“Transportation demand management” is the flip side of infrastructure. It focuses on helping people use the infrastructure in place for transit, ridesharing, walking, biking, and telework. It is cost-effective in guiding the design of our transportation and physical infrastructure so that alternatives to driving are naturally encouraged and our systems are better balanced.
TDM, focused on people first, functions on two levels.
At its most basic level, TDM is a program of information, encouragement and incentives provided by local or regional organizations to help people know about and use all their transportation options to optimize all modes in the system – and to counterbalance the incentives to drive that are so prevalent in subsidies of parking and roads. These are both traditional and innovative technology-based services to help people use transit, ridesharing, walking, biking, and telework.
There is also a deeper dimension of TDM that is equally important. TDM is a principle that should guide everything we do in designing our transportation and physical infrastructure so that alternatives to driving are naturally encouraged and our systems are better balanced. TDM thus underlies most of the important new initiatives of today: transit-oriented development, complete streets, walkable activity centers, livability and sustainability initiatives, and integrated corridor management, to name a few examples.
When we put these two together and offer robust TDM services in conjunction with properly designed infrastructure, we get the largest impacts and the biggest bang for our buck.
TDM is a strategy many places dabble in, but few have comprehensive programs. Mobility Lab believes there are seven basic parts of a robust TDM strategy that have the power to shift trips, ranked here from least powerful to most impactful:
- Marketing business benefits to employers
- Comprehensive programs with mutually reinforcing services, such as transit, carpool/vanpool, bike, walk, transit stores, and other
- Incentives for transit and alternate modes
- Disincentives for driving, which is where parking supply and pricing, tolls, and congestion pricing come in
- Ordinances and development conditions, and
- Trip caps or maximum average vehicle occupancy
- 5 Ways TDM is Invisible (and Why That Should Change)
- Rebranding “TDM” Could Fix the Industry’s Communications Struggle
- TDM is Not Scary: A 101 on Transportation Demand Management
- The Alamedan in California published an article in February 2014 that featured the efforts of TDM programs in Arlington County; Cambridge, Mass.; Boulder, Colo.; and the state of Washington.
- Inside Arlington County’s TDM Bureau
Other Top Resources:
- Overview of Arlington County TDM Commuter Programs
- Victoria Transport Policy Institute’s TDM Encyclopedia
- Association for Commuter Transportation
- Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida
- U.S. DOT Federal Highway Administration TDM Strategies
- And, of course, Wikipedia.
Arlington’s measurement of its TDM goals looks like this:
|Goal 1: Influence Growth in the Use of Transportation Options||
|Goal 2: Provide Quality TDM Service to Arlington Residents, Employees, Business and Visitors||
|Goal 3: Encourage a Culture in Arlington in which there is increased Awareness and Appreciation of Transportation Options and Benefits||
|Goal 4: Increase Transportation System Sustainability through TDM||
|Goal 5: Provide Transparency and Ensure Return on Investment on TDM Investment through Program Monitoring and Evaluation||This performance plan is intended to fulfill the aim of Goal 5. Arlington County Commuter Services commitment to meeting this goal is demonstrated through their commitment to producing this performance report on an annual basis.|