6. Integration of TDM at the Metropolitan Planning Level
|CHAPTER ACRONYM LIST
||Central Business District
||Champaign County Regional Planning Commission
||Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality
||Congestion Management Process
||Center for Urban Transportation Research
||Champaign Urbana Urbanized Area Transportation Study (Illinois)
||Department of Transportation
||Federal Highway Administration
||High Occupancy Toll
||High Occupancy Vehicle
||Jobs Access Reverse Commute
||Mobility Enhancement and Trip Reduction Index to aid in Comparison
||Missoula in Motion (Montana)
||Measure of Effectiveness
||Metropolitan Planning Organization
||Metropolitan Transportation Planning
||Metropolitan Washington Council of Government
||San Diego Association of Governments
||Statewide Long-Range Transportation Plans
||Single Occupancy Vehicle
||Surface Transportation Program
||Travel Demand Management
||Transportation Emission Reduction Measure
||Transportation Improvement Program
||Transportation Management Area
||Trip Reduction Impacts of Mobility Management Systems
||Transportation Systems Management
||Transportation Systems Management and Operations
||Vehicle Miles Travelled
MPOs throughout the United States are responsible for carrying out a continuing, comprehensive, and coordinated transportation planning process. This is true for all MPOs, no matter the size of the region or number of staff. However, the extent to which an MPO can effectively shepherd such a process is often a function of resources. While all MPOs need to develop the same prescribed plans and programs, the depth of the processes to develop these plans and programs can vary widely. This section offers guidance for MPOs at various levels of "TDM-enabled" planning to effectively integrate TDM into their planning processes.
While the size of an MPO does not necessarily correspond to the level of penetration of TDM, there is typically a close correlation. Generally speaking, the larger the MPO's population, the more likely it is that TDM has become a significant element of the planning process, likely due to the presence of traffic congestion, air pollution, etc. The challenge, then, is to both motivate smaller MPOs to integrate TDM into their planning processes and present recommendations and guidance to the larger MPOs to broaden and deepen TDM-based planning.
Regardless of their size, MPOs can play an important role in planning for TDM at the regional level. By encompassing a wide variety of local jurisdictions, MPOs can take a more "holistic" view of TDM, unhindered by jurisdictional boundaries. MPOs that most comprehensively incorporate TDM in their transportation planning processes are those that encompass local jurisdictions that have developed laws requiring some form of TDM measures.98 For example, Washington's CTR Efficiency Act of 2006 requires each MPO to prepare and periodically update their regional transportation strategies to effectively address alternative transportation modes and demand management measures in regional corridors.99 In addition, highly populated MPOs have structured their MTP around a series of core issues and strategies, with TDM included. For example, the Houston-Galveston Area Council's 2035 Regional Transportation Plan highlighted demand management for peak-period travel as a major strategy to achieve its goal of a better quality of life through mobility, better access, and a healthier environment.100
MPOs can also steer valuable resources to TDM initiatives in the form of federal funding for support, implementation, and operation of a variety of TDM programs. Already MPOs that are designated as TMAs must consider TDM strategies as part of their federally mandated Congestion Management Process. While most MPOs extend their purview to cover only planning, support, and funding for TDM, an increasing number of MPOs are becoming TDM implementers. Many regional TDM programs are operated by MPOs, given their regional scope and because many TDM programs are funded with CMAQ dollars and the CMAQ funding process is overseen by MPOs in most areas.
How can MPOs advance TDM initiatives as a comprehensive part of addressing urban mobility challenges?
- Coordinate planning for TDM activities at local, regional, and state levels
- Incorporate TDM goals and objectives in long-range plans
- Embrace TDM as both a short-term operations and long-term sustainability strategy
- Build awareness and motivation among member jurisdictions that have not pursued TDM
- Encourage communities that support TDM to take specific action
- Challenge communities that have taken TDM action to ratchet up their efforts
- Set aside funding for TDM initiatives
- Develop TDM-specific performance measures to evaluate project-specific and system wide performance
6.1 What Plans Should TDM be Included In?
Within the long-range, regional transportation planning process, TDM can be incorporated into a number of formal MPO-adopted plans as highlighted in Table 6.1.
Table 6.1: Metropolitan Planning
|Type of Plan
||How to Integrate TDM/Role of TDM|
|Metropolitan Transportation Plans||
- Large MPOs: Make TDM a cornerstone of their long-range plans.
- Medium-sized MPOs: Set aside funding for TDM initiatives.
- Small MPOs: Explore TDM-based approaches and gauge the interest of member jurisdictions.
- Envision that TDM projects can reduce, or at least postpone, the need for capital-intensive projects that increase roadway capacity.
|Congestion Management Processes||
- MPOs designated as TMAs can demonstrate, as part of their CMP process, that demand management programs have been given due consideration prior to recommending projects that add general purpose capacity to a given roadway corridor
- Provide a way to analyze TDM and operational strategies for construction projects in non-attainment zones that result in an increase of SOV travel. Travel demand reduction and operational management strategies should be incorporated into the SOV project or committed to by the State and MPO for implementation.
- Define specific TDM and Travel System Management (TSM) strategies for a region’s most congested facilities, and prioritize potential TDM and TSM strategies for each facility.
- Develop TDM-specific strategic plans to help guide (1) long-range pursuit of TDM initiatives or (2) shorter-term operation of in-house TDM operations.
- TDM-focused Task Forces/Working Groups – To further refine TDM-related initiatives, organize specific TDM committees, task forces, or advisory boards to help guide the overall planning process related to TDM.
- Articulate regional TDM goals by (1) recommending TDM activities to meet these goals, (2) guiding investments in TDM activities, (3) defining an administrative structure to oversee the regional TDM program, and (4) establishing evaluation measures.
While long-range transportation plans are mandated by federal regulations, the Congestion Management Process specifically requires consideration of TDM strategies to address congestion as cited below:
"The transportation planning process in a TMA shall address congestion management through a process that provides for safe and effective integrated management and operation of the multimodal transportation system, based on a cooperatively developed and implemented metropolitan-wide strategy, of new and existing transportation facilities eligible for funding under title 23 U. S. C. and title 49 U. S. C. Chapter 53 through the use of travel demand reduction and operational management strategies." – Statewide Transportation Planning; Metropolitan Transportation Planning; Final Rule: 23 CFR § 450. 320(a)
The Congestion Management Process, defined within the federal transportation planning regulations, is designed to evaluate, recommend, implement, and monitor a variety of solutions to roadway congestion, and is the way that many MPOs introduce TDM into their transportation planning processes.101 For example, the South Western Region MPO in Stamford, CT, assesses candidate projects individually within its Congestion Management Process based on their potential to: reduce peak-period in person trips, reduce peak-period VMT, measure shift from SOV to alternative modes, measure shift from SOV to HOV, measure systems/operational efficiency improvement, and desired capacity increases.102
Pursuant to the Clean Air Act, all federally funded construction projects, in TMAs designated as non-attainment for ozone or carbon monoxide, that result in an increase of SOV travel must be reflected in the CMP process. Furthermore, the CMP should provide a means to analyze TDM and operational management strategies for such projects. Only if the analysis demonstrates that such strategies cannot fully satisfy the need for additional SOV capacity can the project use federal funds. Even still, all identified reasonable travel demand reduction and operational management strategies must be incorporated into the SOV project or committed to by the State and MPO for implementation.
6.2 What Is Your Capability with TDM at the Metropolitan Planning Level?
This desk reference will be utilizing the guidance based on different levels of existing experience with TDM
and transportation planning. Table 6.2 provides examples of how existing MPO
s might integrate TDM
into their planning processes. This should assist users in determining the nature and location of key guidance within this section. Three levels of TDM
integration are presented: ad hoc, defined, and optimized. These levels correspond to the Institutional Capability Maturity Model proposed by FHWA
in its Guide for Improving Capability for Systems Operation and Management.103
MPOs with minimal experience in integrating TDM (ad hoc level) into their plans and policies might only be exploring the concept of TDM or seeking to use it to improve livability since there might be need to address congestion or air quality. At the next level (defined), an MPO might include TDM in most plans and policies as a means to increase travel choices and meet certain policy objectives, such as clean air or congestion reduction. In this case, TDM is likely one element of the overall plan. Finally, when TDM becomes optimized (Level 3), TDM may become a central focus of the entire plan if the MPO's policy board adopts an overall "philosophy" of managing demand and encouraging sustainable transport.
Table 6-2 provides specific examples of how an MPO might work to integrate demand management into regional transportation planning efforts. This matrix is intended to assist the reader in determining where his or her organization fits in terms of the capability levels described above. Once the reader has determined the appropriate capability level and identified the critical step on which the agency is focused, specific actions to move from one level to the next are suggested in the next section.
Table 6.2: Metropolitan Planning Self-Assessment Matrix
|Establishing Vision and Goals||
- TDM is acknowledged as part of the vision in the State but no true commitment in terms of remaining steps
- Varied understanding of the concept of demand management as a policy option
- Limited high-level political or decision-maker support for the idea
- Primary role of MPOs is to fund limited TDM activities
- TDM is a part of the vision statement for the metropolitan region
- Enhanced understanding of TDM concepts and strategies at staff levels
- Treated as substantial goal of the planning efforts
- Political support emerging on this topic
- Many roles (funding, coalition building, operations) becoming realistic for MPOs in the area of demand management
- TDM is an equal and long-term strategy in the metropolitan vision with capacity expansion and operations
- TDM permeates through the entire strategic planning and decision-making process
- Existence of strong political champions and decision-makers for TDM
- MPO becomes a hub for various TDM roles (funding, operations, coalitions)
|Setting Objectives for TDM||
- Minimal role for TDM in planning objectives or in the CMP
- Primarily linked to one or two objectives such as conformity
- Not developed using a "SMART" approach
- No linkage to strategies identification and selection
- Multiple objectives for TDM identified for a diverse set of State needs including congestion, air quality, and land-use strategy
- Some objectives are "SMART"
- Still a strong disconnect between objectives and strategies identification
- CMP includes specific TDM objectives
- TDM objectives additionally include broader considerations of regional mobility, accessibility, economic development
- All objectives are SMART and drive strategy identification and selection
- Specific long-term objectives set for TDM
|Definition of Performance Measures||
- TDM not linked to MPO efforts at performance-based planning and management
- Outcome measures for TDM limited to Trip and VMT reductions
- TMD is linked to performance-based planning and management
- Performance measures begin to define TDM "outcomes," at a metro level including:
- Mode split
- Vehicle throughout
- Rideshare rates
- Air Quality
- Performance measures developed for most objectives
- Performance measures include fully developed TDM "outcomes"
- Reduction in congestion
- Increase in alternative mode use
- Increased person throughput
|Assessment and Selection of Strategies and Programs to Support Objectives||
- TDM Assessment not based on rigorous modeling/evaluation especially when compared to other alternatives
- TDM does not drive any of the alternative analysis scenarios
- Specific strategies for TDM do not completely address broader TDM objectives and goals
- Selection of any TDM strategy is ad-hoc and limited to existing approaches or constituencies. Public transit or traditional ridesharing is seen as the primary alternative
- TDM is a integral part of many alternatives
- Assess some TDM strategies by incorporating cost and time impacts into traditional travel demand models
- Also perform off-model analysis/modeling of TDM strategies as necessary
- All travel choices are assessed including active transportation, ridesharing etc.
- TDM strategies typically still are stand-alone and not fully integrated with other programs/projects/strategies
- Demand management considered before supply side alternatives. A demand-management scenario identified
- Developed a rationalized means of assessing TDM strategies
- TDM strategy decisions are based on benefit-cost analysis
- Strategies and programs reflect the broad vision for TDM
- TDM is not only a separate project/program but also is integral to most of the projects developed by the MPOs.
|Integration of Strategies into Plans and Funding Programs||
- Resulting projects/programs do not link back to objectives
- The level of detail for TDM projects is significantly lesser than that for other projects, e.g., signal timing improvements
- Tend to support traditional TDM efforts such as ridesharing etc
- TDM is better integrated into larger and capital projects
- Greater level of detail for TDM projects
- Pilot programs or experimental approaches included for TDM
- Dedicated program/funding identified
- TDM projects as fleshed out as other projects in the plan
- Dedicated and sustained program and funding
- Fewer pilots and more mainstreaming of TDM
|Monitoring and Evaluation of Progress Toward Objectives||
- Evaluation methods for TDM are different from operational strategies
- Planners are monitoring awareness levels through surveys, focus groups, and workshops, among relevant stakeholders and the public
- Formal methodology is in place to evaluate performance metrics
- TDM and system performance are reported in a similar way (e.g., delay)
- MPOs start to perform evaluation of TDM effectiveness at regional, city and local levels.
- Performance measurement includes quantitative and qualitative methods
- Conduct evaluation of comparative cost effectiveness of TDM to other capital and operating strategies
The foundation of most metropolitan transportation plans is a series of goals, objectives, strategies, and/or policies that guide the overall planning process. TDM can be incorporated into these strategic planning elements, and range from being included in supportive objectives to being a primary policy statement. To be more effective, however, MPOs should elevate their role in TDM beyond the platitudes of simple "support" and "encouragement," and move toward planning for specific project implementation, and perhaps more importantly toward including TDM as an effective response to key urban policy issues. Large MPOs can make TDM a cornerstone of their long-range plans and develop specific TDM plans; medium-sized MPOs set aside funding for TDM initiatives; while small MPOs can begin the task of exploring TDM-based approaches and gauge the interest of their member jurisdictions.
Regardless of size, all MPOs are struggling with the issue of limited financial resources for transportation infrastructure projects. In addition to this funding gap, other issues such as recent rises in fuel prices and growing concerns about the environment, energy consumption, air quality, and overall livability and sustainability are the primary factors that drive MPOs to consider the benefits of TDM strategies as a part of a balanced, multimodal approach within their transportation planning processes.
A variety of TDM strategies have been developed that complement capacity expansion projects and offer other ways to make the transportation system more efficient and more flexible, while minimizing negative community impacts. Most transportation planners understand that the days of adding capacity as the sole strategy for addressing their regional transportation needs are gone and that strategies that focus on changing travel behavior to mitigate traffic congestion are needed, especially within the Congestion Management Process. In fact, some MPOs go as far as to state that TDM strategies will be just as critical, if not more so, to improve the efficiency of the transportation system as strategies to increase capacity.
Clearly, however, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to TDM; and, even in areas where TDM has made significant inroads, TDM is not a panacea. Rather, it is envisioned that TDM projects can reduce, or at least postpone, the need for capital-intensive projects that increase roadway capacity.
6.3 Actions to Move Metropolitan Planning Process from Level 1 to Level 2
Table 6.3 lists several specific actions to move an MPO's planning process from Level 1 (ad hoc integration of demand management) to Level 2 (defined integration). For each action, a rationale for the action, an explanation of how to implement the action, examples where available, and an indication of the relative ease or difficulty of implementing each action is below.
Table 6.3: List of Actions and Associated Level of Difficulty to Move Metropolitan Planning Process from Level 1 to Level 2
||Ease of Implementation
|Establishing Vision and Goals|
|1||Develop TDM long-range strategic plan||Low||Moderate||Low||Moderate||Low|
|2||Establish a regional TDM Committee||Moderate||Moderate||Low||Low||Low|
|3||Create/support local ordinances, guidance and policy development for TDM||Moderate||Difficult||Moderate||Moderate||Moderate|
|Setting Objectives for TDM|
|4||Adopt an objectives-driven, performance-based planning process to include TDM||Moderate||Moderate||Low||Low||Moderate|
|5||Review the role of TDM in the CMP process||Low||Moderate||Moderate||Moderate||Moderate|
|Definition of Performance Measures|
|6||Identify concrete performance measures for TDM beyond air quality and conformity||Moderate||Moderate||Low||Moderate||Moderate|
|7||Establish the link between TDM and quality of life||Moderate||Moderate||Low||Moderate||Moderate|
|8||Create a report card or dashboard for TDM performance||Low||Low||Low||Low||Low|
|Assessment and Selection of Strategies and Programs to Support Objectives|
|9||Assess the current capabilities of the travel demand modeling process to evaluate TDM||Low||Moderate||Moderate||Moderate||Moderate|
|10||Incorporate TDM and travel choices into existing visualization tools and processes||Low||Moderate||Moderate||Moderate||Moderate|
|Integration of Strategies into Plans and Funding Programs|
|11||Broaden the availability of eligible funding beyond CMAQ||Moderate||Moderate||Low||Low||Moderate|
|Monitoring and Evaluation of Progress Toward Objectives|
|12||Strengthen TDM performance evaluation and monitoring methods and tools||Low||Moderate||Moderate||Moderate||Moderate|
Action 1 – Develop TDM Long-Range Strategic Plan
Rationale and Explanation - In order for TDM to bridge the gap between broad policy statements and specific strategies and projects being included in the TIP, it is important to have a stand-alone plan for TDM in the region. Many regions have developed 5-year TDM Strategic Plans to guide the development of TDM services, organizational structure, and funding beyond the TIP. This becomes a sort of Transit Development Plan for TDM.
Example – To further articulate regional TDM goals, recommend TDM activities to meet these goals, guide investments in TDM activities, define an administrative structure to oversee the regional TDM program, and establish evaluation measures, the Denver Regional Council of Governments has published a regional TDM Strategic Plan (Figure 6.1). The plan "identifies TDM as a key strategy for meeting the goal of providing safe, environmentally sensitive and efficient mobility choices for the region's residents and visitors. Providing viable travel options and supporting infrastructure simultaneously opens roadway capacity, increases transit system efficiency, and decreases auto travel. Expanded travel options allow individuals to select from various modes to meet travel needs, make trips during less congested times, and avoid some auto trips altogether." The TDM plan clearly identifies the location emphasis of the TDM efforts. While the plan states that TDM promotional efforts will occur throughout the region and incentives will be available in all areas, it notes that efforts will also be targeted toward certain areas such as: 1) CBDs of larger cities, 2) High-employment concentrations, 3) Along highway corridors with bus/ HOV lanes, and 4) Adjacent to rapid transit stations and high-transit service locations. In addition, specific goals and actions are identified in the plan and funding sources identified for achieving the actions.
Figure 6.1: Regional TDM Strategic Plan
Source: Denver Regional Council of Governments
Action 2 – Establish a regional TDM Committee with local champions
Rationale and Explanation – TDM is often spread across the organizational chart of MPOs, including long-range planning, regional ridesharing, congestion management, etc. TDM, if it is to be integrated into the planning process, needs clear policy direction and this can come from a dedicated TDM committee. Such a committee can provide direction to MPO staff, assist with the allocation of regional funds, and provide a focal point for all TDM coordinating activities in the region. TDM can be a difficult concept for many traditional transportation professionals and remains largely unknown to many policy-makers that advise MPOs. As such, finding one or more champions to help forward the concept and underscore its benefits may be crucial. Such a champion needs to be a trusted peer. In the case of an MPO governing board, this might be an elected official from one member jurisdiction that has solid experience with TDM in his/her town. In the case of area transportation planners who might be working on plans that should incorporate TDM, it could be a trusted professional that can explain the "philosophy" and specifics of TDM to other professionals. It is important to establish key leadership positions within and outside of the MPO in order to foster consensus-building and to move TDM initiatives through the planning process.
Example – The regional TDM program in the Greater Washington D.C. metro area, Commuter Connections, is housed within the MPO, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG). As shown in Figure 6-2, the MPO has established a State TDM Work Group that reports directly to the Transportation Policy Board and consists of state DOT representatives who fund the region TDM program. Below the State TDM Work Group is a Commuter Connections Subcommittee, responsible for the planning and operation of the TDM program. In addition, many MPOs rely on TDM champions to forward the concept and its benefits. In San Diego, the role of a champion was clearly present in determining the successful implementation of the I-15 HOT lanes. (A local mayor, who sat on the MPO board, was seeking support for high-capacity transit service in the I-15 corridor. The means to fund such service were identified as toll revenues from converting HOV to HOT lanes. When the local mayor was elected to the state senate, he sponsored the legislation to allow tolling on I-15, thus creating the opportunity for one of the first HOT lanes in the U.S.)
Figure 6.2: Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Organizational Structure
Action 3 – Create/support local ordinances, guidance and policy development for TDM
Rationale and Explanation – MPOs can provide a leadership role in fostering TDM initiatives at the local level in several ways. First, MPOs are generally comprised of local member jurisdictions, thus creating a good forum for discussing the merits of TDM and its integration into the planning process. Second, MPOs may have broader expertise in planning than some local jurisdictions, thus creating an opportunity to provide technical assistance. Finally, many MPOs have created model regulations, ordinances, and planning guidelines designed to maximize the impacts of TDM on new development. The effectiveness of TDM model ordinances is less in getting cities to adopt them, but more to encourage them to aggressively apply the requirements during the site plan review process.
Example – The Congestion Management Program (CMP) for Los Angeles County requires that all 89 cities within the county adopt a TDM ordinance. The CMP TDM ordinance focuses on designing "TDM-friendly" facilities as part of new development and is realized through the site plan review process. TDM-friendly facilities refer to building design elements that support use of travel modes other than driving alone. Examples include: bicycle parking, preferred parking for carpools and vanpools, and direct building access from the street for pedestrians. The CMP document provides a model local TDM ordinance and requirements.104
Action 4 – Adopt an objectives-driven, performance-based planning process to include TDM
Rationale and Explanation – Truly integrating TDM into operations requires shifting from a project-based approach focused on addressing problems to an objectives-driven, performance-based approach. Such an approach has been promoted by FHWA.105 This approach recognizes that what is measured matters in decision-making, and setting specific, measurable performance objectives will facilitate incorporating operations strategies into the MTP. An objectives-driven, performance-based approach, therefore, is recommended as a means to meet federal transportation planning requirements for including "operational and management strategies to improve the performance of existing transportation facilities" in the MTP and promoting "efficient system management and operation."106
Example – The Champaign Urbana Urbanized Area Transportation Study (CUUATS) in Illinois serves as the transportation-focused arm of region's MPO, the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC). CUUATS has adopted an objectives-driven, performance-based approach to metropolitan transportation planning that is evident throughout its recent plan, Choices 2035.107 Through the development of Choices 2035, CUUATS and its planning partners defined 12 regional goals, several of which tie directly to improving TSM&O. Specific objectives were identified to support each of the 12 regional goals. For each objective, measures of effectiveness to track progress toward the objective and recommended actions were identified. For example, one goal related to access and mobility set a specific target of reducing average peak travel times by 1.5 minutes. The plan identified performance measures that included travel time, level of service, and congestion levels. It also identified specific strategies aimed at meeting this objective, to include alternative modes, car-sharing, and pedestrian and bicycle improvements. The plan includes an evaluation of whether the prior plan objectives were met using established measures of effectiveness (MOEs). CUUATS has witnessed a number of positive outcomes as a result of instituting this approach to planning, including increased public engagement, a greater level of government accountability, and a safer, more bike-friendly community.
Action 5 – Review the role of TDM in the CMP
Rationale and Explanation – TDM can be a significant focus of the Congestion Management Process. As noted earlier in this section, travel demand reduction is an integral part of regional congestion reduction. However, experience shows that TDM, especially as defined in this guidance, varies in its importance in CMP planning efforts. It is important to review the local CMP to assess how well TDM is currently integrated as a set of solution strategies and to find opportunities for better integration.
Example – The objective-driven, performance-based approach, as defined in Action 4, provides an excellent template for MPOs to follow in integrating TDM in an effective manner into the CMP process. Figure 6.3 is from "An Objectives-Driven, Performance-Based Approach to Planning for Operations" and presents the traditional flow of the long-range planning process. The figure shows how objectives can be defined for congestion management as part of the CMP.
