Published on March 7, 2014
Creating Better Places With TDM: A Tool for Measuring Access to Multi-Modal Travel Options at the Building Level A Capstone Project Presented to faculty of Sustainable Urban Planning in the College of Professional Studies at The George Washington University In fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Professional Studies in Sustainable Urban Planning by Brett Jones December 15, 2013
Table of Contents Executive Summary Introduction to Transportation Demand Management Benefits of TDM Measuring TDM Success TDM and Sustainable Development A Brief Background on Arlington, VA Regional Context – State of Travel and Planning A Regional Model for the Rest of the Country Sustainable Development in Arlington New Frontiers for TDM A Shifting Paradigm – TDM in the Spotlight Shifting Preferences – The Millennial Topic The Rise of Collaborative Consumption Alternative Workspaces New Transportation Modes Enhanced by Technology Emerging Technologies Helping to Reshape the TDM Industry Options, Options, Options New Opportunities to Embrace Multi-Modalism Multi-Modal Transportation Score – Measuring Transportation Access at the Building Level Using Transportation Amenities to Fill Vacancies Methodology Explanation of TDM Interventions Compiling ModeScore Limitations and Weighting Results What is a Good ModeScore ? Further Comparison of Site Plan vs. Non Site Plan Performance ModeScore as a Tool for Buildings Opportunities for Supporting Sustainable Development – A Policy Recommendation for Arlington County, VA Elements of Arlington’s TDM Policy Creating Better Partners with TDM ModeScore for Arlington County Site Plans Limitations and Areas for Expansion 3 4 4 5 6 7 7 8 9 10 10 11 12 12 12 14 16 16 Works Cited 37 Appendix A – Sample ATP Quick Glance Appendix B – Transportation Display Kiosk Survey Appendix C – Sample ‘Certificate of Occupancy’ Checklist 41 42 43 16 17 18 20 21 22 26 26 28 29 30 31 32 34 35 2
Executive Summary Transportation access in the United States is in a state of constant motion. New transportation modes and systems join shifting preferences of where people live, work and play, and how they get around. Increasingly, technology is influencing the way we travel, by supporting the creation of new transportation systems, and also new ways to access information about existing transportation options. This paper looks at the current state of mobility in the United States, with an emphasis on programs related to the practice of transportation demand management, and its impact on sustainable development through reducing congestion, improving environmental quality and improving social wellness. The analysis provides an overview of transportation demand management practices in the United States, and uses the Washington, DC Metro region as a backdrop to discuss trends and best practices affecting transportation, including demographic shifts, new technologies and evolving preferences. What emerges is an evolution toward a more multi-modal society, where users rely on several transportation options and systems to get around. Buildings are under increased pressure to offer environments that encourage and support multi-modal travel. This paper offers a new tool to measure multi-modal access at the building level, using a building’s inherent accessibility based on physical location, and also incorporating steps that buildings take to improve access to the site through the adoption of transportation demand management programs. The result is a Multi-Modal Transportation Score for each building, measuring how effective it is at promoting a variety of alternative transportation options. The Multi-Modal Transportation Score is applied to a series of buildings in Arlington, VA, looking at trends in how buildings perform based on location, type and involvement with local transportation partners. This analysis uses this information to provide guidance on how buildings can use this tool to market their properties, and improve overall building performance. Finally, this analysis includes a specific policy recommendation targeted at how Arlington County, VA can incorporate this new tool into its already robust sustainable development policies, leading to better partnerships and improved performance toward achieving stated goals of reducing congestion through promotion of alternative transportation modes. 3
Introduction to Transportation Demand Management As a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) with nearly 6 million people (U.S. Census Bureau), the Washington, DC region is one of the most crowded and congested in the United States. Each day, millions must navigate local roads and transit systems en route to their place of employment. Many choose to do so in their personal vehicles, driving alone. But, a growing number are choosing more sustainable forms of transportation, using local rail, bus and bike systems to manage their daily commute. Increasingly, the Washington, DC region is adopting Transportation Demand Management (TDM) principles, combined with an increased focus on sustainable, transit oriented development (TOD) practices to improve quality of life in the region by 1) working to provide additional transportation options and 2) providing tools and resources to help travelers make educated choices about how they move throughout the region. To define TDM, I borrow a phrase from an undergraduate professor of mine at the University of Iowa. Originally used to describe the role of marketing in business, ‘getting the dogs to eat the dog food’ aptly describes the role of TDM in helping individuals evaluate their transportation choices. Simply put, transportation demand management is the application of strategies and policies to reduce travel demand (specifically that of singleoccupancy private vehicles), or to redistribute this demand in space or in time (VTPI, 2008). TDM programs provide support through marketing and outreach, incentives, trip planning and other means to educate and build awareness of available transportation options, and create more effective use of existing transit systems. TDM is the soft infrastructure that enhances and supports the hard infrastructure of the various transportation modes. In most jurisdictions, TDM outreach is targeted toward the employer population in a given jurisdiction – helping to manage the daily commutes of employees traveling to and from their worksite. As this paper will explore, the role of TDM is beginning to expand, both in scope of outreach, and in target market. Using the example of Arlington County, VA, this paper will examine the shifting trends that are re-defining traditional approaches to TDM, and suggest new opportunities to enhance sustainable mobility options not just for commuting, but for trips of all kinds. Benefits of TDM In 2011, transportation systems currently account for nearly 28% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, second only to the electricity sector (EPA, 2011). Reducing travel demand through TDM practices can have a measurable impact in limiting the amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted through our transportation systems. Congestion relief is another primary benefit of TDM. Simply put, more people using different modes of transportation removes the number of cars from the road. TDM can reduce the number of cars on the road, while increasing the number of people who travel through a given corridor. The EPA’s Smart Growth program outlines (EPA, 2013) additional benefits of reducing travel demand, including impacts on public health and safety. Improving the built environment can improve public health by making it easier for people to choose active 4
