DATE: September 15, 2022
TO: Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization
FROM: Sandy Johnston, Central Transportation Planning Staff
RE: Travel Demand Management Follow-Up
This memorandum presents and summarizes the results of Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2022 Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP)-funded study 13311, Travel Demand Management Follow-Up. The work scope was approved by the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) board on December 2, 2021. The purpose of this study was to gather information to follow up on the two successful forums on Travel Demand Management (TDM) hosted by MPO staff during FFY 2021, and to inform MPO discussions about whether the MPO should start to do work related to TDM. The objectives were
To carry out this work, MPO staff researched peer MPO practices and engaged key regional stakeholders through a variety of means described below. This memorandum details the peer research, surveys and direct engagement, events, and interviews that staff used to research MPO involvement in TDM. It then lays out the feedback staff received, and concludes by identifying, based on that feedback, a variety of pathways to involvement in TDM and policy options that the MPO may choose to pursue. Staff request that the MPO identify its preferred path(s) forward.
Uses of the term “travel demand management” are diverse and often vague. By some definitions of TDM, which can include many standard transportation planning activities, the MPO is already extensively engaged in TDM through its funding programs and the technical assistance it provides to municipalities. However, it may be possible to point to some aspects of an emerging definition of TDM that illuminates areas the MPO is not currently as engaged with. As part of the study, staff reviewed a recent report by Nelson/Nygaard and the National Resources Defense Council, The New Transportation Demand Management: An Implementation Guide for City Officials, which provides a definition of TDM worth quoting at length.
“Transportation demand management,” or TDM, is a wonky yet useful phrase that encompasses a suite of transportation policies and programs that are a critical component of a systematic and equitable transportation strategy. As originally conceived, TDM was defined as the people-focused companion to the infrastructure-focused “supply management,” i.e., tweaking the operations of streets and highways to accommodate ever more cars. More specifically, early TDM programs were designed to influence peak-direction travel away from the peak-congestion times or toward non-driving modes that could ease roadway congestion…Over time, TDM has expanded to apply more broadly to policies and programs designed to support and incentivize healthier, more environmentally sustainable transportation behaviors. This shift toward a more expansive definition of TDM has paralleled an expansion in the transportation industry from a narrower focus on minimizing congestion for personal autos, to a broader focus on improving transportation access for people, irrespective of transportation mode.
This definition will sound familiar to MPO members and stakeholders who attended the FFY 2021 TDM forums hosted by the MPO, where participants shared similar concepts. More simply, one peer MPO planner interviewed for this study shared that they frame TDM as “the behavioral aspect of transportation planning.” According to this definition, then, TDM is about using policy and programs rather than or in addition to capital funding to influence travel behavior.
Given the expansive nature of potential TDM practice, defining what types of TDM work MPOs might engage in is a critical base step in this type of analysis. To hone in on the roles of MPOs in TDM, MPO staff reviewed two reference documents from the federal government:
Staff used these two references to develop a list of “Elements of TDM,” which are specific practices or policies that MPOs can engage in or support. Staff then used this list to inform the various methods of engagement with peer MPOs and regional stakeholders discussed below. This list of Elements of TDM is as follows:
MPO staff also reviewed a pre-publication draft of NCHRP Report 1002, Metropolitan Planning Organizations: Strategies for Future
Success .This report was released during the development of this study, after the release of the surveys of peer MPOs and regional stakeholders referenced below but in time to influence the conversations. The report recommends that MPOs attempt to quantify changing trends in travel as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a particular eye for where such trends may be reducing or discouraging SOV travel. It suggests (p. 29) a four-step process for MPOs to consider TDM measures in light of the pandemic:
Figure 1 summarizes some of the proposed TDM policy implementation strategies.
Solutions for MPO TDM Programs from NCHRP Report 1002
MPO = Metropolitan Planning Organization. NCHRP = National Cooperative Highway Research Program. TDM = travel demand management.
Source: NCHRP Report 1002, Metropolitan Planning Organizations: Strategies for Future Success.
Staff used the list of elements of TDM to construct two surveys, one targeted at peer MPOs, and the other for regional stakeholders. Full results from both surveys are summarized below and presented in full in Appendices A and B, while the questionnaires are in Appendix C.
To develop an understanding of how other MPOs engage with TDM, MPO staff distributed a digital survey. The survey was distributed initially to specific staff identified as handling TDM work at a list of MPOs already identified as peers in the Central Transportation Planning Staff (CTPS) strategic plan. It was also distributed to a national TDM listserv operated by the University of South Florida. The survey asked MPOs to identify which elements of TDM they engage in; how many staff Full-Time Equivalents (FTE) they devote to TDM work; and for qualitative input on their involvement in TDM. It also offered an opportunity for MPOs to identify themselves as being willing to be interviewed for this study.
Staff also developed a survey for regional stakeholders, asking for their input on if, why, and how the MPO should be engaged in TDM work. The survey was distributed through several channels:
In addition to asking respondents to identify which elements of TDM they thought the MPO should engage with, the survey offered an opportunity to provide freeform qualitative feedback and an opportunity to be interviewed.
In addition to surveys, MPO staff used virtual events to inform this study. To reach regional stakeholders, staff presented on the purpose and methodology of the study and led discussions with similar questions to the survey questions at several events:
After collecting and analyzing feedback from the surveys and first round of engagement, MPO staff hosted a public-facing open house-style event on August 31, 2022.1
Throughout the study, but particularly after identifying candidates through the surveys, Boston Region MPO staff interviewed staff at other MPOs and regional stakeholders to inform our analysis. For interviews carried out after the surveys, results of the surveys were used to develop a questionnaire. This memorandum summarizes key themes from interviews in graphical format, while selected key quotes are presented in the appendices.
Staff received survey responses from 11 peer MPOs representing a diverse set of geographies. Of the 11 respondents, four are located in East Coast states; two in Texas; three on the West Coast; one in Minnesota; and one in Montana. Two of the responding MPOs are, like the Boston MPO, standalone MPOs, while eight are co-housed with a general-purpose regional planning agency. One (Missoula) handles transportation topics but is co-housed within city government. The respondents indicate employing an average of roughly 2.5 full-time equivalent staff to manage and work on TDM programs, although results are heavily weighted by one MPO (Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments [MWCOG]) reporting 12 FTEs. Without the outlier MPO, the average would come to exactly one FTE per MPO. Table 1 breaks these responses down more fully.
Number of FTEs Employed on TDM at Peer MPOs, by Frequency
Number of MPOs Reporting
FTE = full-time equivalent. MPO = Metropolitan Planning Organization. TDM = travel demand management.
MPOs responding to the survey also provided information on which elements of TDM practice they engage in. Figure 2 shows these results.
Number of MPOs Engaging in Elements of TDM
CMP = Congestion Management Process. LRTP = Long-Range Transportation Plan. MPO = Metropolitan Planning Organization. TDM = travel demand management. TIP = Transportation Improvement Program.
In addition, a subset of the peer MPOs responded to the free response questions offered in the survey. Table 2 presents those responses.
Peer MPO Survey Responses
|MPO||Extra Answers to Elements of TDM||If relevant, how and why did your MPO become engaged with TDM practice?||Is there anything else we should know?|
|MWCOG||The regional TDM program in the Washington DC Metropolitan region is administered through the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board housed at MWCOG. The program is called Commuter Connections and has it's own Work program (CCWP) that is developed in conjunction with the three state departments of transportation (DC, MD, and VA) and is presented to the COG TPB for review and approval on an annual basis.||These services have been provided through the MPO since 1974 and were a result of the energy crisis. The program has expanded greatly since that time and has a $6 million annual budget.||Visit commuterconnections.org for more information.|
|CDTC||CDTC's involvement began several decades ago as the facilitator of the regional carpool list.|
|PSRC||There are numerous TDM aspects listed in question above that PSRC indirectly addresses; but is not specifically articulated as TDM. For example, the region has a growth policy under state Growth Management Act that 65 percent of all new households and 75 percent of all new employment be located in proximitty to high capacity transit stations. This is effectively mandating a large increase in TOD as the region expands its HCT network—and it is also a TDM strategy, though not explicitly stated as such.||PSRC became engaged in TDM many decades ago. The state of Washington passed a foundational TDM law called the Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) Act that calls on large employers to engage in TDM to reduce peak-period trips for air quality, environmental, and congestion reasons. Our region has convened TDM stakeholders over the years—most recenly formalizing it into a standing advisory committee in 2018. Over the years, the need for TDM has expanded beyond the large employer at peak periods. As our region engages in planning for equity in transportation, looking at the needs of small employers, access to healthcare, aging populaiton, and increasing diversity, we are finding a need to expand the discussion around TDM. And yet, the state law has not kept up with the times. Our draft Regional Transportation Plan (released for public comment on January 13, 2021) integrated TDM throughout it (formerly, our region had a stand-alone TDM appendix). The draft plan calls for reasons to continue engaging stakeholders and encouraging expansion of TDM, even as many large employers have not returned to offices. And yet, PSRC is not a TDM implementer. I understand many MPOs take on an implementer role. That is not something PSRC does. We work closely with partners local agencies (transits, cities/counties, and a few TMAs) as well as the state on this important topic.|
|NJTPA||The NJTPA administers the statewide transportation management association (TMA) program, funded by CDBG. The eight TMAs are subrecipients of the NJTPA. The TMAs are the primary implementers of TDM in New Jersey. The state, region, counties and municipalities do not have TDM requirements, therefore participation in TMA programs and adoption of TDM policies and practices is voluntary. The NJTPA completed a TDM and Mobility Plan in June 2021.||The NJTPA assumed responsibility for the statewide TMA program from the NJ Department of Transportation in 2012 when the program transitioned from CMAQ to CDBG funds. The program is administered and funded by the NJTPA with funding support from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission for TMA activities in their region.|
|Metropolitan Council||We also provide funding for TDM programs from our CMAQ/STBG funds.
I wanted to clarify that my answers include an embedded assumption about the fact that we are currently conducting a Regional Travel Demand Management Study, just kicked off in December. Many of the activities listed here will be addressed by that study, but it is unclear how extensive they will be or what the roles will be. But, the study includes elements to track performance, lead on TDM policy, host a technical group, etc. So these are not normal activities of our MPO, we are trying to engage more on TDM because it is an important factor in our long-range plan and CMP.
|We have a CMAQ setaside of $7 million every two years from our flexible funds that we provide to various ongoing entities in TDM implementation. But we also run a competitive grant program from that pot for about $1.2 million that selects innovative projects. This started around 10 years ago. Since then, TDM has become more of a focus in our CMP and during the COVID pandemic as a possible strategy to invest more time and effort around. That's really the impetus for the Regional TDM Study, to find new ways to implement TDM but also create a better structure aligned with the MPO and regional planning.|
|Santa Barbara County Association of Governments||Our jurisdiction is fairly small for an MPO, it's Santa Barbara County, ~400,000 residents.|
|TDM Planner, Thurston Regional Planning Council||Administer the Commute Trip Reduction Program for our region.||Through the Commute Trip Reduction Program.|
|Missoula MPO and City of Missoula||Missoula first initiated TDM activities in the mid-1990s in response to substantial air quality issues. The program has been supported and/or funded by the MPO since that inception.
