Transportation Management Organizations (TMOs) bring together businesses and local governments to improve a region’s economic growth, sustainability practices and overall health by reducing the number of vehicles on the road, and they tend to do it with an average of two staff members. TMOs, like Commuting Solutions, cover one geographic area and hone in efforts to address the transportation issues affecting that region. (To put this in perspective, there are seven TMOs in the Denver metro region alone!)
Each TMO is highly specialized and focused on how they can most effectively impact their region’s transportation system. Yet, once a year TMOs and other Transportation Demand Management (TDM) organizations convene at the Association for Commuter Transportation’s (ACT) international conference. The conference’s candid discussions of program successes, regional wins and even failures help TDM organizations that are normally segregated in their work come together to help one another achieve regional goals. ACT itself plays an important role in advocating for increased policy and funding support for the TDM trade industry, which maximizes the use of existing infrastructure to focus on the movement of people, not vehicles.
Mostly, hearing about the accomplishments of others and their unique programs help us develop plans and generate ideas for the coming year. Other times, programs are far off the mark for what will work for our region, yet seeing how these organizations utilize the tools available to shape their transportation system is inspiring. One example of this is a TMO from Florida that uses vanpooling as first-and-final mile solution for rail commuters. This deviates from how we use vanpooling in the Denver metro region, yet it is an example of utilizing the resources available to make improvements for commuters, businesses and the region.
I leave each ACT conference full of ideas, inspiration and goals for how to improve the US 36 corridor, and I hope that this year’s conference leads to more enhancements for all who live, work and have an investment in our corridor.