transportation modes for part or all of each trip. Also, less cars on the road in general creates a safer environment for pedestrians, bike riders and other drivers. Shift between modes Less Stress Less Exposure to Pollution Less Traffic Accidents Longer life Healtheri Life Fewer injuries/ diseases Cost Savings More Physical Activity Health Impacts Less VMT More Active Travel Cost savings Determinant Outreach Information Subsidies Behavior Changes TDM New research recently undertaken in Arlington County, VA attempts to quantify the return on investment for transportation demand management practices related to improving public health. Below is an outline of how TDM can impact the personal ROI for a commuter, as well as for a community, employer or building by encouraging alternative, active modes of transportation. Individual Community Figure 1: Source - Simple Solutions Planning and Design, LLC The study looked at two calculators, attempting to measure the potential ROI for TDM programs related to reducing costs associated with personal mortality, loss of productivity and workers’ compensation. Results show that the potential for Arlington County, given their annual $10.5 million budget for TDM programs, is an annual savings of nearly $20 million in health impacts – nearly a 200% return on investment (Soneji, 2013). This suggests that among the other benefits of TDM, providing access the active modes, such as biking and walking can have a significant impact on community health, with real cost savings for al parties. Other benefits of TDM, though more difficult to measure, include reductions in stress, increases in productivity, improved retention and recruiting and higher rates of employee and resident satisfaction. For buildings and site developments, TDM can improve building marketability, attract and retain tenants, help mitigate emissions and create better performing buildings. Measuring TDM Success TDM measures and policies vary widely throughout the country, and are often managed on a jurisdictional level, with some oversight from a regional government body, such as an MPO. Because of this, traditional forms of measurement have been lacking. Recently, there has been a push to develop more uniform performance measures for the TDM industry (Thompson, 2013). Many of these measures, used by some organizations (such as Arlington County) include measuring the number of vehicle trips reduced from local roads, as well as corresponding reductions in the number of vehicle miles traveled (VMT). These traditional measures, however, are also being re-evaluated in favor of a greater focus on human mobility – new performance measures may look at the number of people moved through a corridor, rather than the number of cars removed. Specifically, this paper will attempt to measure TDM in the form of access provided – how well buildings, employers and residential properties provide their populations with the resources necessary to make effective decisions about how they travel. 5
TDM and Sustainable Development Sustainable development, first defined in the UN’s “Our Common Future”, can be applied to the development of commercial, residential and other properties. In this case, sustainable development is described as building so that new developments contribute to the triple bottom line of economic prosperity, social well-being and environmental stewardship. In the real-estate community, economic sustainability includes minimizing life-cycle costs (construction, operation and demolition), and maximizing the functionality of the building’s design, aesthetics and systems. Social sustainability includes a focus on creating well-being for the building inhabitants and visitors by providing a healthy environment, opportunities for interaction, and an aesthetically pleasing environment. Finally, environmental sustainability involves building and operating a building in a way that minimizes the impact on natural systems and consumption of resources (Schuman, 2010). Most commonly, environmental sustainability is measured through ‘green-building’ systems such as the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) system. Looking specifically at the role of TDM in supporting sustainable development, TDM supports sustainable buildings by ensuring that transportation systems run more smoothly – more individuals have access to more options. Todd Litman further applies transportation to the definition of sustainability by pointing out that ‘sustainable’ planning means that local, short-term decisions are compatible with strategic regional and global long-term goals (Litman, 2013). The table below, borrowed from The Victoria Transport Policy Institute (VTPI, 2008) outlines a number of transportation indicators that can influence the triple-bottom-line of a given site or project development: Economic Traffic congestion Mobility barriers Crash damages Transportation facility costs Consumer transportation costs Depletion of non-renewable resources Social Inequity of impacts Mobility disadvantaged Human health impacts Community cohesion Community livability Aesthetics Environmental Air pollution Climate change Habitat loss Water pollution Hydrologic impacts Noise pollution Figure 2: Triple Bottom Line Impacts of Transportation at Building Level Transportation demand management strategies applied at the site level can directly influence a number of these transportation indicators. Compared to traditional TDM outreach, incorporating TDM at the site or building level is a relatively new concept in most jurisdictions. Data on the individual policies for development vary across cities and regions. Some, such as Arlington County, VA have adopted formal TDM policies for commercial and residential development (discussed later in this paper). Other jurisdictions, such as Bellevue, WA have developed local trip-reduction ordinances (TRO). Trip reduction ordinances (TROs) are local, regional, or state government requirements designed to encourage the use of transportation alternatives such as ridesharing, transit, bicycling, and walking - or even telecommunications substitutes - rather than a single occupant vehicle (EPA). 6
A Brief Background on Arlington, VA Arlington, VA is an urban county located just outside Washington, DC. Comprising only 26 square miles of land, Arlington is the smallest county in the United States. Arlington’s population on January 1, 2013 was 212,900 (Arlington County Government, 2013). Of those (a total workforce of 138,000) only around 40,000 work in Arlington – the rest are commuting to other jurisdictions, including Washington, DC and Tyson’s Corner, VA. Conversely, workers from throughout the region come to Arlington to fill its nearly 240,000 jobs. Arlington is characterized by its unique approach to urban development, concentrating growth in dense, walkable transit-oriented-development (TOD) zones surrounding local Metrorail stations. These ‘urban villages’ are distinct neighborhoods, each with their own character, amenities and access to a variety of transportation options. Regional Context – State of Travel and Planning The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) is the local MPO for the Washington, DC metropolitan statistical area. MWCOG manages transportation demand management programs for the region consisting of Washington, DC and other surrounding jurisdictions: • Arlington County, VA • Alexandria County, VA • Fairfax County, VA • Loudon County, VA • Prince William County, VA • Frederick County, MD • Prince George’s County, MD • Montgomery County, MD Figure 3: Map of MWCOG Jurisdictions • Charles County, VA MWCOG is the regional body that manages a suite of TDM programs, providing funding and support to local governments. In a recent report, MWCOG outlined regional transportation goals via the Regional Transportation Priorities Plan (MWCOG, 2013). Among the six goals of the plan, two are directly related to the implementation of TDM strategies in support of sustainable development sites. Goal #1 is stated as ‘Provide a Comprehensive Range of Transportation Options, and speaks directly to TDM’s role in providing choice and access to a multi-modal range of travel options. Goal #2, stated as ‘Promote a Strong Regional Economy, Including a Healthy Regional Core and Dynamic Activity Centers’, looks at the region as a whole, and looks to capitalize on the benefits of sustainable development in supporting dense, walkable urban areas (activity centers). One way in which MWCOG measures the evolution of travel throughout the region is through its ‘State of the Commute’ survey. The survey is completed every 3 years, selecting a sample of residents from each of the 11 member jurisdictions to analyze shifts in commuting patterns, as well as awareness of transportation options and incentive programs. In 2013, recognizing the shifting definition of travel in the TDM industry, the survey asked about travel routes and interest in emerging technologies, such as dynamic ridesharing services. Overall results from the 2013 survey suggest some notable changes in the dynamics of regional travel. For example, between 2001 and 2013, the number of respondents who self- 7
