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Is it Time to Rebrand 'Transportation Demand Management'?

As people re-evaluate their transportation decisions, the argument to support transportation demand management might not be what policy makers expected.
August 17, 2015, 8am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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The Mobility Lab team wants transportation demand management (TDM) professionals to potentially reexamine the organizational goals and definitions of their work.

A post by Paul Mackie of Mobility Lab asks the question: "Would a common definition of the term and practice of transportation demand management help the industry find other funding sources, do better lobbying for policies, and gain wider acceptance and popularity?"

Mackie builds on the arguments from a presentation by Kirk Hovenkotter, a program analyst at TransitCenter and Mobility Lab contributor. According to Hovenkotter's argument, as described by Mackie, one of the primary sources of federal funding for TDM programs leads practitioners astray by focusing on ideas that don't reflect the preferences of users.

More specifically: "With 59 percent of funding for regional TDM programs throughout the country coming from the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program, Hovenkotter said TDM organizations are somewhat forced to tailor their work to goals that are not Americans’ top priorities." The targets of the CMAQ program are in its name: traffic congestion and air quality.

Among the findings presented by Hovenkotter: "The top motivations for people [on their urban mobility choices] weren’t traffic congestion or environmental impact, but access to affordable, reliable, efficient transportation options."

The state of Oregon is the first to move away from relying on the TDM term in describing the benefits of such systems. Its statewide plan refers to its "transportation options" rather than transportation demand management. 

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Published on Tuesday, August 11, 2015 in Mobility Lab
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