Figure 6.3: An Objectives-Driven, Performance-Based Approach to Planning for Operations
Source: U.S. DOT, FHWA
The approach is iterative, with monitoring and evaluating used to refine and adjust operations objectives over time. In addition, developing operations objectives and selecting TDM strategies is often an iterative process. Congestion objectives may be somewhat vague when first drafted and become more specific as financial constraints are clarified and baseline performance data are gathered. Selecting TDM strategies to meet the operations objectives also may be refined as financial constraints are applied. Coordinating and collaborating among planners and operators is a critical component of the approach, which supports developing agreed-upon regional operations objectives, identifying strategies, and monitoring and evaluating system performance.
Action 7 – Identify concrete performance measures for TDM beyond air quality and conformity
Rationale and Explanation – TDM has largely been used as a means to achieve conformity beyond transportation and air quality plans. As such, VMT reduction, which can easily be transformed into emission reduction, has been the primary performance measure. As TDM is used to address other policy objectives (e.g., congestion, livability, land use, economic development) new performance measures will need to be developed. While many of these will have a link to existing performance measures (mode shift, VMT, etc.), new performance measures will evolve.
Example – The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, serving the greater Philadelphia area, has developed a set of livability performance indicators and included them in a livability report card that is shown in Figure 6.4.108
|What We Track
||How is the DVRPC Region Performing?
|TR 1: Have vehicle crashes and fatalities declined?
||Between 2001 and 2005, the DVRPC region experience an 18 percent decrease in fatalities per million VMT and less than 1 percent decrease in all crashes per million
VMT. However, the overall number of crashes rose 4. 6 percent during this same time period.
|TR 2: Is congestion getting worse?
||Congestion appears to be stable – neither improving nor worsening, though VMT has increased.
|TR 3: Is transit ridership increasing?
||While transit ridership has experienced some fluctuation, it has increased in the last 5 years.
|TR 4: Has the number of deficient bridges in need of
rehabilitation or replacement decreased?
||The number of bridges identified as structurally deficient in the DVRPC region has remained steady, but remains twice as high as the acceptable level set by FHWA in its
current strategic plan.
|TR 5: Are roads better maintained?
||The region saw a slight increase in road miles considered to be deficient, mostly due to NJDOT's stricter standards.
|TR 6: Are fewer people driving to work alone?
||The number of people driving to work by themselves continues to increase and is now 73 percent of all commuters.
|TR 7: Are people driving less?
||There are more cars and more drivers driving more miles every year in the region. The region appears to be more auto-dependent.
Figure 6.4: Delaware Valley Livability Report Card
Green = Good Red = Bad
Action 7 – Establish the link between TDM and quality of life
Rationale and Explanation – Perhaps the newest policy objective to be linked to TDM is quality of life, and its related objectives, livability and health. If TDM is all about travel choices, not just for commuting, and these choices are healthier (bike, walk), safer (carpool, vanpool), and less stressful (transit and telework), then they contribute to the overall quality of life of those using these more sustainable modes.
Example – The TSM&O Plan, developed by Oregon Metro, seeks to integrate TDM and roadway management and operations strategies in key corridors in the Portland area. The TSM&O Plan includes four key goals: Reliability, Safety and Security, Quality of Life, and Traveler Information. Therefore, quality of life is a major desired outcome of the plan, and a set of objectives is enumerated that revolve around expanded travel choices and their positive impacts on the community.109
Action 8 – Create a report card or dashboard for TDM performance
Rationale and Explanation – TDM is seldom reported to policy-makers and the public in an accessible and user-friendly manner. The development of a report card or dashboard for reporting TDM performance can help in this regard. This requires the timely collection of overall TDM performance in meeting stated objectives and the means to report them in a simple manner. Some states and regions have developed report cards, state of the commute reports, and TDM dashboards.
Example – The University of Virginia's Parking and Transportation program runs a campus-wide TDM program, including carpooling, car-sharing, parking management, etc. The university reports on the impacts of its TDM program as part of its overall College Sustainability Report Card.110
Additionally, the process for creating a TDM report card has been developed by several sources, including the METRIC process that allows for benchmarking of a state or region's TDM efforts, based on over 100 criteria.111
Action 9 – Assess the current capabilities of the travel demand modeling process to evaluate TDM
Rationale and Explanation – Current travel demand models can help evaluate some TDM strategies, those that can be expressed in terms of time and cost, but off-model tools are more often needed to assess a fuller range of TDM strategies. It is important to review the region's travel demand modeling process in light of the growing role of TDM strategies to determine whether changes to the four-step process might be needed or post-processor tools added to the process.
Example – Chapter 9 includes a description of several existing tools aimed at allowing for the quantification of TDM impacts for various strategies and packages of strategies. This includes the FHWA TDM Evaluation Model and the TRIMMS available from the CUTR (see more discussion in Section 9 on Tools and Techniques for Evaluating TDM). The CUTR has developed guidance entitled "Incorporating Assumptions for TDM Impacts in a Regional Travel Demand Model" for the State of Washington, which provides a very good discussion of these issues.112
Action 10 – Incorporate TDM and travel choices into existing visualization tools and processes
Rationale and Explanation – TDM is most often evaluated in terms of mode shift, vehicle trip, and VMT reduction. However, these measures can be less meaningful to policy makers and traffic engineers who think in terms of traffic flow, speeds, and delay. Therefore, it is crucial to translate TDM impacts into terms that others can better understand. For example, with some simplifying assumptions, VMT reduction can be translated into improvements in delay. As will be shown in the next section on corridor-level planning, this translation of TDM to congestion relief can be visualized using existing tools, such as CORSIM.