While the initial impetus was for specific air quality reasons, it has evolved to become a central component of our multi-modal transportation strategy. We utilize TDM efforts to increase adoption of multi-modal transportation at the same time we are building or improving infrastructure. A specific example is partnering between the City of Missoula's Neighborhood Traffic Management Program, which implements quick-build traffic calming, and Missoula In Motion programs such as Open Streets and neighborhood-based Individualized Marketing.
These efforts are essential to meeting our ambitious goal of halving drive-alone commute trips by 2045.
|We primarily fund our TDM efforts through Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality funding that our MPO receives as a mandatory recipient of those funds. TDM accounts for about 1/4 of our overall CMAQ annual budget, as programmed in the TIP.
Missoula also has one of the oldest bicycle/pedestrian programs in the country. While it is not part of the MPO, we frequently collaborate and the presence of that program has helped set the foundation for our current TDM programs.
|Baltimore Metropolitan Council||Since Maryland is a small state the DOT manages several programs and funds 1 position in each jurisdiction in out MPO.||The Baltimore MPO is in non-attainment of the NAAQS.||It is also proving to be a good benefit for lower income communities.|
|Houston-Galveston Area Council||I don't date back that far, but our engagement in TDM connects to our region being in non-attainment for certain air quality standards.|
|NCTCOG||NCTCOG is taking a leadership role by establishing an agency-specific SOV trip reduction target. Thus the Regional Single-Occupancy Vehicle Trip Reduction Resolution was created in August 2021 to reduce drive alone trips by 20% in North Central Texas.
CDBG= Community Development Block Grant. CDTC = Capital District Transportation Commission. CMAQ = Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality. CMP = Congestion Management Process. COG = Council of Governments. TPB = DOT = Department of Transportation. HCT = High-capacity Transit. MPO = Metropolitan Planning Organization. MWCOG = Metro Washington Council of Governments. NAAQS = National Ambient Air Quality Standards. NCTCOG = North Central Texas Council of Governments. NJTPA = North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority. PSRC = Puget Sound Regional Council. SOV = Single-Occupany Vehicle. STBG = Surface Transportation Block Grant. TDM = travel demand management. TIP = Transportation Improvement Program. TMA = Transportation Management Association. TPB = Transportation Planning Board.
Of the peer MPOs who indicated willingness to be interviewed for this project, staff selected four to formally interview:
Staff had also spoken to several MPOs informally in early stages of the project.
The following section presents the following selected themes and associated quotes from those interviews and survey responses:
These and further selected key quotes are presented in Appendix A. Some quotes may be repeated in multiple themes if relevant.
Peer MPO Feedback on Building Support for TDM
BIPOC = Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. DOT = Department of Transportation. TDM = travel demand management. TMA = transportation management association.
Peer MPO Feedback on Defining the Stakeholders
MPO = Metropolitan Planning Organization. TDM = travel demand management.
Peer MPO Input on Goals and Objectives
MPO = Metropolitan Planning Organization. TDM = travel demand management.
Peer MPO Feedback on Measurement and Metrics
AQ = air quality. DOT = Department of Transportation. GHG = greenhouse gas. MPO = Metropolitan Planning Organization. TDM = travel demand management.
The survey provided to regional stakeholders asked them to indicate their interest in the Boston Region MPO engaging in the same set of elements of TDM as peer MPOs. Figure 7 presents a summary of stakeholder responses.
Stakeholder Responses About Interest in Elements of TDM
TDM = travel demand management. TMA = travel management association.
MPO staff have cleaned, abridged, and organized these comments into key themes. Because this study sought feedback from regional stakeholders in a variety of different ways, this section combines responses received in surveys and interviews and at public events. Some quotes may be repeated in multiple themes if relevant. Full quotations, anonymized but attributed by position or relationship to the MPO of the person who made the statement, are included in Appendix B.
Regional Stakeholder Feedback on Metrics and Measurement
MPO = Metropolitan Planning Organization. TDM = travel demand management. VMT = vehicle miles traveled.
Regional Stakeholder Feedback on Cooperation and Coordination
MBTA = Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. MOU = Memorandum of Understanding. RTA = regional transit authority. TDM = travel demand management. TMA = transportation management association.
Regional Stakeholder Input on Regional Leadership
CMP = Congestion Management Process. MBTA = Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. MPO = Metropolitan Planning Organization. TDM = travel demand management. TMA = transportation management association. VMT = vehicle miles traveled.
Regional Stakeholder Feedback on Resource Needs
MBTA = Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. MPO = Metropolitan Planning Organization. TDM = travel demand management. TMA = transportation management association.
Regional Stakeholder Feedback on Integrating TDM with Other Planning Activities
MPO = Metropolitan Planning Organization. SOV = single-occupancy vehicle. TDM = travel demand management. TMA = transportation management association. TOD = transit-oriented development.
This memorandum has presented results from research and engagement that MPO staff conducted to learn more about MPO TDM practice and support inquiry into the question of whether the MPO should potentially be involved in TDM practice. It identifies certain themes of feedback heard from both peer MPOs and regional stakeholders. Overall, there was a substantial amount of overlap between the most common TDM practices that peer MPOs engage in and the desires of surveyed stakeholders. For example, three of the “elements of TDM” land in the top five responses in both surveys:
Rather than recommend a single plan of action, staff present several discrete options for the MPO in pursuing future TDM work, ranging from taking no action to near-term creation of a full-scale TDM program. The MPO can pursue one of these options or suggest an alternative course of action that may be based in elements of what is presented in this section. The ideas presented here do not constitute a staff recommendation but rather an attempt to pass on to the MPO as faithfully as possible the various options that exist given the information that this research yielded. In reviewing this section, the MPO should take several considerations into account:
The MPO could choose not to pursue any additional action around TDM. The MPO already helps lay the groundwork for TDM action by other entities by coordinating regional action and providing funding for critical network investments. Several regional stakeholders expressed that while there is a need for more concerted action around TDM, the MPO might not be the right home for it (although others were supportive of MPO involvement). Not all MPOs are involved in TDM. CTPS has little existing staff expertise in TDM, most of which was developed through the TDM studies conducted in FFYs 2022 and 2023, and implementation of this option would therefore require building additional staff capacity in this area. However, if the MPO chooses to take no action, there is no guarantee that the strongly expressed need for coordinated TDM practice and action will be fulfilled.
