Return on Investment of TDM

Transportation Demand Management (TDM) programs have historically been implemented to address traffic congestion and air pollution caused by vehicle travel or to reduce transportation energy consumption. The TDM community has developed approaches to measure performance or quantify achievements towards these goals. The impacts of a TDM program are often expressed in terms of reductions in vehicle trips, vehicle miles traveled (VMT), emissions, and fuel used. But these measures tell the TDM story in a language mainly understood by TDM audiences. The story does not resonate with the wider world. Furthermore, these measures do not tell the entire TDM story.

The traditional TDM measures are not commonly used in other urban transportation disciplines, such as highway operations, or public transit. This hinders “apples to apples” comparisons of results of TDM with other transportation strategies. Also, TDM evaluations are not typically presented in cost-benefit or economic return on investment terms. This puts TDM at a disadvantage when funding agencies try to prioritize projects in order to make wise investment decisions.

It is also important to note that increased transportation system efficiency and environment-friendly travel are only two of many potential benefits generated by TDM strategies. Some TDM strategies also support other social, economic, and sustainability objectives, including enhancing personal mobility and site access, supporting economic growth and stability, improving public health and safety, and enhancing residents’ quality of life. There are no established methods for such comprehensive analyses to represent the true value of TDM benefits.

This project aims to quantify the comprehensive benefits of TDM strategies in order to:

  • Compare ROI of TDM strategies to other transportation investments
  • Help communicate the full cost and benefit of choosing a travel mode

We are looking for partners to help:

  • Identify the full range of benefits to be examined based on questions being faced from the public and/or policy makers
  • Develop a method for a comprehensive and reliable economic assessment of TDM benefits that calculates the return on investment for TDM programs
  • Develop an approach to compare return on investment of TDM strategies to other transportation projects
  • Communicate a broad understanding of the role and benefits of TDM projects for a variety of public objectives

What expectations or goals are being placed on transportation investments in your state or region?

What are funders and other decision-makers expecting TDM to accomplish?

What questions are you asked by decision-makers, the traveling public, or other stakeholders about your achievements?

Have you promoted diverse and creative applications or benefits of TDM that resonated with audiences outside the transportation world?

What methods or tools have you successfully used to communicate TDM benefits?

We need to hear from you to make this project more relevant and useful to the TDM community. We also need to know about relevant evaluation research, surveys, or other studies or information that you have encountered about measuring benefits or ROI for TDM or other transportation projects. Because some TDM benefits are not typically associated with transportation, methods to quantify non-traditional TDM benefits (e.g., health, economic vitality, community enhancement, etc) likely will need to draw on non-transportation disciplines. These studies also would be very useful to this project.

See Join the Project Team to see how you can collaborate with us. Whether you limit your involvement to commenting or posting to this wiki, or join us in discussions over conference calls and join a task team to research topic, your help will be immensely appreciated.


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Lynn N. Robinson

I would like to join the project team. Below is an overview of the TDM program that I manage in Columbus, Ohio. Please feel to contact me via phone at 614.233.4129 or the above email address.

What is RideSolutions?
RideSolutions is a program of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC), providing free information about carpooling, vanpooling and transit in our 12-county service area. Started in 1980, we have helped over 30,000 commuters discover the benefits of ridesharing in the mid-Ohio region. RideSolutions is committed to the national objectives of reducing traffic congestion, lowering commuter costs, energy conservation and improved air quality. Commuters that need, and want, affordable, reliable transportation to their workplace are encouraged to call 1.888.742.RIDE (7433).

• Carpooling Ride matching Service
Using our computer-based system, RideSolutions is able to match people interested in ridesharing with commuters having similar work hours, home and work locations. Commuters interested in carpooling and vanpooling call 1-888-742-RIDE (7433) or log on to and we will prepare a free custom match list. This is then mailed to the home of the person interested in ridesharing so that they may become part of a carpool or vanpool to and from work. Through our program they are able to share the ride one or more days a week, setting up an arrangement fitting their commute.

• RideSolutions’ Commuter Vanpools
All RideSolutions vans are formed by our vanpool developer. There’s no lease, it’s on a 30-day, pay-as-you-go group arrangement. Groups of 9 to 15 can enjoy riding together to work each day, as a group, in their own (basic to luxury) passenger van. Our convenient package arrangement includes use of a van, insurance (covering vehicle, driver and passengers), maintenance/repairs billed to our van provider, and 24-hour roadside assistance. Vanpool costs vary, depending on monthly miles driven, number of passengers and van size. All that’s required for a RideSolutions vanpool is a group of commuters with similar schedules and locations, a volunteer driver from the group primarily driving and agreeing to collect the monthly fare from the passengers (rides free), and at least one alternate driver.

Vanpools are formed based on the proximity of where people live and work, and RideSolutions does not charge to facilitate the formation. Once we receive information that a commuter wishes to commute by vanpool, our vanpool developer looks for an empty seat on an existing vanpool or at the viability of forming a new vanpool. Each potential rider and driver is personally contacted to begin the vanpool formation process. We continue to assist the group in filling empty seats on an existing van as they occur. You can view more about the vanpool service at

Many employers choose to help pay for part or all of an employee’s vanpool as an additional employee benefit, with no liability. The RideSolutions vanpool authorized driver, passengers and place of employment are indemnified of liability; this applies even when the RideSolutions’ vanpool is partially or fully paid for by an employer. (Note: Workers’ Compensation is not available in the event of an accident, as the vanpool is considered transportation to and from work and not employment.) This type of vanpool arrangement cannot be used as a shuttle.

Vans for the program are provided by VPSI, Inc. VPSI is the largest vanpool van provider to agencies and employers in the nation.

• RideSolutions Shuttle VanWorks Vanpool Program
Employers can choose to lease one or more vans through RideSolutions vanpool coordinator, to transport employees when they want, where they want. The advantages to working with RideSolutions is that the employer chooses each van lease from one to four years, and for up to 100,000 yearly miles per van. Once we learn how the van(s) will be used, where and when, we can help an employer determine the best number of vans, each van size, style, and yearly mileage. The employer provides a paid driver, all insurance and maintenance, however, insurance can be added for an additional cost. It is also possible that a maintenance package can be added as well. Call RideSolutions to set up a meeting.

• Guaranteed Ride Home Program (GRH)
RideSolutions’ GRH voucher program takes the worry out of being stranded at work in the case of an emergency or unexpected overtime for commuters who rideshare. This MORPC program is free to anyone who carpools, vanpools, bikes or rides public transportation to work. Registration with the GRH Program is free, and entitles commuters to a 90-percent cab fare reimbursement, up to four times a year, in event of an emergency or unexpected overtime. Anyone ridesharing can call 1.888.742.RIDE (7433) to register or log on to



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