identify as ‘occasional’ teleworkers has risen from 11% to 27% (MWCOG, Commuter Connections 2013 State of the Commute Survey Results, 2013). This suggests an increasing opportunity to provide TDM services to individuals at their homes – particularly in dense areas populated by multi-family residential buildings. Further, 50% of survey respondents in 2013 live less than ½ mile from a bus stop, while 65% live less than 1 mile from a bus stop. With a significant number living within walking distance of bus service, there exists increasing opportunity to educate residents about local bus options, particularly in providing route information and real-time arrival/departure information. It should be pointed out, however, that regionally, only 17% have access to rail within 1 mile of their home. In close-in jurisdictions, such as Arlington and Washington, DC, this number much higher. Similarly, in these close-in jurisdictions, 84% of residents are within ½ mile of a bus stop – creating even greater opportunity to improve access. In other words, regionally, an increased focus in being provided to ideas supported by TDM – providing a variety of transportation options concentrated in dense, walkable areas. The concept of activity centers has taken on other forms, most notably the form of ‘Walkable Urban Place’, defined by Chris Leinberger in the next section. A Regional Model for the Rest of the Country Thought leaders in Washington, DC have recently begun to flex the muscle of the entire region, analyzing not only existing developments and their role in sustainability, but also the potential that exists in controlling or retrofitting existing suburban growth outside the city core. Many, when they think of Arlington County, for example, forget that it is a suburb of Washington, DC. The commitment to sustainable, walkable growth has been such that Arlington is viewed as almost an extension of Washington, DC. A similar effect could be said for areas in Montgomery County such as Bethesda and Silver Spring. Chris Leinberger, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, and professor at the George Washington University has expanded on this idea with his research surrounding WalkUps, or Walkable Urban Places. Mr. Leinberger argues that in recent decades, metropolitan real estate development in the United States has taken two primary forms – drive-able suburban and walkable urban. In the former, real estate development often stands alone, isolated from other projects, connected only by private auto. In the latter, higher density creates neighborhoods in which real estate projects with a variety of uses are clustered together, and sites are accessed via a range of transportation modes. Following the ‘Great Recession’ (Rampell, 2009), development trends began to dramatically shift toward projects of the walkable urban variety. Leinberger points out that in the period from 1992 – 2000, walkable urban development accounted for only 24% of income property in the region. During the period from 2009 to present, that has increased to 48%. More and more, developers are recognizing the market signals that suggest increasing benefits of walkable urban development. 8
Figure 4: 43 'WalkUps' in the DC Metro The above image shows the 43 identified WalkUps in the DC region, and identifies several ‘regionally significant’ centers outside the urban core (Leinberger, Footloose and Fancy Free: A Field Survey of Walkable Urban Places in the Top 30 Metro Areas, 2007). This suggests that sustainable development, and multi-modal transportation does not have to occur in the dense urban centers of Downtown. By concentrating growth in dense areas and developing walkable neighborhoods, even suburban centers can benefit from the effects of becoming a walkable, multi-modal, urban place. Of particular significance here is Arlington, VA. On the map above, there are seven (7) WalkUps in Arlington County, VA. Many of these exist thanks to a long-term vision on behalf of the County to leverage investments in the Metro rail line, and create a series of ‘Urban Villages’, centered on the concept of walkable, transit oriented development. Although technically suburban, the result of this planning, as discussed in greater detail below, has been a series of dense, walkable nodes, and an extremely low rate of singleoccupancy-vehicle (SOV) travel. Sustainable Development in Arlington When developers are looking to build, or renovate, in Arlington County, they must follow a rigorous site plan development process. In Arlington, there exists a system of proffers (Fairfax County Government, 2009), in which developers can meet certain requirements to achieve higher density. Of course, developers always have the option to develop ‘by right’, subject to the zoning code of each district. In a majority of cases in Arlington, particularly in areas around the carefully planned transit-oriented ‘urban villages’, (CarFreeDiet.com) developers realize the market potential of increased densities, and are generally willing to participate in the proffer system in exchange for a more marketable project. Taken from the 9
Arlington County Department of Community Planning and Housing Development (DCPHD), the site-plan process can be explained this way: The Site Plan Review Process provides a tool for the County Board to vary the uses, heights, setbacks, densities and regulations of a zoning district for a specific project to meet goals as reflected in adopted Sector Plans, the Comprehensive Plan or other policies. The majority of proposals that go through the Site Plan Review Process are for hotel, residential, office and mixed-use development in certain high density zoning districts, usually located within the Metro Corridors. During the review process, Arlington County staff evaluates all elements of the proposed development, including site characteristics and proposed land use. The transportation impacts of the site are also heavily scrutinized – how will the new development impact local traffic patterns, parking and travel through the neighborhood? These impacts and opportunities are then incorporated as TDM elements into the project’s site plan requirements. Typically, the developer is involved throughout the process, and a negotiation takes place. Some elements, however, as I’ll discuss later, are typically required by every site plan that gets approval. Arlington’s site plan review process is complex and intensive. While TDM elements focus primarily on the transportation programs that are incorporated into each site, a number of other requirements and considerations are included. These cover a variety of conditions, including: public utility enhancements or extensions, traffic and street lights, street and sidewalk improvements, signage, urban design standards, emergency access standards and a host of other site-specific requirements (Arlington CPHD). More detail about the County’s site-plan process will be given later in this analysis, in the form of formal recommendations for changing County policies. New Frontiers for TDM Over the last several years, a number of shifting preferences and demographics have created opportunities to re-think how TDM is approached. Evolving preferences among Millennial and Baby Boomer generations are seeing more people moving to urban areas, lower levels of driving and car ownership, and an increased preference for access to a variety of transportation options. Additionally, new technologies are creating access to new types of transportation options – which must be integrated into TDM strategies. What follows is a review of these changes, and how TDM practitioners can embrace these new opportunities. A Shifting Paradigm – TDM in the Spotlight One doesn’t have to look far to discover evidence that the way we travel is changing. Many recent articles and publications have suggested that we are at or past ‘peak car’ (Sivak, 2013). Americans seem to be driving less – suggesting that several important shifts in mobility may be taking place – 1) individuals are seeking new options for travel and 2) shifts in work and shopping patterns are suggesting that we do not travel as frequently or as far as we used to. It could be inferred that the very definition of transportation is changing. Where transportation used to simply refer to mobility (physical travel to a fixed destination), a new definition now encompasses access, and the ability of individuals to reach the services, amenities and destinations they require – not just for work travel, but for all trips (Litman, 2013). 10
