Even when transportation policy decisions are guided by data and research, professionals often find the need to pivot in the process of program implementation. Clients and institutions often focus on modeling projected demand, but models have shortcomings, making iterative approaches necessary. The coronavirus pandemic has underscored the extent to which travel behaviors can change in unexpected ways and amplified shortcomings in traditional approaches to projecting demand. It has also underscored the need for nimble responses from both the private and public sectors, and the importance of creating resilient programs that can be tweaked as more evidence emerges or circumstances (such as a pandemic) upend collective travel behavior and established norms around commuting, parking demand, and transportation. Three professionals, from government, consulting, and university administration, reflect on the ways in which they have used 2020 to reset their approach to transportation demand management. This session focuses on creating opportunities within large organizations: first, to implement robust transportation programs, and second, to iterate those programs based on evidence gathered in the process of implementation. We will do this by discussing ways to interrogate and understand the pros and cons of traditional transportation modeling, along with ways to ensure that, when models are used, they are considered along with a broad toolkit. The presentation will address the line that transportation planners must straddle: policies both serve existing and anticipated while simultaneously dictating future behaviors with economic, climate, and public health impacts. Using a variety of tools to make and communicate decisions allows policymakers across the transportation world (in public, private and institutional contexts) to better understand the potential outcomes associated with any particular policy, to understand the variables that dictate success or failure, and to iterate policies to ensure that transportation policies and programs hew to the original intent.
Frances C. Ritchie
, MCP, Assistant Director for Urban Development, University of Illinois Chicago (UIC)
, AICP, Senior Transportation + Parking Planner, Sam Schwartz
, Senior Planner, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP)