Traffic engineers balance supply and demand when we recommend roadway improvements – a new development adds more traffic to the roads, we make sure there is enough capacity supplied. That’s the theory. We tend to work on the supply side of the equation, adding more traffic signals and bigger roads.
Minneapolis, Golden Valley, St. Louis Park and a few other cities have ordinances that try to get developers to reduce the demand side of the equation. Reducing demand is done based on a Travel Demand Management Plan the developer is required to draft and implement. Strategies such as more transit, more mixing of uses so trips can be made by foot or bike instead of a car, carpooling, etc. are usually included. I have written a few of these, but I haven’t been involved with the
implementation. Getting people out of their cars is a hard nut to
A few developments in Uptown and the Warehouse district of Minneapolis have added a car sharing
service called HourCar facilities to their condo buildings. ZipCar facilities are located around the University of Minnesota. I love the idea of a shared car to use when you need it, but you need to be able to walk to the car. The closest garage of ZipCars or HourCars is about 3 miles away. So we kept the extra car.
Sydney, Australia is adding another layer to the car sharing system – they are adding free parking in the downtown area (article) for car sharing vehicles. Minneapolis offers discount parking for carpoolers, maybe they’ll add this next.
I also agree on what you said. It is important to increase public transportation so we can decrease traffic. In my surrounding area, a rapid bus lane is being considered to decrease traffic on one busy street. I also learned a nearby city is extending the rail transit to decrease traffic congestion on the highway. However with this recession, the funds are limited. It just sad that projects fail because of money.