Take for example the most recent data from the National Household Travel Survey (NHTS), in 2009. Data illustrates that household trips to and from work (commute trips) only account for 22% of total household trips taken on average. The remaining 78% of trips are personal errands of various types– such as shopping, social, school or church (U.S DOT, 2010). By encouraging, and providing options for sustainable modes for all trip types, TDM can have a greater impact in reducing automobile travel. Further, by creating dense, walkable communities, TDM can complement sustainable development by reducing the total distance that must be traveled for each individual trip, as individuals have access to the things they need at a closer distance. Also worth noting, vehicle ownership has shown a measurable decline. In the 2009 NHTS survey, vehicles per household were 1.86, down from 1.89 in 2001. While a small decrease, this represents the first decline in vehicles per household since the study began in 1969. This shift calls for a change in how we think about planning for transportation, and suggests that simply building infrastructure isn’t enough. A traditional approach of building new roads only leads to induced demand for SOV travel, as argued by Jeff Speck in his 2013 book Walkable City (Speck, 2013). In order to maximize the benefits of multi-modal travel, planning for transportation access must be included in the development process, from the regional down to the site-plan level. Going further, implementing TDM measures to encourage, educate and provide improved access to new transportation modes will be increasingly important in the future. Shifting Preferences – the Millennial Topic Much has been written in the last several years about the emerging preferences of the socalled Millennial generation. Typically defined as those aged 18-34, the Millennial Generation is rapidly re-defining traditional trends in how people live. Among the demonstrated trends from the Millennial generation is an increasing number living in urban areas (Pew , 2010), a preference for walkable urban development, and a decreased dependency on automobiles (APTA, 2013). Millennials are also counted as the most likely generation to embrace new technologies. As such, many of the new modes re-defining urban mobility are targeted primarily at this generation. While this certainly raises important issues surrounding equity and access, it cannot be ignored that the primary market for many of these new options, and the demographic that will be providing the critical mass to make them viable, is the Millennial generation. However, it must be acknowledged that while these trends exist today, predicting how this generation will behave in the future is difficult. Though Millennials may be starting families and purchasing homes later in life than previous generations, there remains a strong likelihood that this generation will still seek the type of single-family homes that their parents did (Kotkin, 2013). TDM has a role to play in providing mobility options, so that walkable urban development remains a preference as this generation ages. This also amplifies the importance of creating walkable urban developments in suburban areas, as has been done in Arlington County, VA through its transit oriented Urban Villages (CarFreeDiet.com). 11
The Rise of Collaborative Consumption One of the fundamental shifts in urban mobility over the last several years has been the emergence of the ‘sharing economy’. From a transportation standpoint, this is being driven by three separate ideas – car sharing, bike sharing and dynamic ridesharing. In each of these, the burden of ownership is taken away from the individual, while the freedom of mobility remains. The so-called ‘sharing economy’ has been the subject of numerous articles as of late (Today's Smart Choice: Don't Own. Share., 2011). Extending beyond transportation options, the growing ‘share’ sector also includes peer-to-peer consumption of everything from transportation options to housing, travel and consumer goods, including companies like AirBnB and Netflix. Particularly embraced by Millennials, these emerging technologies and tools are highly social, technologically focused, and are meant to be consumed on demand – using technology to embrace the idea that products and services are available when needed, but to not need to be owned. Alternative Workspaces The sharing economy is also beginning to change how people work, leading to an increase in shared office, co-working space and ‘hoteling’. Each of these new ideas is a change from how we traditionally think of employment, and thus requires a change in how we think about mobility – new work environments will require new transportation options, and perhaps new incentives. Particularly in the residential market, there will be increased opportunity to provide amenities that provide teleworking and co-working resources for residents. New Transportation Modes Enhanced by Technology Within the last few years, a number of new transportation options have begun to take hold in Arlington, and other cities. These new modes, typically social in nature, are supported by technology, boosted by social media, and targeted primarily at the tech-focused urban Millennials. These new modes include bike sharing, car sharing and dynamic ridesharing. Bike sharing Though not particularly new, the concept of bike sharing is entering a ‘golden-age’ in the United States. Following the lead of successful systems in Washington, DC, Minneapolis, MN and Madison, WI, there are now bike sharing systems in operation or planning in nearly all major U.S. cities. 12
Figure 5: Growth of Bike-Sharing Programs in the U.S. The bike share program in the Washington, DC region, Capital Bikeshare, was installed in 2010, and has been one of the most successful examples of bicycle sharing in the United States. The program originally launched with 110 bike stations – 95 in Washington, DC and 15 in Arlington’s Crystal City neighborhood. To date, the system has expanded to over 300 stations, with expansion into Alexandria, VA and Montgomery County, MD. Currently, there are 56 stations located within Arlington, with additional expansion planned for 2014. As of October 2013, the Capital Bikeshare system has over 40,000 annual members – and thousands more monthly and daily users (Bikeshare, 2013). For the past six months starting in May 2013, the Capital Bikeshare system has averaged over 250,000 individual rides per month, system wide. For the same period, around 20,000 monthly trips have been taken in Arlington. Research has also supported the idea that Capital Bikeshare is being used as a mode for general travel, and not just commuting. The 2013 Capital Bikeshare Membership Survey (Diggins, 2013) revealed that 58% of users commute with Capital Bikeshare for at least part of their trip. Additionally, 70% of users report using Capital Bikeshare for other trips such as shopping or dining. One interesting note about bike sharing, and other emerging modes of travel, is that they are not just pulling drivers out of cars, but are also potentially cannibalizing other modes as well. Also from the 2013 Capital Bikeshare Membership Survey, 50% of users reported driving less as a result of bikeshare, while 60% reported fewer trips on Metrorail. 13
