When you’re stuck in a typical Seattle bumper-to-bumper morning commute, it can seem like every single person in the area must leave for work at precisely the same time.
That’s not too far off. Nearly half of King County workers — 46 percent, to be exact — leave home in the two-hour window between 6:30 and 8:30 a.m., according to 2013 data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
But what about everybody else?
As our interactive map below shows, it depends on the neighborhood.
SeaTac never sleeps, and neither do airport workers. For nighttime commutes, neighborhoods near the airport have the highest percentage. In one area just east of the airport, almost 1 in 5 workers leave home in the hours after midnight.
Starting at 5 a.m., add to the mix those folks with the longest commutes, like Vashon Island ferry-riders or those who live in far-out areas of King County.
The morning commute is in full swing by 7 a.m. Most of north Seattle is on its way to work within the hour. But folks who live closer to job centers — near the downtowns of Seattle and Bellevue — are more likely to be able to leave home a bit later, after 8 o’clock.
And around the Microsoft campus, sauntering out the door between the 9 and 10 o’clock hours is standard.
Very few of us leave for work in the late morning or afternoon, but it’s not uncommon in areas with a large concentration of people who do shift work, such as food service or retail jobs. The University District has a high percentage, as do Northgate, downtown Seattle and many areas in south King County.
Explore the data for yourself on our interactive map of King County census tracts. The map is color-coded by the percentage of workers in each tract who leave home in each of nine time periods. If a tract has an unusually higher percentage of workers leaving in a time period, it has a dark outline. Click on any census tract to see the underlying data.
Click “Play” to set it motion, or click through each of the nine time periods manually.
Map: Garland Potts/The Seattle Times