Example – The Arlington County Commuter Services program carefully measures the impact of TDM services provided in terms of removing cars from the Virginia region's highways. The program estimates that it removes 40,000 SOVs per day from area roads and this is compared to the capacity of area highways of 4,000 – 6,000 cars during the peak period, concluding that the TDM program reduces the need for multiple lanes of highway to meet traffic demand.113
Action 11 – Broaden the availability of eligible funding beyond CMAQ
Rationale and Explanation – CMAQ is the most prevalent source of funding for TDM, at the state, regional, and even local level. TDM is one of the few strategies that can address both congestion mitigation and air quality simultaneously. However, as TDM rises in importance as a solution strategy for a myriad of policy objectives, additional funding sources will likely be needed. Making the case for funding TDM with traditional highway funds will be the hurdle to be overcome. However, as TDM becomes accepted as a rational approach to maximizing the efficiency of highway management and operations, this barrier should be lowered. One obvious source of federal funding is the dedication of STP funds to TDM. Additionally, regional funding sources, such as county-level dedicated sales tax funds, have been used as well.
Example – The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) operates the regional TDM program under its Smart Mobility Services program. Funding for FY 2012 was just over $6 million, two-thirds of which supports vanpool incentives. While the vast majority of the funding comes from CMAQ, funding for bicycle outreach programs to employers is also funded through federal JARC (Jobs Access Reverse Commute) – New Freedom funds and regional TransNet sales tax revenue.
Action 12 – Strengthen TDM performance evaluation and monitoring methods and tools
Rationale and Explanation – MPOs perform much of the analysis and evaluation related to TDM as part of the planning process and project evaluation efforts linked to funding requirements. MPOs have developed and supported standardized methodologies and related tools to monitor and evaluate TDM programs and strategies. This allows for comparisons over time and across regions and programs in order to provide accountability for funding decisions based on the fulfillment of stated TDM objectives.
Example – MWCOG's Commuter Connections program has been a pioneer in developing, refining, and maintaining rigorous and consistent methodologies for evaluating TDM strategies implemented and supported by the MPO and its partners. This evaluation process, the TERM Evaluation, is conducted on a triennial basis and is based on an approved Evaluation Framework adopted by an evaluation subcommittee of the aforementioned Commuter Connections subcommittee.114
6.4 Actions to Move Metropolitan Planning Process from Level 2 to Level 3
Several specific actions can be suggested to move an MPO's planning process from Level 2 (defined integration of demand management) to Level 3 (optimized integration). Table 6-4 highlights the relative ease or difficulty in moving from Level 2 to Level 3.
Action 1 – Perform a TDM visioning exercise with a broad set of travel choices
Rationale and Explanation – Creating a broad consensus on the need for and benefits of TDM, and the travel choices it represents, should involve input from travelers themselves, since much of TDM is about enhancing travel choices to improve the quality of life for citizens. In order to involve the traveling public, many states (as well as regions and municipalities) are adopting visioning exercises as part of their long-range transportation plan updates. This seeks to gain insight on the choices that travelers want and the kind of urban form they desire. This, in turn, provides rich information with which to craft TDM strategies and their role in addressing key policy objectives.
Example – Several states and regions have used visioning exercises as part of their long-range transportation plan update process. Many of these processes are entitled "Envision," including Envision Utah (Salt Lake valley) and Envision Missoula (see Best Practice case study below). In the case of Missoula, three scenarios were extensively discussed with the public, including: a "business as usual" case, a focus on growth to suburban satellites, and then a "focus inward" scenario to concentrate development and improve travel choices, especially in an "in-town mobility district." This last scenario involved improved transit, bike and walk facilities and services to improve access combined with increased density to manage travel demand. 115
Action 2 – Create incentive-based approaches for TDM and obtain buy-in for funding
Rationale and Explanation – As discussed in Chapter 6, incentives are a key component of the most effective TDM strategies. MPOs can champion the need for and form of such incentives. This may require substantial buy-in from decision-makers to provide the funding and support enabling legislation. Some decision-makers view incentives as "as paying people to do what they should be doing" rather than viewing incentives as short-term measures to induce a longer-term behavior change that supports multiple policy objectives. However, MPOs have substantial control over the allocation of federal funding, namely CMAQ, which has been used for these programs.
Table 6.4: List of Actions and Associated Level of Difficulty to Move Metropolitan Planning Process from Level 2 to Level 3
||Ease of Implementation
|Establishing Vision and Goals|
|1||Perform a TDM visioning exercise with a broad set of travel choices||Moderate||Moderate||Moderate||Moderate||Moderate|
|2||Create incentive-based approaches for TDM and obtain buy-in for funding||Difficult||Moderate||Moderate||Moderate||Moderate|
|Definition of Performance Measures|
|3||Develop performance measures that express TDM effectiveness in operational terms||Low||Moderate||Low||Moderate||Moderate|
|4||Explore role of TDM in improving health and safety and develop objectives accordingly||Moderate||Moderate||Low||Moderate||Moderate|
|Assessment and Selection of Strategies and Programs to Support Objectives|
|5||Develop procedures for considering demand management strategies prior to other, more capital intensive alternatives||Difficult||Moderate||Low||Moderate||Moderate|
|6||Develop new tools/approaches to incorporate all travel choices into the analysis process||Low||Low||Moderate||Moderate||Low|
|Integration of Strategies into Plans and Funding Programs|
|7||Develop capability to include TDM in all projects in an appropriate manner||Moderate||Moderate||Low||Moderate||Moderate|
|Monitoring and Evaluation of Progress Toward Objectives|
|8||Adopt or develop a standardized approach to reporting TDM performance||Low||Low||Moderate||Moderate||Low|
Example – The County Transportation Commissions in Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties have been funding financial incentive programs for commuters for almost 20 years. Funds are provided by federal and county sources. The programs involve the offer of a financial incentive for eligible commuters to switch from driving alone to an alternative mode. After the direct financial incentive has ended (usually after 90 days), commuters who continue in an alternative mode are eligible for "club" type awards and drawings. Evaluations of these incentive programs have shown them to be very cost effective in reducing VMT and as such, decision-making bodies at each of these agencies continue to support the programs.
