Vanpools in the Puget Sound region


Director, Center for Transportation

October 2009

The case for expanding vanpool programs to move the most people for the least cost. This is the third report in a four-part series on vanpools in the Puget Sound region. You can find this report and the full series online at

Part I: The Vanpool Solution, A faster, cheaper and easier way to commute (video)

Part II: Introduction & Background

Part III: Analysis of vanpool performance and market potential

Part IV: Recommendations

Executive summary

As traffic congestion and the financial and environmental costs of commuting continue to rise, a once overlooked transit alternative has quietly become an effective option for many motorists: vanpools.

Sharing a commute through a vanpool:

• Reduces parking and fuel costs

• Allows access to HOV lanes

• Consumes fewer resources

• Is cheaper, more flexible and faster than other mass transit choices Regional growth projections and travel patterns show there is a large undeveloped market in vanpool demand. Yet, expanding vanpools is typically not a priority for state and local government’s as other, more inefficient transit modes are marketed and funded. Vanpools are not for everyone and they cannot effectively serve short, intra-city transit demand. Ridership figures, costs and market potential in the Puget Sound region however, show that vanpools are a successful and more efficient way to move long-distance, inter-city commuters.

Instead of spending more public money to connect cities with high speed rail, commuter rail, light rail and express bus services, policymakers should look to vanpools as the most efficient alternative.

For the entire report, visit

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