Up to $11.80 in benefits can be gained for every $1 invested in bicycling and walking opportunities, according to the Alliance for Biking & Walking. Increased active transportation could yield an estimated annual benefit of $10 to $66 billion for the United States, according to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.
Active transportation is also associated with better fitness, reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, and lower rates of obesity and diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Mobility management” or “transportation demand management” (TDM) programs provide great bang for a very modest buck. The return on investment for corporations, government agencies, and consumers can be astronomical.
These programs provide shorter trips, more trip options, reduced travel delay, as well as benefits to business and society, such as increased economic vitality and enhanced public health and safety. This project is developing a calculation method to estimate the return on investment in “TDM” programs.
It is difficult to compare the value of TDM investments with investments in roads, transit, and other transportation infrastructure because successful TDM is typically expressed as travel reduction, while road and transit investments are measured by impacts on system capacity or utilization.
It will become even more important for TDM programs to document system performance benefits given the new emphasis required by policy called MAP21. But, evaluation of TDM solely as a transportation benefit underestimates its value, because TDM also contributes to other social goals, such as pollution reduction, energy conservation, public health, safety, quality of life, and economic vitality.
The Transportation Cost-Savings Calculator project is designed to monetize a range of benefits in terms that are understandable and compelling to policy makers. In an era of constrained funding, it is critical that the TDM industry effectively communicates the value of these investments.
The project team is currently investigating the following broad categories of potential TDM benefits:
- Public Health and Safety
- Economic Vitality and Fiscal Responsibility
- Transportation System Efficiency
- Environmental Quality
This project is designed to benefit not only Arlington, Virginia, where Mobility Lab’s research team is based, but all TDM programs and transportation experts in Virginia, nationwide, and internationally. We have solicited supporting data and ideas and have been pleased by the widespread interest.
This project is:
- Defining a comprehensive set of TDM benefits to society
- Developing consistent measurement approaches to estimate the economic value of the benefits
- Developing an approach to compare the return on investment from TDM projects to other transportation projects, and
- Calculating the economic value and return on investment to businesses, governments, commuters, and other stakeholders who invest in TDM programs.
There is a huge range of potential benefits. Some areas of TDM benefits are easier to document in monetary terms than others. We do not intend to overlook those benefits that are harder to monetize, but due to the complexity of the project, we anticipate this being a multi-year effort.
Our method is building upon the existing TDM impacts measurement approach of Arlington County Commuter Services, which quantifies vehicle trip and “vehicle miles traveled” reductions, to develop a similar system of factors to monetize benefits. We are researching monetization methods used in other fields (such as system operations, health, community planning, economics) to ensure that the method conforms to reliable and accepted practices.
The results will inform policy makers and funding agencies of the comprehensive value of TDM investments across a range of benefits to the public, and will provide an approach to compare the value of TDM investments to other kinds of transportation investments.
[quote_right][feature_box title=”TDM TAKEAWAY” title_color=”fff” header_color=”369″]People may have incentive to take public transportation now that they have access to better information about the true costs of car ownership.[/feature_box][/quote_right] The conventional wisdom is that living in the city is much more expensive than living outside of it. Taxes, entertainment, and groceries all add up to a slightly higher… Read more »
[quote_right][feature_box title=”TDM TAKEAWAY” title_color=”fff” header_color=”369″]Employers are eager to take part in transportation programs that improve the lives of their workers, and public agencies have an opportunity to provide valuable help.[/feature_box][/quote_right] “One of the biggest benefits of being part of this program is learning what other companies are doing,” says Christine Ng of Environ, a science… Read more »
[quote_right][feature_box title=”TDM TAKEAWAY” title_color=”fff” header_color=”369″]Bikeshare is relatively inexpensive, but to truly expand a local transportation network with this new option, cities must take on some of the burdens of its costs.[/feature_box][/quote_right] Bikeshare systems either have to make it on their own or be subsidized like the rest of the transportation system. This difference of opinion… Read more »
As part of its Transit Tech Initiative, Arlington County is beta launching CarFreeAtoZ, an online resource for travelers in Arlington and the greater Washington region. What is CarFreeAtoZ? It’s the Washington D.C. region’s first multi-modal trip planning and comparison tool. Bike to metro to walk on your way to work? Sick of driving your car… Read more »
This article is adapted from the Arlington Transportation Partners blog. Last week’s Greater Washington’s Healthiest Employers Awards and Workplace Wellness Expo, hosted by the Washington Business Journal and United Healthcare, recognized 50 companies in the D.C. region. And it is notable that four out of the five “healthiest employers” finalists from Arlington County are also Arlington… Read more »
People who are offered transit benefits from an employer use them. At Arlington Transportation Partners, we spend a lot of time building relationships with Arlington County, Virginia employers, educating them about the many transportation benefits they could be offering. Do they have a Capital Bikeshare station across the street from their office? We pitch Capital… Read more »
This article was originally published at Architect This City. Last weekend a friend of mine sent me an article from The Economist talking about why trams, streetcars, and light rail are a waste of money. The argument is basically that steetcars are expensive, less efficient, and that — despite North America’s renewed interest in them —… Read more »
The new Silver Line connects the economically-crucial Dulles Corridor in Northern Virginia with the rest of the region by Metrorail. With Phase I complete, a rider can reach five new stations leading out to Reston, Virginia. One stop before the Silver Line branches off from the Orange Line to the five new stops is the… Read more »