Action 3 – Develop performance measures that express TDM effectiveness in operational terms
Rationale and Explanation – The most prevalent performance measures for TDM are either output based (e.g., number of carpools formed) or outcome based (e.g., resulting VMT reduction). However, these metrics are sometimes foreign to other transportation planners, engineers, and especially policy-makers. There is a need to translate TDM effectiveness into terms that traditional transportation planners and engineers can better understand, such as reductions in delay, increase in person throughput, and reductions in needed lane miles. While one might argue that performance measures that are expressed in terms of the utilization of sustainable modes or increases in quality of life indices are just as important, TDM will be partially judged by those focused on the efficient operation of the road system.
Example – Using VMT reduction, volumes and speeds, estimates of reduction in delay can be derived. Going one step further, the CUTR has developed a methodology that merges mode shift data with a highway micro-simulation model to graphically show how employer trip reduction programs can reduce delay for a given highway segment.116 This research was originally conducted using CTR data from the Seattle region as applied to a portion of I-5 through downtown Seattle. The report titled "Impact of Employer-based Programs on Transit System Ridership and Transportation System Performance"117 shows the deterioration of travel speeds in the absence of the VMT reductions caused by employer TDM programs. More information is provided in the following chapter on corridor-level planning.
Action 4 – Explore role of TDM in improving health and safety and develop objectives accordingly
Rationale and Explanation – Two broad policy objectives that can be addressed with TDM include personal health and safety. MPOs, with mandates broader than transportation, can help elevate the role of TDM in addressing health and safety. Growing evidence (as shown in Chapter 3) suggests that users of alternative modes are healthier (in terms of fitness and stress) and that these modes can be safer than driving alone, especially in light of growing concern about distracted driving. Clearly, TDM's role in air quality is ultimately focused on health concerns.
Example – The Whatcom Council of Governments in Bellingham, WA, has incorporated health and safety into the TDM activities within its long-range transportation plan. The 2007 Whatcom Transportation Plan includes 13 key goals, related to: public information and education, safety, access, environmental justice, connectivity, freight mobility, con gestion and mobility, TDM, alternative forms of transportation, land use, health, public participation, and other modes. The inclusion of safety and health, within a plan so focused on sustainable travel modes, illustrates the importance of these two emerging policy objectives.118
Action 5 – Develop procedures for considering demand management strategies prior to other, more capital-intensive alternatives
Rationale and Explanation – While federal planning guidance suggests that alternatives be considered before options that accommodate the SOV, state MPOs may wish to consider structuring this philosophy in the planning process by requiring that specific corridor planning efforts first prove why TDM cannot be a primary solution before considering options that add capacity, or even efficiency improvements. This would require a fundamental change in thinking that involves viewing TDM not as a short-term mitigation strategy, but as a long-term approach to reducing overall vehicle demand.
Example – For its 2025 Long Range Transportation Plan, the Brevard MPO (FL) performed a five-level strategy screening process for ten regionally significant corridors in Brevard County to identify potential projects and strategies for further consideration. This process evaluated the potential application of numerous transportation and land use strategies for each corridor according to the following five prioritized strategy tiers:
- Actions that decrease the need for trip making (such as growth management strategies, creation of activity centers, congestion pricing, and some transportation demand strategies).
- Actions that place trips into transit or other non-automobile modes (such as public transportation capital and operating improvements, parking management, and other strategies).
- Actions that encourage the use of HOV lanes.
- Actions that optimize the roadway network's operation for SOV trips and for all other trips using. highway facilities/modes (traffic signalization modifications, intelligent transportation systems, etc.).
- Actions that increase the capacity of the roadway network for SOV trips by adding general-purpose lanes.
Action 6 – Develop new tools/approaches to incorporate all travel choices into the analysis process
Rationale and Explanation – Moving from the defined approach to a more optimized integration of TDM may require the development of tailored and specialized analytic tools to evaluate the effectiveness of TDM strategies in addressing key policy objectives. While many "off the shelf" tools now exist, in order to analyze the full set of TDM strategies and their impact across a myriad of objectives, specialized tools may be required. This might include new, tailored means of using the traditional four-step travel models or newer activity-based models. It might also involve other new tools, such as the micro-simulation tool, developed by CUTR and discussed in the next section that uses employer TDM data and CORSIM.
Example – The traditional four-step travel demand modeling process can be used to evaluate TDM strategies that can be analyzed in terms of time and cost variables. However, many off-model tools have been developed to analyze congestion pricing strategies, bicycle and walk strategies, and other strategies that cannot be expressed in terms of time and cost indicators. As mentioned above, a good discussion of the means to incorporate TDM into regional travel demand models is provided by CUTR in a report entitled "Incorporating Assumptions for TDM Impacts in a Regional Travel Demand Model." This approach, which was developed for WSDOT, includes a specific TDM Assessment Procedure that uses the CUTR TRIMMS model and processes resulting TDM impacts through standard trip tables.119 In fact, the use of the TRIMMS model itself (discussed in Chapter 9) to perform cost/benefit analysis for TDM strategies could represent a significant movement toward mainstreaming TDM integration.
Action 7 – Develop capability to include TDM in ALL projects in an appropriate manner
Rationale and Explanation – Once TDM becomes optimized and managing demand becomes an overall philosophy of how to manage and operate the transportation system, then TDM strategies will become a part of most if not all projects. This requires a strong capability at the management and technical levels to assure that TDM is appropriately considered for all projects, both in the long-range planning process as well as individual project-level planning.
Example – The Oregon Metro's Regional Transportation Systems Management and Operations Plan includes four sets of strategies targeted at key corridors. These include capital and operating projects in four key areas: multimodal traffic management, traveler information, traffic incident management, and TDM.120 The funding for TDM, as shown in Figure 6.5, is almost 45% of total 10-year funding for these corridor-level strategies and projects.
Total 10 Year TSMO Plan Cost in Millions
Figure 6.5: Oregon Metro Regional 10 Year TSMO Plan Cost
Source: Oregon Metro Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation
Action 8 – Adopt or develop a standardized approach to reporting TDM performance
Rationale and Explanation – In order to provide an effective feedback loop to the objective setting and strategy selection process, standardized TDM evaluation methodologies are required. This might involve developing a tailored approach for a given MPO or adopting a widely accepted methodology. Such methodology development or adoption should be vetted with TDM professionals and researchers to assure that it is understandable, rigorous, and usable.