Car Sharing Car sharing as a transportation mode is similar to bikeshare in that it allows users to temporarily access a vehicle on a short-term basis, without committing to ownership. Though the market is still growing, the most established car sharing program to date is Zipcar. Zipcar leases parking spots throughout a metropolitan area, creating a network of available cars that residents can rent by the hour, usually booking online, or through a mobile app. Much like bikeshare, and other technology focused solutions outlined below; Zipcar is heavily targeted toward the Millennial generation, recognizing the growth of that market segment, and their evolving preferences away from car ownership ( (Zipcar, 2011). Like other shared modes, car sharing platforms, Zipcar is a tool that isn’t used everyday, but can help offset the need for owning a car, particularly in areas that provide numerous travel options There are important distinctions as well within the car sharing industry. Zipcar’s vehicles ‘live’ in specific locations, and must be returned to that spot once they are done being used. On the other side of the coin, point-to-point car sharing programs, such as Car2Go have begun to launch. Car2Go is currently operating in the Washington, DC market, but not yet in Arlington. Dynamic Ridesharing Finally, the idea of sharing is extended to the commuter market via dynamic ridesharing, often called real-time ridesharing. Dynamic ridesharing is social, demand driven platform that creates carpooling and shared ride systems in real-time, connecting riders and drivers through a user-friendly software platform (FHWA, 2011). Currently, the market for dynamic ridesharing is cluttered, with a number of highly tech-based companies in operation, yet without a single dominant platform that has emerged. Most popular in this region are services such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar. Existing research suggests that dynamic ridesharing options are currently a niche market at best, and that a critical mass of users needed to make this a truly viable mode of transportation has yet to be reached. Barriers to use include preference for other modes, safety concerns and flexibility concerns (Deaken, Frick, & Shively, 2011)Also, from a commuting standpoint, many prefer to plan commute travel in advance, and are less likely to rely on real-time ridesharing, unless in an emergency situation. Emerging Technologies Helping to Reshape the TDM Industry The past several years has seen a groundswell of new technology, much of which is starting to fundamentally impact the TDM industry, and create new opportunities to improve how transportation information is distributed to the end user. In part to new technology and the shifting patterns of information, the very nature of TDM itself is evolving. Traditionally, TDM outreach, for example as conducted by Arlington Transportation Partners (ATP) has focused specifically on programs and services designed to aid people in using alternative transportation modes for their daily commute – shifting commuters from driving along in a single-occupancy vehicle (SOV) and into other more sustainable modes. In recent years, new technologies have begun to support an increased need for TDM practitioners to focus on trips of other kinds, as we learn more about multi-modal travel. For example, an individual 14
might ride the bus, or even drive to and from work most days. But, while they are at work, they might engage in walking trips during their lunch breaks, or maybe even use a bicyclesharing program to attend a meeting a short distance from their office (Baxandall, 2013). Opening Minds With Open Data It could be argued that the single biggest factor in how technology is enhancing access to transportation information is through the concept of open data. Taken from Wikipedia, Open Data is described as the idea that certain data should be available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patent or other mechanisms of control. From a transportation standpoint, this means that a global network of engineers, coders, tinkerers, developers and marketers have access to an unprecedented and rapidly growing amount of transportation related data. In the case of Arlington, VA, the ability to access open data for most of the transportation systems has resulted in new applications and tools to support multi-modal travel. TransitScreen – Technology That Addresses Equity Issues One example of a solution utilizing open data sources is a product called TransitScreen (TransitScreen). For many, one of the barriers to riding the bus, or using other transit systems is access to reliable scheduling information. For a long time, the best most transit agencies could do was providing paper brochures that provide scheduled arrival and departure time for buses and other systems. Often, these prove unreliable, as buses that become delayed are unable to relay that information Figure 6: A Transit Screen in a Building Lobby to riders waiting at future stops. Thus, unreliability becomes a severe barrier to use. Many faced with such uncertainty may choose to drive instead. TransitScreen attempts to overcome that barrier by using open data from local transit systems to offer users an aggregated look at site-specific transportation options. For example, a TransitScreen in the Dupont Circle neighborhood in Washington, DC will tell you, in realtime, when the next Metrorail trains are departing, arrival times for bus lines within a ½ mile radius, and also provide information about Capital Bikeshare bikes available at nearby stations. One aspect that sets TransitScreen apart from other tech innovations is that it has the scalability to deploy this technology in a wider way than others – everyone can access a screen in a building lobby. A particular challenge with creating transit based smartphone applications (apps) is that only individuals with smartphones can use them. This leaves a significant part of the population without access to a particular product. Currently, smartphones only make up 64% (ComScore, 2013) of the market for mobile phones in the U.S., which further ignores the 9% of Americans who do not own a mobile phone of any kind. (Pew Research Center, 2013). 15
Options, Options, Options Increasingly, the role of TDM practices should be to provide access to options. As the definition of commuting, and even of travel continues to evolve, residents and workers will be faced with new decisions regarding where they go and how they get there. Whereas traditional travel involved a daily commute to work, typically done using the same mode each day, the new travel paradigm suggests that a worker in Arlington may bike to work one day, take transit another, and telework other days. TDM programs should strive to provide equal opportunity and access for all residents to a variety of transportation options. This idea is further supported by results from MWCOG’s 2013 State of the Commute Survey – survey respondents identified different personal benefits from using different travel modes. For example, for bicyclists, the primary personal benefit was relaxation or stress avoidance, while the primary personal benefit of riding the bus is saving money. (MWCOG, Commuter Connections 2013 State of the Commute Survey Results, 2013) So, by providing access to a variety of travel options, TDM can help individual travelers maximize their utility on a daily basis. New Opportunities to Embrace Multi-Modalism To date, TDM practices have done an admirable job of shifting travelers away from singleoccupancy-vehicle modes, and into alternative modes of transportation. Increasingly, however, these