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Cutting Car Reliance, One Trip at a Time

Seattle's In Motion helps individual neighborhoods trade car trips for alternative modes.
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Flickr user Oran Viriyincy

Carol Cooper rattles off the success stories without pause. The neighbors who lived three houses apart and worked together but had never carpooled. The car commuter who decided to bike into work once a week and now rides every day. The diabetic who started walking to the grocery store instead of driving, finally getting the exercise her doctor had been on her case about.

She's talking about the results of In Motion, a community-based program in King County, Washington, that nudges people away from driving alone toward alternative travel modes. Launched in 2004, the program targets individual neighborhoods in and around metro Seattle and Bellevue with a hyper-localized behavioral campaign. The goal of In Motion is modest but meaningful: residents pledge to swap two solo car trips a week for biking, walking, carpooling, or riding transit.