Northwest commuters prefer being behind the wheel despite traffic growth

Northwest commuters prefer being behind the wheel despite traffic growth

The FINANCIAL -- Commuting can be one of the most vexing parts of the workday, especially when you're caught in slow-moving traffic. But despite the challenges that can come with getting to your destination, and the increasing amount of time Northwest drivers are spending on their daily commutes, the latest poll from PEMCO Insurance finds that a majority of residents prefer to drive themselves to work each day.

The Northwest Poll found that one in three Washington and Oregon drivers (32 percent) say they have longer commutes now than in years past, with the average driver spending nearly an hour getting to and from work every day. But despite a shared frustration for traffic delays, a whopping 94 percent of commuters say they prefer to drive themselves to work, rather than opt for another mode of transportation.

According to the poll, convenience is king. Three-quarters of people (74 percent) say they prefer to drive because it's the most convenient option, and half (49 percent) think driving is the fastest or most efficient way to travel.

The increased commute time – and the frustrations that come with it – have convinced some drivers to change their routines. Many people (57 percent) say they now use backroads or side streets to deal with congested roadways. And about one-third (34 percent) say they've shifted their schedules to avoid peak traffic times.

But when faced with the choice to change modes of transportation, about half of respondents (52 percent) said no thanks. About one in five (18 percent) said they would be willing to take public transportation like the bus or light rail if it were convenient, and only about 14 percent said they would walk more.

And of those who use other use alternatives to driving for their commute, a majority (68 percent) say they'd prefer to make a change.