The MPO could fund a further UPWP study on the topic in FFY 2024 or facilitate a working group involving MAPC and other regional stakeholders to identify necessary concepts, actions, and processes around regional TDM leadership. This would begin to meet a major need identified by regional stakeholders; understand how different MPOs with different structures tackle TDM; replicate actions taken by peer MPOs to build their programs; involve MAPC, which has more expertise in many elements of TDM and will need to be a partner in any future program; and build staff familiarity with and capacity for TDM work. But, this option would slow the timeline for adoption of any actions on TDM, and might require adding, reprioritizing, or reallocating funding and staff capacity from other activities.
The MPO could choose to immediately embark on creation of a TDM program, picking from among the high-priority needs identified here to address and the elements of TDM often carried out by peer MPOs. This program would presumably be created under the aegis of Destination 2050, the LRTP the MPO is preparing for endorsement in 2023, perhaps with an eye toward inclusion in the FFY 2024 UPWP. As staff expertise regarding TDM is currently limited, pursuing this option would likely require hiring a TDM specialist to develop and implement the program. Pursuing this option may not allow the amount of time to do the work of assuring background support and coordinating among various entities active in the TDM space that staff have found peer MPOs strongly recommend.
This option could be implemented in addition to or in place of any of the previous options. During research for this study, several peer MPOs or regional stakeholders suggested ideas that could be incorporated (together or independently) into the MPO’s planning or policy actions without significant further investment into developing a TDM program. Some of these are as follows:
Some MPOs require project proponents to examine a TDM alternative to capital expansion projects. The MPO could require proponents of TIP and/or LRTP projects (presumably, above some size or cost threshold) to do such studies before funding is awarded, to assure that the same outcomes could not be achieved through behavioral incentives or policies.
Some peer MPOs have a dedicated funding stream for TDM projects, or categories of funding that can be awarded to TDM projects, in their TIP. Such a stream would be akin to the MPO’s existing Community Connections or upcoming Transit Modernization funding programs—although the existence of said programs, and the MPO’s general TIP funding streams, might also mean that creation of a new one is unnecessary. Indeed, at least one TDM-related project has applied to the Community Connections project, although it was deemed ineligible under the requirements of the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality funds that support that program. Although it might divert funds from other needs, creation of such a funding program might also give the MPO leverage to determine which kinds of TDM projects and priorities are pursued in the Boston region—and to ensure that they are robustly evaluated and pass a cost/benefit analysis.
During the course of this research, several stakeholders suggested specific elements of state and federal legislation that are related to TDM and could be incorporated in some form into MPO planning and processes. Specifically, stakeholders highlighted Section 3A of M.G.L. c. 40A (the Zoning Act), otherwise known as the Multi-Family Zoning Requirement for MBTA Communities, or, colloquially, the MBTA Communities rules. Passed by the legislature in its 2021 session, these rules require that communities with MBTA service (many of which are also MPO members) create at least one zone of a certain size and transit-oriented nature that allows multifamily housing as-of-right. Supporting TOD policies, such as the MBTA Communities legislation, is a key element of TDM practice across North America, and was the second-most-frequent element of TDM that MPOs staff surveyed engage in. Stakeholders suggested that the MPO advance its own TDM practice and strengthen the legislation by using its own leverage to enforce the rules, such as by incorporating MBTA Communities rules and other housing policy into the TIP evaluation criteria or awarding TIP funds only to municipalities that are compliant or on a path to being so.
Staff request that the MPO decide upon and direct staff toward a course of action for determining future MPO and staff involvement in the practice of TDM. Some policy actions included in Section 3 may require an action item at a future point if the MPO would like to adopt them.