modes are have become siloed, as TDM solutions and programs may address only a single alternative option, or ignore the increasing diversity in how people, particularly younger generations, are traveling. Evidence of this narrow focus exists in several areas – increasing focus on active transportation modes has lead to a number of ‘bike-friendly’ designations, awards and amenities. It should be a goal of sustainable buildings to incorporate an equitable distribution of modes and opportunities, not becoming too focused on a specific travel option. The opportunity exists for buildings not to be focused on one mode or another, but to promote and encourage multi-modal options. This paper introduces a new tool to do just that – by creating a unique ‘Multi-Modal Transportation Score’ for each building. “Multi-Modal Transportation Score” – Measuring Multi-Modal Access at the Building Level In an increasingly competitive world, buildings must take advantage of opportunities to attract and retain tenants/residents, and promote building specific amenities. Multi-Modal Transportation Score (ModeScore) is a metric that seeks to highlight the total accessibility of a given building, taking into account all possible sustainable transportation modes. The goal is for buildings to develop and embrace multi-modal transportation programs that support a variety of options for building users, and create programs to encourage alternative travel modes while taking advantage of inherent location-based mobility options. ModeScore was developed as a way for buildings to increase their total marketability, and potentially increase value, particularly in the multi-family housing market. Using Arlington County, VA as a laboratory, the development of ModeScore has allowed for a unique 16
comparison between buildings already with rigorous TDM programs, and buildings that are in potentially advantageous locations, but could be doing more to support alternative mobility programs. Using Transportation Amenities to Fill Vacancies Economic development in Arlington, VA has become extremely competitive. Attracting tenants to existing and new commercial office space in Arlington means providing value to tenants, and creating strategic advantages to locating in Arlington instead of surrounding areas such as Washington, DC, Tyson’s Corner, VA and Bethesda, MD. An analysis of existing economic development trends in Arlington shows that vacancy rates among commercial properties are growing. A report in early 2013 noted a 16.1% vacancy rate in Arlington commercial buildings, compared to just an 11.5% vacancy rate across the river in Washington DC’s central business district (Arlington Economic Development, 2013). This competitiveness amplifies the need for buildings to create competitive advantages for themselves, by creating environments that add value to an organization seeking to locate. For many organizations, transportation is a key factor in determining where to locate. Particularly in the Washington, DC region, where nearly half of the population growth over the last 10 years has been of the Millennial generation. (Change, Tucker, Yates, & Davis, 2013). As noted earlier in this analysis, the Millennial generation increasingly values access to a variety of commuting and travel options, suggesting that a building can provide a competitive advantage for itself by marketing its ability to provide access to sustainable transportation options and amenities. Within the residential market, much of the same applies. Arlington is in direct competition with Washington, DC and other markets to attract and retain residents of the Millennial variety. The influx of population into the DC region means that housing must be provided – and the housing must meet the demands of the incoming population. ModeScore as a tool for residential properties will allow buildings to tout their unique capabilities to offer a variety of transportation options to attract tenants, and retain them as long as they remain in the region. One large concern, and by many accounts an unknown with the Millennial generation, is how their preferences will evolve over time. There are notable trends of Millennials marrying and having children later in life compared to other generations (Marantz-Henig, 2010). A recent study of young professionals in Arlington, VA showed that 75% of respondents value access to good transportation options as an ‘important’ or ‘very important’ factor in deciding what city to live in. Also ranking high were affordability of housing, safety, employment and access to quality dining options (SIR, Inc., 2013). The same study further suggests that those who work in Arlington, but do not live there, have an SOV rate of 64%, while that rate is only 45% for those who live in Arlington. This suggests opportunity of housing developments in Arlington to add value through transportation options, creating long-term value to offset differences in housing cost compared to areas outside of Arlington. Perhaps most notable from this research is the suggestion that, compared to other cities, respondents who live in Arlington are likely to stay for fewer years, the primary reasons being housing affordability and a lacking ‘sense of community’ in Arlington. 17
The opportunity here exists for a tool like ModeScore to support existing transportation programs and create value for residents living in Arlington. By embracing new forms of mobility, such as car sharing and bike sharing, residents can access these ‘community-based’ amenities, and feel a stronger sense of place within Arlington. These modes, social in nature, coupled with existing transportation infrastructure, create a culture of livability within Arlington’s transit-oriented-development neighborhoods. Further, research has shown a direct correlation between access to transportation and rent premiums. A recent study from Cushman & Wakefield found that commercial buildings that are within 300 feet of a Metro stations can command a 30% rent premium over those only 0.25 miles away (O'Connell, 2013). This demonstrates the impact that transportation can have on a building’s performance. By taking a multi-modal approach, a building might help improve its value, and offset its distance from Metro by promoting and encouraging access to other transportation modes. Methodology ModeScore was developed using a two-tiered approach to measuring access to multi-modal options. The first tier is location-based, which includes the inherent amenities and options available in a given building’s location. The second tier includes value added amenities, often through involvement with a TDM agency that a property uses to enhance access to the transportation options available to its users. The purpose of this paper is to introduce the tool, and apply it to a sample of existing buildings in a test market, Arlington, VA. A database was created using 200 sample buildings in Arlington County, VA, incorporating a number of location and TDM based measurements. The tables below outline the different variables included in the development of the ModeScore metric, and the data source for each. Figure 7: Map of Arlington Building Neighborhoods Table 1: Building Demographic Variables Variable Code Name BLD# SP# ADDY Variable Description Familiar name of building Assigned building number Arlington County Site Plan Building Property address Data Source ATP Client Database Assigned ATP Client Database ATP Client Database 18
