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The Metropolitan Planning Organization TDM Excellence award was awarded to Atlanta Regional Commission. Atlanta Regional Commission has had significant influence over the success of TDM within their region, developing plans, enacting local laws, shaping employer actions, and inspiring adoption of TDM services by residents.
As one of the fastest growing regions in the nation, Atlanta is expected to continue experiencing population and employment growth through 2040, including a demographic shift that will see younger and older populations increase. With this growth, congested vehicle hours traveled are also forecasted to increase approximately 110%. This will reduce the quality of life for residents with few travel alternatives, and impact public health and environmental quality.
To address these concerns head on, Atlanta looks to its Regional TDM Plan intended to help stakeholders leverage existing programs and build on previous TDM concepts. The TDM Plan is a framework for developing and integrating TDM strategies into planning, project development and system operations, and investment decision-making. This plan is a “call to action” for program operators, local governments, policy makers, and agencies to support and advance transportation demand management strategies in the region.
ARC’s Mobility Service Division administers the Georgia Commute Options program, including the regional Guaranteed Ride Home and provides technical and financial management for Employer Service Organizations (ESOs) who work with area employers to help establish and operate commute options programs for their employees. The Atlanta Regional TDM Program serves the 20-county Atlanta region and encompasses a wide range of services and programs offered through Georgia Commute Options, the regional service provider, and the seven TMAs. The program also partners with transit providers to offer information and incentives to commuters.
During the pandemic, GCO began to monitor how the pandemic was reshaping day-to-day business operations within the region by conducting a series of surveys and outreach initiatives to further understand and support the constantly changing work environment. Based on the data gathered, GCO developed a series of programs to help businesses ease the transition into a hybrid work environment to support flexibility and enhance coordination between managers and employees. These efforts enable the continuity of operations across the region in the event of future pandemic-related or other events impacting workplaces.
ARC’s outreach efforts are impressive, in 2021, they had 840 employer partners, 148 property managers, conducted over 432 employer meetings, participated in 88 commuter events. They also achieved 7,728 active users, reporting over 1.1 million clean commute trips, which have led to nearly 23 million vehicle miles reduced, and over 20 million tons of GHG emissions prevented.
ARC continues to look toward the future and is in the process of updating its Regional TDM Plan, that will increase the focus on the mobility needs of all residents. The Atlanta Regional Commission is an exemplary example of how an MPO can embrace TDM.