Appendix A: Selected key quotes from peer MPO interviews
|Having an expert and/or consultant to guide you in an initial study is helpful, though even an internal initial assessment is good.||Met Council|
|Think in advance about what your role might be and what tools are available.||Met Council|
|How much do your local partners respect you playing this role?||Met Council|
|Be prepared to be flexible and context-sensitive: communities have different levels of capabilities. A toolbox is useful.||Met Council|
|Employer outreach is one of the most effective tools–promote the transit pass.||Met Council|
|We are studying what the goals of our TDM program should be. Informally, one is making sure that people who benefit from regional funds cooperate regionally.||Met Council|
|For the last two years, we’ve basically been doing TDM as a society. And for a year, there was no congestion. Shows that TDM works, at least in extreme cases.||Met Council|
|Thinking regionally is the point. If someone is getting the funds, what should they have to promote? [The region has] a unified fare system across operators, so the precedent has been set.||Met Council|
|We constantly get questions about the value of the TDM funds. They're competing with projects wanted by government entities that aren’t doing TDM. TDM is accused of “fuzzy math,” because it's hard to see benefits that aren’t directly tied to infrastructure.||Met Council|
|The state DOT is fairly supportive, but local government is harder.||Met Council|
|Build your network of business partners, developers, etc before doing the big push. TMAs are resources there, but don’t limit yourself to that–they’re often just big 9-5 firms.||Met Council|
|Engage BIPOC/non-office businesses directly .||Met Council|
|The most important thing is to make sure that your elected officials are on board with it. A program not widely supported by the board may not get what it needs in terms of funding and attention.||MWCOG|
|Define what you want the TDM program to do in terms of integrating into your planning process and other planning going on in the region.||MWCOG|
|At the end of the day, want to make an impact on congestion and AQ. Their board decided to adopt TDM in order to meet an AQ challenge. But it’s also proven to be really useful in transportation measures–congestion, options, etc. Also collect info on GHGs even though not federally required.||MWCOG|
|Stakeholders–3 state DOTs included–like to see the impacts and the cost-effectiveness of the program||MWCOG|
|We’ve integrated TDM components into major construction projects, but stakeholders don’t think about it as an either/or. TDM is part of the overall picture, not going to solve all of the problems by itself. They view TDM as if it is a piece of infrastructure.||MWCOG|
|We translate our efforts into cost-effectiveness of the program–for example, X for each VMT reduced. Lots of back-end work goes into this, and we report back to the board. Also do more qualitative work–satisfaction surveys, etc. Lots of data collection.||MWCOG|
|[We created an app recently that is] not an off-the-shelf system–we code it in-house. Vendors will get you on this–but I can just walk down the hall and ask for a tweak. I've done this for several MPOs, and feel like we've been ripped off a few times.||MWCOG|
|The best way to build support for TDM internally is to integrat it into the CMP/TIP/LRTP. I've worked at MPOs where TDM was kind of a stand-alone thing and kind of viewed skeptically as a result.||MWCOG|
|Externally, you need to make sure folks have a good idea of what all the different transportation options are. What resonates with people and helps their pocketbook, and what incentives can you provide? So there's a large marketing effort attached.||MWCOG|
|It’s largely a misnomer to think that TDM is just for 9-5 workers; it's largely based on employer needs. For example, a hospital with insufficient overnight parking. Need to be able/willing to offer flexible programs to employers. We'll survey employers for management and offer options.||MWCOG|
|Don’t just put the program up on the shelf to be able to say you have it. Need to fund it well and provide it with support. Elected officials need to be able to understand why there’s a biz need. Comms departments need to get it. Has to work hand-in-hand with other stuff.||MWCOG|
|Do some strategic planning around what you want to be involved in. Easy to do lots of things poorly. What do you do best? Where can you have the most impact?||Missoula|
|Be thoughtful about what funding you have available and what might be considered eligible.||Missoula|
|Have a good gauge on what you want to fund in terms of staff time vs. other expenses. Doing stuff takes a lot of time and energy. We find partners outside the MPO to actually do the stuff and we just fund it.||Missoula|
|TDM expertise is helpful in lots of ways. When you have employers who want to engage, having staff with expertise to engage with them is helpful.||Missoula|
|Set up really good metrics and data collection–how can you track it over time? We've struggled with criticisms that education and such are not worthwhile–gotta be able to show it. But even anecdotal stories are good.||Missoula|
|Storytelling/branding/cohesiveness are key. People see it out there in the community.||Missoula|
|[Our TDM program has] evolved to be the behavioral side of their transportation programming. Need that behavioral encouragement to make sure of the use of the infrastructure we’re building and maximizing the outcomes relative to the ambitious mode split goals for the whole entity (mode splits, etc) laid out in RTP.||Missoula|
|When COVID hit we immediately shifted to telecommuting as a viable sustainable strategy. Try to be nimble.||Missoula|
|Examples of our best ways to make the case for TDM include:
•Real emphasis on behavior change
•Drawing from other fields like public health
•Full spectrum of change–need to approach not just infrastructure or just behavior, but from both directions
|Connection to overall goals is helpful–making sure you’re not just rewarding people who are already walking, biking, etc.||Missoula|
|[The MPO was a good fit for this work] but at the end of the day you could house it at any entity with the capacity and expertise. Right now we're talking with the parking authority to appeal to people who are struggling to park. Rebrand the parking authorities as TDM organizations!||Missoula|
|We're always trying to do more to reach non-white-collar workers. We do individualized marketing in specific neighborhoods–mailings and talking to people directly rather than through employer. There's a free bike education program with houseless population and pre-release populations. We also work very closely with the transit agency, messaging around how transit is a tool for affordability.||Missoula|
|TDM not a required element in the development regulations, so now only working with people who are interested and willing. Need to find a way to get more buy-in. Some people would rather see money spent on infrastructure.||Missoula|
|The "stick" approach has its place but there’s a lot to be said for just creating a culture.||Missoula|
|Joining some of the networks and building up partnerships is key.||Missoula|
|The state is very involved [in TDM]. But it's super focused on major employers at peak periods–so for example, the airport doesn't qualify.||PSRC|
|People resisted a TDM inventory for a long time but now it’s in their draft RTP.||PSRC|
|Funding goes up and down. Mainly grant-funded. The stakeholder ask was for a consistent stream–but budgets were growing over time. There are lots of scars associated with these discussions. Our stakeholders are a mixed bag–the state, a few TMAs, transit agencies, counties.||PSRC|
