Research Portal

February 6, 2023

UW Urban Design and Planning lead study on post-pandemic commuting in downtown Seattle

The COVID-19 pandemic changed how people connected to work. Some were able to telework, others had to be at a jobsite. While remote and hybrid work have emerged as common practice, it’s unclear what these trends mean for downtown Seattle commuting. To help businesses and transportation agencies understand the “new normal,” academic expertise from Urban Design and Planning were tapped to develop and lead a study that gains better insights.

Launched by the Mobility Innovation Center, in partnership with Commute Seattle, a UW Urban Design and Planning team consisting of Ph.D. Candidate Lamis Abu Ashour, Professors Qing Shen and Emeritus Professor Anne Vernez Moudon led efforts to redesign the aging mode-split survey with one that better captures insights into trip choice and motivators, as well as origin and destination data. As a result of this collaboration, transportation planners have a clearer picture of travel trends by different demographic groups, employment type, and even housing information. Their report will be released by early spring and available on the Mobility Innovation Center’s webpage.

Over 74,000 respondents completed the survey and it has gained national attention, featuring in the Association for Commuter Transportation’s TDM Forum in Atlanta last fall! Cities such as Durham, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C. have expressed interest in using the redeveloped survey tool.

In addition to this successful academic approach that addressed real-world problems, the data gathered will be used for further research, including the dissertation developed by Lamis.