Example – The MAX-SUMO monitoring and evaluation approach developed in Europe is easily adaptable to the U.S. experience for many TDM strategies. The methodology is described in Chapter 9.
6.5 Best Practice Examples: Metropolitan-Level TDM Integration
A cornerstone of the 2008 Missoula MPO's Metropolitan Transportation Plan was a visioning process ("Envision Missoula"), which included a set of future scenarios that "represent different concepts of what Missoula might be like with a population of 200,000." Two of the three scenarios sought to manage travel demand by refocusing growth in either multiple town centers or a single concentrated downtown area. The purpose of the scenarios is to "explore the potential benefits of managing travel demand by concentrating activity in a highly walkable and transit-friendly downtown area." The upshot of the scenario planning and evaluation is that the plan includes a mix of transit, bicycle/pedestrian, and other TDM-related projects.
Underlying the visioning efforts, the MPO's Transportation Technical Advisory Committee formed a TDM subcommittee called "Missoula in Motion" (MIM). The work of this entity is funded with federal CMAQ funds, supported by cash and in-kind services. MIM's preliminary TDM efforts focused on outreach, education, and marketing to both employers and the public at large. As MIM has evolved, it has codified its approach to introducing and implementing TDM activities in Missoula within the following five steps:
- Coordinate the efforts of all agencies involved in TDM in Missoula through the MIM Steering Committee.
- Work with employers to establish and maintain programs that reduce work-related trips.
- Create and implement an on-going, broad-based public education campaign to make people aware of their options and encourage them to reduce the number of miles they drive.
- Provide, enhance, and market certain TDM services to give Missoulians more convenient and affordable alternatives to driving alone.
- Evaluate the program to determine its impact and ensure that resources are being used effectively.
Another effective component to the MPO's TDM efforts is its annual "TDM Congress," a working TDM dinner event to which boards, policy-makers, and representatives from business and community groups are invited. During the event, participants brainstorm TDM strategies and priorities for the region and discuss methods of both supporting and advancing these strategies.
The work of the Missoula MPO and its MIM subcommittee provide an excellent example of a small, relatively isolated metropolitan area that has not only recognized the need to explicitly incorporate TDM into its long-range transportation planning processes but also taken the steps necessary to develop specific TDM projects and programs in order to meet its future regional transportation needs.
To further articulate regional TDM goals, recommend TDM activities to meet these goals, guide investments in TDM activities, define an administrative structure to oversee the regional TDM program, and establish evaluation measures, the Denver Regional Council of Governments has published a regional TDM Strategic Plan.121 The plan "identifies TDM as a key strategy for meeting the goal of providing "safe, environmentally sensitive and efficient mobility choices" for the region's residents and visitors. Providing viable travel options and supporting infrastructure simultaneously opens roadway capacity, increases transit system efficiency, and decreases auto travel. Expanded travel options allow individuals to select from various modes to meet travel needs, make trips during less congested times, and avoid some auto trips altogether.
- The plan identified a very broad and ambitious rationale for TDM, encompassing the notion of choices.
- Reducing vehicle use and congestion will lead to lower levels of pollution. When traffic flow is improved, vehicle idling times are minimized and engine efficiency is improved, which means less pollution.
- Efficient land-use patterns that mix residential and commercial uses, have moderate or high densities, provide good access to transit stops, and provide an interconnected pedestrian and bicycle network can decrease SOV trips.
- Reducing the need for new and expanded transportation facilities will lower infrastructure costs.
- Less SOV use allows local governments and private businesses to build fewer parking spaces.
- More travel-mode options and faster travel times can improve regional access to jobs and services.
- Making walking and bicycling more feasible and attractive can improve community health.
- Providing the elderly with convenient options like walking, bicycling, transit, and ridesharing helps them remain independent and productive. Currently 12 percent of the region's population is age 60 or older; this number will increase to more than 22 percent by 2030.
- People who cannot drive will have better access to jobs, health services, education, and other daily needs.
Perhaps uniquely, the TDM plan clearly identifies the location emphasis of the TDM efforts. While the plan states that TDM promotional efforts will occur throughout the region and incentives will be available in all areas, it notes that efforts will also be targeted toward certain areas such as:
- CBDs of larger cities
- High-employment concentrations
- Along highway corridors with bus/ HOV lanes
- Adjacent to rapid transit stations and high-transit service locations.
In addition, specific goals and actions are identified in the plan and funding sources are identified for achieving the actions.
2035 Houston-Galveston Regional Transportation Plan – Executive Summary, October 26, 2009, http://www.h-gac.com/taq/plan/documents/2035_final/2035%20RTP%20ExSum%202007-10-26%20REVISED.pdf
A Framework for TDM in the Transportation Planning Process – Technical Memorandum: State of the Practice Review – Appendix B – Integrating Travel Demand Management in the Metropolitan Transportation Planning Process: Draft, March 22, 2010
Black and Schreffler, Understanding TDM and its Role in Delivery of Sustainable Urban Transport, Transportation Research Record 2163, 2010.
FHWA, Advanced Metropolitan Planning for Operations: An Objectives-driven, Performance –based Approach – A Guidebook, FHWA Report No, HOP-10-026, 2010.
Fraser Basin Council, "TDM – A Small and Medium Sized Communities Toolkit," 2009.
Jennings, H. , TDM: The Software that Supports the TOD Hardware, Arlington Commuter Services, October 2011
"Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU)," Section 6001(i), 2005
SHRP II, Guide for Improving Capability for Systems Operation and Management, TRB, prepared by Parsons Brinkerhoff, Report S2-L06-RR-2, 2011.
Washington State Department of Transportation(WSDOT) Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) Laws & Program Requirements, http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Transit/CTR/law.htm
WSDOT, Incorporating Assumptions for TDM Impacts in a Regional Travel Demand Model, prepared by CUTR, report WA-RD-746. 1, March 2010.
Whatcom COG, Whatcom Transportation Plan: A Combined Metropolitan and Regional Plan, June 25, 2007.
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