|Need to track performance–get them to actually quantify things.||PSRC|
|People say a low-income fare is fine, but we have kids, etc. Fare-free for youth is part of this–tied to state funding.||PSRC|
|State law is also pretty unenforceable–not a lot of teeth. Employers who participate are a group of the willing. You need to get people together to get a shared understanding/language, because [the lack thereof] is undercutting the political case for TDM. One challenge is that there is lots of turnover in stakeholders–you have to have the same conversations repeatedly.||PSRC|
|Met Council = Metropolitan Council. Missoula = Missoula Metropolitan Planning Organization and City of Missoula. MWCOG = Metropolitan Washington Council of Governmens. PSRC = Puget Sound Regional Council.|
Appendix B: Selected comments and feedback from regional stakeholders
|One potentially useful area for future work is developing better analyses of mode shift from improving transit/bike infra – e.g., how many SOV trips should we expect to eliminate by adding a bus lane?||Survey||Transit authority staff|
|We should look at better using traffic signal data (automated traffic signal performance measures) to support TDM work. See: https://www.trb.org/Main/Blurbs/181009.aspx.||Survey||Transit authority staff|
|The MPO is already doing good work with Complete Streets, but more could be done to support reduction in SOV travel with multi-modal transport strategies, including potentially reviving MAPC efforts.||Survey||Municipal planner|
|Including TDM in the CMP and LRTP are quick wins, other elements are secondary considerations which may fall outside MPO purview||Survey||Municipal planner|
|Focus on safe streets and on quickly actionable pilot projects.||Survey||Advocate|
|It may be worth doing comparative cost-benefit analysis of TDM strategies vs. traditional, infrastructure-intensive approaches.||Survey||TMA staff|
|For the purposes of better clarifying expectations across towns, it would be particularly useful to have template MOUs for developer commitments to TDM, especially relative to funding issues.||Survey||Municipal planner|
|It is worth recognizing incentive mismatch in development negotiations, where select board members negotiate with developers on TDM subjects, but don’t necessarily always have best TDM practices in mind and so sometimes go for the most revenue-enhancing approach as opposed to the best TDM approach.||Survey||Municipal planner|
|Work on commute modification of especially great interest, e.g. flexible start times to reduce peaks.||Survey||Community development organization staff|
|Transit improvements and advocacy for those improvements have a large potential role to play in providing infrastructure for improved TDM practice. We are strongly interested in environmental framings for TDM, and in attention to class/equity concerns in understanding travel patterns and TDM strategies.||Survey||Community development organization staff|
|We would really like to have better data on mode choice in region, for example, mode by industry; access to MBTA service; presence of bike infrastructure; parking minimums, etc.||Survey||Municipal planner|
|Clarification of town’s legal latitude with TDM would be helpful around issues such as mandated TMA membership, payments into TDM fund, etc.
|We are interested in coordination between RTAs, TMAs, and MBTA.||Survey||Municipal planner|
|Interested in better road pricing.||Survey||Municipal planner|
|I am less interested in provision of ideas and resources and more interested in potential support for actual TDM projects and alternative mode infrastructure investments, especially in communities with currently poor non-auto options.||Survey||Municipal planner|
|The reluctance of suburban businesses to reduce parking in absence of strong non-car options is a big barrier.||Survey||Municipal planner|
|I am interested in thinking of TDM/TOD in context of regional freight/pax network priced for demand and equity.||Survey||RTAC Member|
|There is a need for more TDM representation at the MPO or state level. Much of what has happened in Massachusetts has been at the municipal or nonprofit level, and while many things about the model works, the funding is at higher levels of government, so that has stunted the growth of the field to some extent. Also, traffic, congestion, and air quality issues don’t stop at municipal borders, so planners need to look at things regionally||Coffee Chat||TMA staff|
|A regional ranking of priorities and which benefits and programs are really effective would be valuable and would make TDM easier for everyone.||Coffee Chat||Transit authority staff|
|It would be really helpful if there was a regional categorization of standards, practices, and what has been successful for TDM.||Coffee Chat||MPO board alternate member|
|The more municipalities that are doing TDM in the region, the stronger everyone's programs will be, just by virtue of people not being able to run to the next town over because that town doesn't have TDM.||Coffee Chat||Municipal planner|
|The Boston area has really been lacking any kind of regional or state-level leadership on TDM. In the private sector, a lot of the transportation management associations (TMA) have done great work building TDM plans or programs, but TMAs are constrained by working with the companies that fund them, which sometimes leaves baseline gaps that need to be filled||Coffee Chat||TMA staff|
|The MPO might not necessarily be the best organization, but the TDM field in Boston has been wandering a bit since it lost the previous statewide leadership on TDM||Coffee Chat||TMA staff|
|If there is one community with really strong TDM plans, but the communities on either side of them don't [have similarly strong plans], it really can help curb or diminish the ability for that TDM program to meet its potential.||Coffee Chat||TMA staff|
|It’s impossible to do TDM without excellent bike infrastructure and good-to-excellent transit, sidewalks, snow clearance rules, and the like.||Coffee Chat||Municipal planner|
|Something the [Boston Region] MPO can consider is a statement of intent to create a funding stream, and also incorporating TDM principles into the capital project review process.||Coffee Chat||Transit authority staff|
|TDM policies are being put in place with little to no understanding of exactly what it is or means to those that must have a TDM program. Along with guides there should be training and a consistent way to score or measure for the administrator of the TDM.||Coffee Chat||TMA staff|
|The MBTA supports connecting municipal compliance with the MBTA Communities legislation with MPO capital programming. It would bring us a lot more revenue.||Coffee Chat||Transit authority staff|
|Ideally, state transportation plans would have a section on TDM, which would then be delegated to MPOs to coordinate. TMAs can engage employers and give them a voice. Denver and Atlanta are good examples.||Interview||TDM policy organization staff|
|There is no clear goal what Massachusetts is trying to achieve with regard to TDM. The MPO could build that bridge and convening space--it would be a really helpful exercise. What are each organizations' strengths?||Interview||TDM policy organization staff|
|It would be great for someone from the MPO to just show up at TMA meetings and offer perspective.||Interview||TDM policy organization staff|
|A thing that doesn't exist but could, and can be high leverage, is a standard playbook for TDM that has rules and ideas and can be progressive. Producing a guidebook would give munis leverage for stronger requirements.||Interview||Transit authority staff|
|There are three reasons employers buy into TDM measures.
