What is Transportation Demand Management (TDM)?

Transportation Demand Management (TDM) is a set of strategies used to maximize the efficiency of our transportation system. The intention of TDM is to encourage people to move away from using their Single-Occupancy Vehicle (SOV) and towards other forms of transportation like bikes, buses, trains, walking, carpool, vanpool, and other options. 

SOVs take up significant space on roadways, cause wear and tear on public infrastructure, and contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions per person compared to carpooling or buses. With the widespread use of SOVs over the past 70 years, congestion on roadways has often led to the expansion of roadways even though studies show that adding lanes does not always reduce congestion. 

TDM strategies have a two-pronged approach – maximizing the appeal to travelers (through time efficiency, cost reductions, accessibility, etc.) and setting the foundation for success in infrastructure (more bus stops/routes, safe cycling infrastructure, high-speed rails, etc.).

Why is TDM important?

TDM strategies are an intersectional practice that not only relieves the headache of road congestion but also reduces the need for SOV infrastructure. 

Fewer cars on the roads mean fewer parking facilities, fewer vehicular accidents, less pollution, and more efficient land use. For commuters, choosing a different mode of transportation also reduces costs associated with needing gas and puts less wear and tear on your car.

TDM also supports pedestrian infrastructure to walk or bike places with wider sidewalks, overpasses/underpasses at busy intersections, better visibility at crosswalks, and overall safer roads. TDM strategies aim to support the user through infrastructure investments instead of SOVs.

Illustration showing Single Occupancy Vehicle Road Impact vs Alternate Transportation Modes
Image: Example of SOV ridership impact vs other modes of transit on roads

Common TDM Strategies

Image: Before and After image of TDM implemented in Buenos Aires
Image: Before and After image of TDM implemented in Buenos Aires -- Source: https://itdp.org/2020/01/27/buenos-aires-1985-and-today/


There are many strategies used to integrate TDM into the built environment. Some strategies include organizational work like:

  • Making transportation information more accessibe (online resources, availability in different languages, signage/wayfinding, websites/apps, etc.)
  • Conducting outreach and training for those who often travel (bike workshops, new resident/employee welcome kits, trip planning assistance, etc.)
  • Improving communication on forming carpool or vanpool groups




Other strategies are more physical, including the construction of:

  • Dedicated bike lanes and better-protected bike storage
  • Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) roadways
  • Changing land use zoning to support transit-oriented development
  • Parking management strategies
Lastly, TDM strategies can look to incentivize different transportation modes in creative ways like: 
  • Free or reduced fees for bike share programs
  • Providing transit passes to students or workers
  • Providing showers and bicycle repair stations at job sites
  • Transit stop enhancements
Image of bus stop with bike share and solar-powered eBike charging station in Aspen, CC
Image of bus stop with bike share and solar-powered eBike charging station in Aspen, CO Source: https://www.denverpost.com/2021/08/13/aspen-ebikes-wecycle-cycling-mountain-biking/

TDM strategies are proven to be a cost-effective, sustainable, and healthier means of transportation that, when integrated into planning policy, allows for more efficient and connected systems.



How does Commuting Solutions Advance TDM?


Commuting Solutions is a Transportation Management Organization (TMO) for the northwest region of Colorado. Our boundary includes parts of Boulder, Broomfield, and Jefferson Counties. Here, Commuting Solutions advocates for the advancement of TDM strategies and coordinates with the jurisdictions to further TDM implementation.

Commuting Solutions, in collaboration with UrbanTrans North America, as well as public, private and nonprofit stakeholders led the effort to develop an inaugural Transporation Demand Management (TDM) Plan for the northwest metro region. The plan is already garnering national attention with Commuting Solutions being named a finalist for the 2023 Association of Commuter Transportation (ACT) Excellence in Planning Award for our groundbreaking work on the plan. 

Through this collaborative process, Commuting Solutions and its stakeholders identified 11 strategies that focus limited resources, services and programs on essential workers and projects where there is the greatest need. We will continue to implement the plan over the coming years.


8th Sustainable Transportation Summit
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August 27, 2024  | 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
At the Longmont Museum and Cultural Center