Centralina Learns Recap: Transportation Demand Management (TDM) 

Transportation choice – the ability to select from a variety of transportation modes to meet one’s daily needs – is critical to ensuring a high quality of life, access to opportunities and economic vitality. These choices are not limited to buses, cars and trains; choices can, and should, include biking, walking, teleworking and more. Last month’s Centralina Learns session expounded on Transportation Demand Management (TDM), a collection of strategies for expanding and communicating the importance of transportation choice. TDM strategies currently bring numerous benefits to communities across the nation and will play a critical role in implementing the CONNECT Beyond Regional Mobility Initiative within the greater Charlotte region. Some of the benefits of TDM include improving mobility for residents and visitors alike, reducing driving in single-occupancy vehicles and the detrimental environmental impacts associated with high rates of driving, reducing overall road maintenance costs, efficiently managing regional assets, and improving air quality. The panel from this session included representatives from NCDOT, Kittelson & Associates, and Charlotte DOT (CDOT), three groups that are partnering with Centralina to develop a regional TDM plan for the 10 North Carolina counties involved in CONNECT Beyond. 

Panelists: Heather Hildebrandt, Statewide Initiatives Supervisor (NCDOT); Phill Worth, Principal Planner (Kittleson & Associates); Julian Burton, Strategic Mobility Section Manager (CDOT) 

What do Planners Need to Know About TDM? 
  • NCDOT recently launched a Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) Reduction Toolkit for local governments and officials. Reducing VMT can lead to increased safety and improvements to environmental health and quality. The interactive VMT Reduction Toolkit offers actionable strategies and funding mechanisms to support multi-modal transportation planning projects and other policies that divert private vehicle trips.  
  • According to Kittelson & Associates, potential areas of action around TDM include education, marketing, offering incentives, upgrading infrastructure, and implementing policies that support transportation choice. These elements can be adapted to suit urban, suburban, and rural contexts. Some unique strategies for different community types may include the following: 
    •  Urban communities -> transit improvements and bikeshare or carshare facilities  
    • Suburban communities -> employee commute programs and first/last mile transit  
    • Rural communities -> demand responsive transit, park-and-ride lots, and expansion of broadband infrastructure 
  • Charlotte is one example of a community actively pursuing TDM in the Centralina region. CDOT is leveraging existing plans and policies, such as the Charlotte Strategic Mobility Plan and Charlotte Future 2040, to assess the City’s multi-modal transportation infrastructure and provide a shared vision for policy development and infrastructure improvements. Through the City’s newly adopted Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), Charlotte will also replace its current Traffic Impact Study (TIS) requirements with new Comprehensive Transportation Review (CTR) guidelines that incorporate assessments related to multi-modal transportation and TDM implementation for certain sites. CDOT’s efforts demonstrate that communities have more than just infrastructure at their disposal when it comes to improving transportation choice; plans, policies and programs can be incredibly effective places to start! 
How is Centralina Helping to Expand Transportation Choice for the Region? 

Centralina Regional Council is partnering with NCDOT and transportation agencies across the region to translate these learnings to the greater Charlotte region and will launch a process to develop a regional TDM plan in early 2023. In tandem with other ongoing CONNECT Beyond implementation efforts, Centralina will engage local governments, planners, transportation experts and community leaders to envision the future of transportation choice for the region. The plan will include strategies for expanding mobility choices, approaches to changing travel behavior and measurable program outcomes to ensure the resulting regional TDM program helps communities reduce VMT, improve public health and identify cost savings and other economic benefits to move the region forward. 

If you are interested in getting involved in Centralina’s regional TDM planning efforts, please complete the following 2-minute survey to share your information.

Centralina members can view the full Centralina Learns: TDM session on the Centralina Member Portal!