Bicycling is an important part of the U.S. transportation ecosystem of the future. That was the message U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx offered today as part of a National Press Club speech on the many transportation challenges faced by our partisan-gridlocked country. “True confession: I have been trying for an entire year to figure out… Read more »
Elly Blue and her team of bike activists – which include a cook and the founder of Microcosm Publishing Joe Biel – recently visited the Washington D.C. area and, with support from BikeArlington, held an evening gathering at Mobility Lab. Blue, an independent publisher, has written a series of books on the societal benefits of biking…. Read more »
In the documentary Urbanized, the former mayor of Bogota, Enrique Penalosa, speaks about how his focus on bike use has had an impact on the social hierarchy in the city (he also does so in the short Streetfilms video above). The introduction of bike paths in the Colombian capital opened up opportunities for people of all… Read more »
This is an excerpt of an article originally published at Amtrak’s blog. [poll id=”5″][poll id=”6″] Amtrak owns and maintains 80 percent of the Northeast Corridor’s mainline, which is used by 710,000 rail commuters and 40,000 Amtrak riders daily. A new report shows what an incredible impact the mainline has on the American economy. The Northeast Corridor… Read more »
A new multimodal project aimed at bringing bicycle and pedestrian friendliness to a Pentagon City neighborhood was unveiled today with a ribbon cutting by Congressman Jim Moran and representatives from Arlington’s Department of Environmental Services (DES). Held in front of the popular Fashion Centre at Pentagon City Mall on on South Hayes Street, the metro station served… Read more »
A new study commissioned by Arlington County shows that the Columbia Pike Streetcar would spur billions of dollars in revenue for Arlington and Fairfax counties. Between $3.2 billion and $4.4 billion in incremental benefits (over and above capital expenditures and operating costs) would be realized for the two counties over 30 years. This far exceeds the $300… Read more »
Perhaps the time has come for larger transit systems to employ a connectivity director, an energetic, get-things-done type to pave the way for riders. The ideal candidate would have an understanding of the current challenges and would possess the political skills, technological grasp, and imagination necessary to make a transit experience as free from technical… Read more »
New research suggests that companies located near Capital Bikeshare stations see an increase in business because of traffic from bikeshare riders. During the 2013 fall semester a group of urban-planning graduate students at Virginia Tech’s Alexandria campus investigated the economic impacts of bikesharing on local businesses. Together with myself and Andrea Hamre, the students used… Read more »
If an additional 1 percent of Arlington adults started getting the CDC-recommended levels of physical activity by walking or biking for their daily commute, the annual cost savings would be $7.5 million in the first year due to reduced mortality and $12 million per year due to reductions in lost productivity, workers’ compensation claims, and… Read more »
Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community. Good mental health is more than the absence of a mental disorder;… Read more »
Motor vehicles cause air pollution, noise pollution, and water pollution, impacting a community’s health and resulting in higher health care costs. A Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) report suggests that air pollution from motor vehicle use costs society between $30 billion to $349 billion per year in premature death and illness caused by particulate matter. Two-thirds… Read more »
Capital Bikeshare is a mobility management strategy that results in improved health – and health cost savings – of riders. Health Implications of the Capital Bikeshare Program, a study by George Washington University students, identifies promising findings that could make a strong impact on bikeshare members and people in the Washington D.C. region in general…. Read more »
Accessibility is one of the fundamental goals of transportation. Access can be increased by making destinations seem proximate by increasing awareness or by providing convenient and affordable transportation. The quality of life in a community changes significantly with the types of employment opportunities, services and amenities, educational institutions, and leisure activities that individuals are able… Read more »
Vehicle collisions are a leading cause of death in the U.S., especially for young adults and children. Studies have shown that the number of casualties increases with the number of miles driven per capita. Passengers on buses, light rail, and commuter rail have about one-tenth the death rate due to accidents as people in cars…. Read more »
At least six of the 15 leading causes of death in the U.S. in 2009 are influenced by level of physical activity: Heart disease Malignant neoplasms (cancer) Cerebrovascular diseases (stroke) Accidents (unintentional injuries) Diabetes mellitus (diabetes) Essential hypertension and hypertensive renal disease (hypertension) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends adults get 150… Read more »
In the world of “total health,” transportation and food are part of the health system. These industries combined make up a large chunk of the workforce and produce a large chunk of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. (The GHG numbers need to be interpreted with great care because there’s probably overlap between the industries. If you… Read more »
Improved public health and safety is not just a laudable community goal. There is economic value to these benefits, which is a great boon for constrained budgets in all sectors. The Mobility Lab Transportation Cost-Savings Calculator for Public Health and Safety project is: Identifying the ways that investments in “transportation demand management” influence public health and… Read more »
Transportation system efficiency reduces congestion on roads, resulting in less time in traffic and more time with family, recreation. It also means reduced cost of road improvements. Roads really take a beating from heavy and constant traffic. But fewer cars means fewer road projects like street widening, and less road maintenance. That saves money for… Read more »
Using a more sustainable mode of transportation helps you to save the environment while saving you gas money! Mobility management programs in Arlington helped reduce the consumption of over 7 million gallons of gas by single‐occupant vehicles in FY 2011. With gas prices at an average of $3.50 per gallon, that was over $25 million… Read more »
How do transportation demand management programs help to foster a strong business climate? Businesses operate more efficiently and enjoy greater productivity, delivery time reliability, and business continuity due to the efficiency and costs savings in transportation. Businesses flourish due to ease of employee commutes, access to clients, better employee attendance and morale, and better recruitment and retention of… Read more »