What is TDM?
Transportation Demand Management (TDM) is the use of strategies to inform and encourage travelers to maximize the efficiency of our transportation systems leading to improved mobility, reduced congestion, and lower vehicle emissions.
TDM aims to provide all people with real transportation options that enable them to travel from their location to a destination in an affordable, efficient, and sustainable way.
TDM strategies have been shown to be a cost effective means of meeting key policy objectives. One study of projects funded by the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program concluded that TDM measures were among the most cost effective in reducing automobile emissions. The analysis showed that as a group, traffic flow projects received 33% of all funds, but resulted in a cost per pound of emissions reduced of $42.70. Rideshare programs accounted for only 4% of all funds, yet reduced a pound of emissions for $10.25. Likewise, miscellaneous TDM programs accounted for 3% of all CMAQ funds but reduced a pound of emissions for $7.66.1
Effective TDM strategies include:
Access to the Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefit (pre-tax and/or subsidy)
Provision of public transportation and/or private shuttle services
Appropriate pricing of parking, tolls, transit, and other options
Assistance with trip planning and ridesharing
State and local TDM ordinances, commute trip reduction laws or other similar regulations
Use of High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV)/High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes
Promotion and support of telecommuting & hybrid work schedules
Targeted marketing & education to inform commuters about options and shift behavior
Investment and support of bicycle & pedestrian infrastructure
Real Transportation Options for all People
TDM programs and policies aim to provide all people with a mix of reliable and affordable transportation options. Supported with effective marketing and advanced technologies, individuals can make informed choices to meet each trips unique needs, while considering cost, time, and convenience.
Efficiency within our Transportation Systems
To work well, a transportation system must bring together and support all transportation options within a neighborhood, district, region, or state. Effective TDM programs help ensure that an individual is able to bike/walk to the bus, connect to the subway, and complete their trip on their employer provided shuttle; or that an employee is able to drive to their park & ride facility to join their vanpool into the city and complete their trip on foot.
Reduced Traffic Congestion
With even a small reduction in the number of single occupancy vehicles on our nation’s roads, communities can see significant reductions in congestion. TDM supports the most efficient use of our existing infrastructure by increasing per person throughput and allowing more people to use our limited and often stretched infrastructure.
Improved Climate, Health and Safety
With reduced reliance on personal vehicles, our communities will see reduced greenhouse gas emissions leading to cleaner air and direct improvements in public health. TDM initiatives that support increased levels of walking and cycling also enhance overall quality of life; and more people on our streets and sidewalks will create safer neighborhoods.
Access to Jobs & Supporting Economic Activity
With more transportation options and the ability to telecommute, people will have better and more reliable access to jobs. Businesses will see increased productivity from employees who spend less time stuck in traffic; and products will move quicker to market.
1. FHWA-HOP-12-035, Transportation Research Board. The Congestion Mitigation Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing Ten Years of Experience. Special Report 264. National Academies, 2002