Residential property Property zip code Neighborhood within Arlington ATP Client Database ATP Client Database ATP Client Database Variable Description Walk Score Bike Score Transit Score Walking distance to nearest Metro station # of bus lines within .25 miles # of on-street bike lanes within .25 miles Additional designated ‘safe biking streets’ within .5 miles RES ZIP NHOOD Data Source Walkscore.com Walkscore.com Walkscore.com WMATA.com and Google Maps WMATA.com – Services Nearby BikeArlington, Arlington County GIS data Arlington County Bike Map, Arlington County GIS data BikeArlington, Arlington County GIS data Capitalbikeshare.com, Arlington County GIS data Capitalbikeshare.com, Arlington County GIS data Zipcar.com Table 2: Location Specific Variables Variable Code WALK BIKE TRANS METRO BUS25 BIKE25 SAFEBIKE BIKETRAIL CABI25 CABI5 ZIPCAR CAR2GO LYFT VRE COMMBUS DCCIRC Paved bike trail access within .5 miles Capital Bikeshare stations within .25 miles Additional Bikeshare stations within .5 miles Zipcar access within neighborhood Car2Go access within .5 miles of site Lyft/Sidecar/other dynamic ridesharing access Access to commuter rail Access to commuter bus options Access to DC Circulator Bus Car2go.com Lyft.com; sidecar.com Virginia Railway Express, Google Maps Omniride.com, CommuterConnections.org Dccirculator.com Table 3: TDM Value Add Variables Variable Code BFB BIKEBEN INFODIST BSTORAGE Variable Description Bicycle Friendly Business designation Property offers a bike commuter benefit Property distributes transportation info to residents/tenants Property offers secure bicycle Data Source Bicycle League of America, ATP database ATP Client Database ATP Client Database; Arlington County Site Plan Database ATP database, Arlington 19
storage ATPQG POOL CARMEM LEED ATP prepared ‘Quick Glance’ guide for property Free or discounted parking for carpools/vanpools Property offers subsidized car sharing memberships Property LEED certification STCARD Property offers free SmarTrip card SHOWER Property offers shower/locker facilities SHUTTLE Property offers shuttle to transit Property offers a lobby transportation display TID WEB SCREEN MEETING TRANBEN PTC TELEWORK WELCOME INNOV Property website offers transportation information Property installs electronic screen with transit info Meetings with ATP and/or transportation ‘events’ on site Property offers subsidized transit benefit program Property designates a ‘Property Transportation Coordinator’ Property offers telework facilities (residential only) Property offers welcome packets to new tenants Innovation Points – above and beyond County Site Plan database, site visits ATP Client Database ATP Database, Arlington County Site Plan Database Arlington County Site Plan Database, property websites US Green Building Council, property web sites ATP Client Database, Arlington County Site Plan Database ATP Client Database, Arlington County Site Plan Database ATP Client Database, site visits, property websites ATP Client Database, Arlington County Site Plan Database, site visits Property websites Property websites, site visits, ATP database ATP database, site visits ATP Client Database, Arlington County Site Plan Database ATP Client Database, Arlington County Site Plan Database Arlington County Site Plan Database ATP Client Database, Arlington County Site Plan Database Site visit, ATP involvement (Subjective) Explanation of TDM Interventions The data sample here includes 200 buildings that are active or documented by Arlington Transportation Partners (ATP), the transportation demand management outreach group supporting Arlington County, VA. The sample includes primarily residential and commercial office properties, but also includes a small sample of hotels and municipal buildings. While ATP also performs outreach to individual employers (tenants within 20
sample buildings), this analysis and introduction of ModeScore does not include them. Also, a number of the sample buildings are considered ‘site plan’ buildings, which means that they have been required by the County to incorporate TDM elements into the building’s ongoing operations. This variety will allow ModeScore to look at how varying levels of TDM can enhance mobility options, working in concert with a given location. For buildings in a less-accessible location, can the lack of options be overcome by boosting TDM efforts to support the options that do exist? Can buildings in dense locations with good multi-modal transportation access use TDM to separate themselves from their peers, and create a competitive advantage? Compiling ModeScore Very simply, ModeScore is a function of TDM interventions added to location based characteristics of a site: Location + TDM = Mode Score. Looking at the variable sets individually, there are number of factors that were considered. For location based variables, ModeScore looked at total mode split numbers for commuting behavior at a nationwide level, using the U.S. Census American Community Survey. Using data from 2009, the commute mode-split for the DC region was: Table 4: 2009 National Commute Mode Splits Drive Alone 66.1% Carpooling Transit Biking Walking Other 10.61% 14.5% 0.57% 3.21% 5.01% Looking more closely at local data from MWCOG (MWCOG, Commuter Connections 2013 State of the Commute Survey Results, 2013), we get a slightly different look when data is pared down to look specifically at the ‘inner core’ of the region – specifically DC, Arlington and Alexandria, VA. Table 5: Travel Mode-Split for 'Inner Core' of DC Metro Drive Alone 45% Carpooling Transit Bus Bike/Walk Other 6% 24% 10% 9% 5% This is a more accurate reflection of commuting behavior in the area, and shows a more reasonable split for how multi-modalism could be weighted for constructing ModeScore. It is significant to point out also that this data is based on commuting, and does not include other trips, which make up an increasing part of daily travel behavior. Emphasis should be placed on a location’s inherent walkability, as well as access to more ‘errand’ friendly modes of transportation, such as bike sharing and car sharing. Using the variables included above, a total baseline ModeScore was calculated, reflecting the ‘maximum’ value that could be achieved in each category, resulting in a total ModeScore of 150 points. 21
Limitations and Weighting Location-based variables ModeScore took into account several location-based variables in determining the baseline score for a site. First, an analysis of data from Walk Score® accounted for an initial representation of a location’s access to a variety of modes (Walkscore). Walk Score provides 3 different points of data for a given site, with proprietary algorithms and data sources used to calculate these scores. • • • Walk Score – measures walkability using access to local amenities, population density and road metrics (Score 0-100) Bike Score – measures bike friendliness using bike infrastructure, topography and demographics (Score 0-100) Transit Score – measures usefulness of transit routes based on frequency, type and distance to nearest stop (Score 0-100) Walk Score is the most established metric provided, and as there is lack of consistent and accepted ways to measure walkability, a large weighting was given to this variable. Walk Score is also an extremely important underlying factor in the ability to access other means of travel. Nearly every non-driving trip begins with a walk, whether to a transit stop, bikeshare location or Zipcar location. A recent study of site-plan buildings (those required by the County to offer certain TDM elements) looked at how Walk Score related to trips taken in a given area. The study found a strong correlation between Walk Score, and walking as a primary mode of transportation for a non-work trip (Diggins L. a., 2013). Similarly, the study found that a correlation exists between higher Walk Score and lower levels of vehicle ownership. Bike Score and Transit Score are also included, but given less weight overall, due to the inability to access detailed methodology, and the availability of detailed bike and transit measurement information specific to Arlington County, VA. Further variables were added to measure more accurately the access that each property has to bike and transit options. ModeScore looks specifically at proximity to a Metro station, based on walking distance, and assigns a high rating due to Metro’s prominence as the highest volume transportation option in the region. By distinguishing Metro from bus transit (which Transit Score does not do), we can get a more accurate picture of the total public transportation opportunities available at each site. This analysis also takes into account the number of bus lines that serve each site, the number of bike lanes, streets designated as friendly to cyclists, access to paved trails and access to bicycle sales/repair shops. The ‘bike friendly’ streets and bicycle repair shops are metrics that add value beyond what is captured by Bike Score. Further data includes attributing value to locations that have access to less widespread transportation options such as commuter buses, commuter trains, dynamic ridesharing and other options that may serve only a handful of neighborhoods within the county. 22
