Puyallup In Motion


Over the summer of 2016, Pierce County Public Work partnered with the City of Puyallup to implement an "In Motion" program in the northwest quadrant of the city. The aim of Puyallup In Motion was to educate residents about opportunities to reduce drive alone travel and options for traveling by transit, bicycling, ridesharing and walking.

The Puyallup In Motion project used a door-to-door outreach approach to engage participants, incorporating a conversation style called Motivational Interviewing. Motivational Interviewing was first used extensively in the health sector to elicit changes in health-impacting behaviors. This engagement method, now widely adopted in the UK where it is known as Personalized- Travel- Planning (PTP), uses open-ended questions to explore the motivations of participants with the goal of changing their travel behavior. These responses are used to help identify strategies and provide supporting resources such as free transit passes, mode-specific resources and neighborhood travel maps.

A project area within Puyallup was selected for the door-to-door engagement. The criteria used to select a target area for engagement were based on several factors, including neighborhood transportation access provided by sidewalks, ability to use transit and bike to destinations, as well as the housing type and neighborhood demographics.

Program Goals

The following project targets were set:

  • Approach 5,000 households;
  • Engage participants to consider alternatives to driving alone;
  • Reduce reported drive alone mode share; and
  • Achieve 10% response rate to post‐project survey.


Overall, the project was successful at reducing drive alone trips and gaining an increased understanding of how to encourage and improve sustainable mode share in the Puyallup target area. Travel Advisors visited over 3,000 households on up to three occasions; of the households visited they spoke to over 2,000 households and 26% of those chose to participate in the project. The overall door-to-door participation rate (including no contact households) was lower than anticipated at 17%, however, the low responsiveness to the program mailer (delivered to an additional 2,000 households), demonstrated that Puyallup is possibly a challenging location in which to encourage behavior change. Entrenched attitudes and limited non-driving options outside of the immediate downtown core in Puyallup meant that there were often only a small number of trips that interested residents could change.

A full summary of the program and lessons learned can be found in the final implementation report.

  1. Katie Baker, AICP

    Planning Manager