What is Transportation Demand Management (TDM)?

TDM 101 for newcomers to the smart commuting landscape

Transportation demand management, or TDM for short, is a fast-emerging topic in both the public and private sectors. Businesses and organizations of all shapes and sizes engage with TDM-related concepts to help their employees experience easier and more enjoyable commutes. Meanwhile, government agencies adopt TDM-driven strategies in their intensifying bids to reduce congestion, increase public transit ridership, and fight pollution.

In the simplest terms, transportation demand management optimizes the distribution and use of available transportation resources, primarily by identifying, promoting, and improving alternatives to solo driving as a means to reduce the number of single-occupancy vehicles on the road.

TDM draws on a wide range of resources, including people, infrastructure, and technology. It functions on two levels:

Everyday practicality

TDM leverages mobility technologies to empower individuals to take control of their commuting choices and encourage them to choose smart, sustainable alternatives to solo driving with more frequency. It supports this goal by providing incentives that motivate commuters to change their behavior, all while delivering information and resources that empower positive change.

Some of the most popular transportation alternatives prioritized by TDM programs include walking, biking, public transit, carpooling/ridesharing, vanpooling, and telecommuting. Promoting these modes of transportation for commuting is one of TDM’s most important and critical areas of focus, since it is through effective commuter management that such programs are able to make the most immediate and visible impact.

Long-term Planning

Delving deeper, TDM also seeks to inform municipal planning and government-driven infrastructure initiatives. Sustainable urban planning, the emerging concept of “complete streets,” local walkability, and the strategic development and management of major transit corridors are all topics with a strong degree of focus on TDM.

Yet, for all the benefits it offers to cities and the people who live in them, TDM is still a concept that a lot of people haven’t heard about. We’re optimistic that initiatives like CommuteCon and the growing momentum behind the smart commuting movement will make the concept a more commonplace term in the not-too-distant future.

Interested in learning more about TDM and its role in commuter management? This comprehensive TDM guide is an excellent introduction.

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Wednesday, February 7th, 2018
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