Finally, the location-based score includes detailed measurement of a site’s access to technology driven platforms such as Capital Bikeshare and Zipcar. With Capital Bikeshare, access is measured at two points - .25 miles from the site, and .5 miles, with heavier weighting given to the locations closer to the site. With Zipcar, measurement is calculated based on the total number of Zipcar locations serving a specific neighborhood – providing a total amount of vehicles that could reasonably be accessed from a building. The chart below outlines how each of the location-based variables was calculated, and the maximum available score for each variable, based on the data set used. Table 6: Location Based Variables Calculation Variable Code WALK TRANS BIKE METRO BUS25 BIKE25 SAFEBIKE BIKETRAIL BIKESHOP CABI25 CABI5 ZIPCAR CAR2GO LYFT VRE COMMBUS DCCIRC 1 Weighting/Calculation 40% of measured score 15% of measured score 20% of measured score Score 1-5 based on distance: 5 = 0 - .25 mile 4 = .25 - .5 mile 3 = .5 - .75 mile 2 = .75 – 1 mile 1 = > 1 mile 0.5 points for each bus line1within ¼ miles 0.5 points for each dedicated on-street bike lane within 1/4 miles 0.5 points for ‘safe’ streets within ¼ mile 0.5 points for each bike trail accessible within 1/4 mile, or directly via bike lane 1 point for bicycle shop within 1/2 mile 1 point for each Capital Bikeshare station within 1/4 mile 0.5 point for each additional Capital Bikeshare station within 1/2 mile 0.25 points for each Zipcar available in neighborhood 1 point for access to Car2Go within ½ mile 0.5 points for building within coverage area of LYFT or Sidecar 0.5 point for building within ½ mile of VRE commuter train 0.5 point for building within ¼ mile of commuter bus 0.75 points for building within ¼ mile of DC Circulator route Total: Max Score 40 15 15 5 6 2 2 1.5 1 4 2 3.25 1 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.75 100 Bus line refers to a primary bus-route, and does not include individual spurs/deviations from the main route. 23
TDM Based Value Add Variables To paraphrase the classic film ‘Field of Dreams’, transportation can certainly function as an ‘If you build it, they will come’ concept. For many jurisdictions throughout the country (even large cities like Chicago, which currently lacks a TDM program), the availability of transportation options is enough generate ridership on various systems. TDM programs have proven that they can improve transportation systems by implementing programs and services to enhance access through increased awareness, information distribution and financial incentives. The variables in this section look at specific programs and amenities that buildings can implement, with a goal of increasing the access to existing, location-based transportation systems. As an indicator of where TDM can add value, I refer again to the recent study conducted by Arlington County Commuter Services, regarding the performance of site plan residential buildings relative to other properties in Arlington (Diggins L. a., 2013). Further supported is the idea that residents who have access to TDM programs are less likely to drive alone, and more likely to walk, bike or use transit for a majority of their trips. This study concludes, however, that TDM programs are most beneficial at the employer level. While a handful of buildings studied here are owner-occupied (and therefore both buildings and employers), most do not take into account employer-level TDM programs. For example, residents living in an Arlington apartment building may have TDM programs at home, and also available from their employer. As ModeScore is meant to measure access at the site-level, data does not include employer specific TDM programs for each building. The TDM based variables are applied to each building, based on the specific programs that building might have in place. With this data, points are limited based on ATP’s direct knowledge of building programs and amenities, derived from ATP outreach interaction, site visits or Arlington County site-plan requirements. The weighting for many of the TDM elements is reflective of the investment required by the property owner or building property management staff to implement – both financial and time spent on implementation. The Bicycle Friendly Business designation is awarded to properties that have invested a significant amount of time and energy into supporting bicycle culture as a travel mode. The application process is extensive, and properties can devote several weeks to earning this distinction. LEED is another area of significant investment for properties, weighted here to reflect the level of certification achieved. As LEED inherently includes certain transportation elements, this was included to ensure that the effort put forth to achieve designation is not overlooked. Several TDM variables include direct financial subsidy on behalf of the building to the end user. These come in the form of subsidized parking for carpool and vanpool programs, subsidized car sharing memberships and also transportation benefit programs, or pre-loaded transit passes for building users. Additional weighting was given to programs like these, due to being financial investments in the performance of the building, and its surrounding transportation systems. 24
Investing in building infrastructure to improve transportation access comes in the form of building secure bicycle storage, providing a shuttle to transit, ordering a brochure kiosk for the lobby, or installing electronic video screens with access to relevant transit information. Other programs are brought about through a property’s involvement with ATP, or another TDM program in the region. These items are generally low-cost to the property, and often offered for free by the TDM organization. Still, these programs are significant as they do influence behavior change, and demonstrate a commitment from the building ownership and/or management. These items include distributing welcome packets for new residents/tenants, inviting ATP to attend meetings or events, using a ‘Quick Glance’ guide (appendix A) produced by ATP or distributing information to building users. Finally, this section also looked at the website for each individual property, to determine how well they are promoting transportation options on their site. While subjective in nature, this proved to be a valuable and diverse analysis of how different buildings communicate about transportation. Table 7: TDM Value Add Variable Calculation Variable Code BFB BIKEBEN Weighting/Calculation 4 points for BFB designation 2 points for $20/month bike benefit Maximum Score 4 2 BSTORAGE 2 points for secure, indoor bicycle storage 1 point for distributes info to tenants/residents 2 points if posts a “Quick Glance” guide prepared by ATP 4 points if offers discount/free parking to Vanpool/Carpool 4 points if offers subsidized car sharing membership Points for LEED Certification: Platinum = 3 points Gold = 2 points Silver = 1 points 4 points if provide SmarTrip card (with value) to users. 2 points if no value 2 points if building has shower/locker facilities for use 4 points if building provides free shuttle to transit 2 points if building provides lobby Transportation Info Display kiosk Points for website transportation info: Multiple modes + links = 3 points Multiple modes = 2 points Metro only = 1 point Driving directions only = 0 points 2 INFODIST ATPQG POOL CARMEM LEED STCARD SHOWER SHUTTLE TID WEB 1 2 4 4 3
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