1) To be competitive in the hiring market.
2) Someone cares about green causes.
3) [a shortage of] parking.
And above all of them is legal requirement.
|Interview||Transit authority staff|
|The Boston Region MPO is kind of unique in that it's just an MPO and isn’t joined with the regional planning authority in the same way that is usually true. We have the unique situation of having MAPC on one side that's really more of the traditional way that I think a lot of folks think of regional planning, focusing on land use and coordination, and the Boston Region MPO is really, really focused on just the transportation piece, and I know that there's always this dance that we do between the two organizations, because I think a lot of things, as we all understand are very interrelated.||ICC meeting||Municipal planner|
|One possible avenue that I think would be interesting to look at is not just what cities TDM policies are for new development, but also what TDM benefits the city itself provides for staff. It's not always been the easiest trying to understand what other municipalities in the region are doing, so I personally would find that information really helpful.||ICC meeting||Municipal planner|
|Ideals expressed [in our TDM policies] are pretty progressive. But there’s not a lot of teeth to them. When it gets down to bargaining, much easier for developers to do a one-time payment rather than operating support. What’s the proportionality, nexus, etc.||Interview||Municipal staff|
|[We need to] level the playing field between municipalities.||Interview||Municipal staff|
|Back end of things [is a challenge]– there is lots of enthusiasm, but we don’t know whether it’s working. Staff time is a bottleneck.||Interview||Municipal staff|
|Everything should be goal-driven. Evaluate plans and projects as to whether they actually achieve the goals laid out.||Interview||Municipal staff|
|[About the MBTA Communities TOD policy] As a planner I like it. Think people like it in theory but less so in practice. Penalty not big enough. Massworks grants only go to a few towns.||Interview||Municipal staff|
|[There are a] couple of areas where additional resources could be helpful. PerfectFit Parking could be more helpful and up to date. [Our town] has commercial and mixed use issues, not so much large residential-only.||Interview||Municipal staff|
|[A challenge is] the argument that when you reduce parking you reduce accessible parking. It's hard to defend reductions in parking vis a vis disability as an issue. Tension building in that area–we could use research and support.||Interview||Municipal staff|
|TDM also ties back to issues of better transit, frequency, etc.||Interview||Municipal staff|
|[The MPO should] support communities in being able to do this–provide research. MPO should help with VMT reduction. Best practices. Understanding how to do an audit. Need good models for applicants–the applications aren’t good. Need a good template. Also need a good reporting system–surveys, etc. And how to manage ongoing auditing/reporting.||Interview||Municipal staff|
|[One of our biggest challenges is] a lack of resources and a lack of technical knowledge. We’re making changes to parking regs but they’re still stuck several decades ago. There is a lack of capacity for data collection on parking, even for existing requirements and lots||Interview||Municipal staff|
|TDM should be tied into thr goals of the LRTP–reducing VMT, Complete Streets projects, bus lanes, etc. There are many different directions to try to reach that goal of reduced VMT.||Interview||Municipal staff|
|[This research is] very relevant because of MBTA Communities. As many tools as possible as can be provided is critical.||Interview||Municipal staff|
|How do you move beyond the frustrating site-by-site to thinking about network access?||Interview||Municipal staff|
|Sometimes we require that developers join the TMA, and even that’s a struggle sometimes. Some fight it down the road because it’s a cost that wasn’t anticipated. Developers don’t see value in the TMA, which is currently understaffed. Joining the TMA was seen as the easiest thing to do when it started up, but we recognize it’s not necessarily creating change.||Interview||Municipal staff|
|The MPO should have the goal of creating a standardized template for a practical, fair, implementable TDM policy.||Interview||Municipal staff|
|Education and advocacy is always important–trying to get different communities on the same page. For a regional bike network, have to be able to connect between municipalities. Having info available that can be shared in a neutral way.||Interview||Municipal staff|
|[We don't currently use TDM metrics] but are open to collaboration and support. It’s a capacity issue. Looking at parking utilization and intersection capacity more than anything.||Interview||Municipal staff|
|Orange Line shutdown and free BLUEbikes is kind of another type of unexpected experiment -- many many more BLUEbikes trips being taken.||Open house||Municipal staff|
|Data collection is valuable but really difficult with resource limited towns.||Open house||Municipal staff|
|I think TDM depends on public transit options which are limited between suburbs…[it's] more ok with getting into Boston.||Open house||Municipal staff|
|[We] need MBTA to be way way more robust to meet our needs.||Open house||Municipal staff|
|The understanding of TDM needs to expand beyond project based destinations and focus on overall efficiency of the transportation system - addressing bigger climate, access, equity, and economic goals.||Open house||Advocate/citizen|
|Communities are afraid to implement strong TDM because of competition to get development which equals a bigger tax base = concern that town won't be competitive.||Open house||Municipal staff|
|There is also an aspect of behavior maintenance that needs to be looked at. We want to make sure people that are using the modes we want them to use continue to do so by continuing to invest in them and keeping them attractive.||Open house||Advocate|
|Need to warehouse the data so others can access it.||Open house||Consultant TDM planner|
|Agree that TDM should be flexible, given the varied geography of the region and the need for TDM to be more than 9-5 office workforce.||Open house||Unknown|
|If we are talking about marginalized populations and/or those beyond the 9:00 to 5:00 white collar world, shouldn't TDM be framed in terms of choice and providing more to those populations. In many cases you are not getting someone to make the choice not to use the car. They may not have that choice in the first place.||Open house||Unknown|
|The coordination with MAPC is critical so that efforts are not duplicated.||Open house||Unknown|
|Need consistency among what can ask and expect private developers to provide in terms of TDM commitments during project review.||Open house||Unknown|
|TMAs have diversified a lot, both based on what’s coming through the development pipeline, which used to just be traditional office buildings permitted to do TDM, but this has expanded to include multitenant and residential properties, so just in terms of who’s being asked to do TDM in the private sector we’ve really diversified who we serve. And then the pandemic, along with other things, has really moved us beyond the traditional commute and traditional 9-5 folks, so at least in the TMAs I represent we are representing a lot of blue collar workers, warehouse distribution workers, manufacturing facilities, we’re working with local chambers, because a lot of the folks that we traditionally served are no longer coming to the office because they can work from home.||Open house||TMA staff|
