Travel Demand Management (jargon alert – TDM) strategies are simply ways to encourage people to stop
driving to work by themselves during rush hour. Do they work? I don’t know. They sound good (promote bike riding, promote transit riding, give people money if they carpool, charge for parking, etc. should get people to not drive by themselves).
We’re midway through the Apprentice program and our group has decided to tackle this question. We started with a literature search. TDM has been around in the U.S. since the oil crisis of the 1970’s, so you’d think there would be a lot of study done on the subject. There are some good resources out their explaining what TDM is and how to implement it. There are also a few case studies that describe wildly successful TDM plans. But we couldn’t find a systematic study that even hinted that TDM might not work.
We’re in the middle of the data collection phase of our project. We’re collecting data from office buildings that have active TDM strategies (both data on the strategies and actual cars coming in and out of their parking lots). Then we’ll calculate trip generation and parking generation rates for the buildings. The proof will be in the numbers. Do the office buildings with TDM strategies we’re studying in fact generate less traffic and parking demand when compared to “normal” office buildings (we’ll compare them with the Institute of Transportation Engineers’ rates)?
In the dream world, I hope to put this out as an open source project so folks around the country can collect data at more sites. With a database from hundreds of sites, we could hone in on the effectiveness of specific strategies and also identify best practices that could be implemented through our industry.