your trip is becoming increasingly important to people.  Even if your trip takes longer by bike or bus, you could spend that time on a bike exercising or on a bus reading, making phone calls, texting or napping.


InspirationInspiration to Walk, Bike and Ride

Stories about walking, biking and riding during the Low Car Diet

Hear from people who recently went car free for a month in Zipcar's Low Car Diet. Two Seattleites share their personal insights and experiences via their blogs. (Click here and here.) Over 250 people in twelve cities participated.  For bios, quotes and videos about the Low Car Diet, click here.   


PBS video explores the high cost of car dependence.

This 9-minute video briefly describes the history of sprawl and its high transportation costs. Hear one family's challenges to hold onto the American Dream in a car-dependent suburb as the cost of driving increases.


Center City Holiday Pedestrian Safety Campaign  

Throughout the holidays, the City of Seattle asks you to please be aware. Whether driving or walking, take it slow and watch out for others. Together, we can all make this a safe holiday season.  The campaign launches in late November.  We'll see you in the crosswalk.

Walk Bike Rider Updates

Newsletter marks one year.

November is our 12th month of providing this newsletter.  We appreciate your suggestions on topics and sharing your stories.  Please continue to share your feedback at waytogo@seattle.gov or 206-615-1550.


Current and past newsletters are on our newsletter web page, which serves as a growing reference of tips, tools and inspiration to walk, bike and ride. Each month we focus on a different topic.


Subscribe to the newsletter 

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Dave Allen
Way to Go, Seattle! Team

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