|We need to have the resources in place, we need to have people understanding what their options are, regardless of whether they choose to take advantage of those options today, because the day will come when that decision will be the right decision for them, and if we don’t have bluebikes infrastructure or transit options, if we haven’t done a good job of giving folks options so they can make that choice then we aren’t there. So, again, figuring out how we can measure that awareness component||Open house||TMA staff|
|Being out here in the suburbs, there’s a little bit of a ‘city mouse and country mouse’ perspective...we’re trying to get people on public transportation and out of cars, which is the ultimate goal for pollution control and save the earth, and at the same time the people we’re depending on are now saying oh wait, it’s too expensive, oh wait, we can’t get the employees that we need to run these systems. So it seems like we’re running into some practical barriers.||Open house||Advocate|
|The way that we look at TDM, or the way that it’s put into the way that we operate is that it’s really associated with new developments that have to have a special permit, and if they want to reduce parking requirements they have to do TDM things, and that’s where TDM comes in. I think the challenge of the regional approach is that TDM is so often associated with specific developments, like reducing or dealing with how people access a specific place or a new building or something like that, and that’s how we have it set up it here, but not so much looking at it as like if it’s going to be regional it seems to be more programmatic, and not one specific place, but everywhere around how you get from one place to the next||Open house||Municipal staff|
|If you live in the Boston area you;’ve got the T, you’ve already got the bus system, it’s sort of like, people can take the bus, people can get on the subway, what more do you need to do? People are already not driving for various reasons, because congestion is bad or because they can take the T. I wonder how you can go beyond that, because you have these resources, so maybe it goes to the awareness piece, can people use them better, or they need to try them and see if it works, but there’s a bigger programmatic element of how you reach everyone in the community, and not just the specific development or location, which is going to be basically community by community anyway because those are the people who are actually permitting those developments.||Open house||Municipal staff|
|I think the MPO and MAPC should be more involved, because we don’t really have someone at that regional level helping to coordinate this and move the dial further...it can’t be so hodgepodge where we're just doing it at the development level...but it would be nice if those agreements were part of a larger effort to improve things regionally and could be a little more meaningful, and I think having someone really push things on that policy and program side would be great....It’s going to look different from municipality to municipality, but I think we really need someone regionally who can push us in that direction.||Open house||Municipal staff|
|I wonder if the MPO can help us think more holistically about how do we as a region get beyond just hyper-focusing on vehicle miles traveled and vehicle trips and mode shift, because I think there is a bit of an embedded lack of equity in those types of metrics...how do we tie those more qualitative metrics into, like how do we change people's perceptions of what is considered a successful project or program to more qualitative metrics, and then beyond that how does that tie into funding ultimately...how do we tie in metrics from the beginning of a program, like why aren’t we considering success kind of who the participants are, like if we’re only reaching 9-5 white collar workers then that’s a metric that can be measured from the beginning of how is the project or program created and who it is tailored to.||Open house||Consultant TDM planner|
|I’m curious if there can be some sort of regional pulling together of resources, like is there a way to have some efficiencies gained if towns can pull together and say we rely on one entity or one resource to help us do data collection, to monitor developer requirements, even if different towns and cities have different requirements, but we’re not being so redundant and forcing every single town and city to set up their own individual infrastructure.||Open house||Consultant TDM planner|
|TDM = travel demand management. TMA = transportation management authority.|
Appendix C: Peer MPO and Regional Stakeholder Survey Questionnaires
The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) operates its programs, services, and activities in compliance with federal nondiscrimination laws including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI), the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987, and related statutes and regulations. Title VI prohibits discrimination in federally assisted programs and requires that no person in the United States of America shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin (including limited English proficiency), be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity that receives federal assistance. Related federal nondiscrimination laws administered by the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, or both, prohibit discrimination on the basis of age, sex, and disability. The Boston Region MPO considers these protected populations in its Title VI Programs, consistent with federal interpretation and administration. In addition, the Boston Region MPO provides meaningful access to its programs, services, and activities to individuals with limited English proficiency, in compliance with U.S. Department of Transportation policy and guidance on federal Executive Order 13166.
The Boston Region MPO also complies with the Massachusetts Public Accommodation Law, M.G.L. c 272 sections 92a, 98, 98a, which prohibits making any distinction, discrimination, or restriction in admission to, or treatment in a place of public accommodation based on race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, or ancestry. Likewise, the Boston Region MPO complies with the Governor's Executive Order 526, section 4, which requires that all programs, activities, and services provided, performed, licensed, chartered, funded, regulated, or contracted for by the state shall be conducted without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, creed, ancestry, national origin, disability, veteran's status (including Vietnam-era veterans), or background.
A complaint form and additional information can be obtained by contacting the MPO or at http://www.bostonmpo.org/mpo_non_discrimination.
To request this information in a different language or in an accessible format, please contact
Title VI Specialist
For people with hearing or speaking difficulties, connect through the state MassRelay service:
For more information, including numbers for Spanish speakers, visit https://www.mass.gov/massrelay