Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT) Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Conference Highlights, November 13 – 14, Nashville

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the ACT (Association for Commuter Transportation) TDM (Transportation Demand Management) Conference in Nashville.  For those not familiar with TDM principles, they basically involve managing vehicular travel demand through incentives/disincentives as well as shifting travel demand to other modes such as transit, carpooling/vanpooling, bicycling, walking, and telecommuting.    Following are some takeaways from the Conference.

  • The Nashville Civic Design Center, a non-profit whose mission it is to positively influence the city’s built environment and improve the beauty and functionality of the city through public participation, has put forth ten guiding principles as well as a Neighborhood Assessment Toolkit to evaluate new projects or designs in neighborhoods throughout the city. The document can be found here:  https://www.civicdesigncenter.org/projects/neighborhood-assessment-toolkit.2567843.
  • People are deliberately moving to places with a high degree of mobility options.
  • Multiple speakers advanced a strategy of pricing parking – particularly in urban centers where parking spaces are at a premium – as a means to promote public health by encouraging the utilization of other modes of transportation (transit, walking, biking, telecommuting, etc.).
  • According to one presentation, health care (seeing our doctor regularly, etc.) only accounts for 10% of our health status, whereas lifestyle (smoking, nutrition, obesity, and alcohol use) and environment determines 70% (the remaining 20% is determined by biology). Consequently, our environment (the presence of sidewalks, bike paths, bike lanes, etc.) can have a significant impact on our health, as such features can encourage us to walk or bike rather than drive to a destination.
  • Employers and employees can reap rewards for employer involvement with van pools.
    • In Olympia, Washington, employers receive reductions in business and occupancy taxes for their participation. The vanpools boost employee morale and wellness (because employees are not fighting traffic on their way to/from work).
    • Sustainable Pittsburgh Challenge vanpool awards white, red, and blue ribbon awards to employers based on activities promoting sustainability.
    • Houston Green Office Challenge is a competition between employers in Houston, TX.
  • Cities and towns need to get smarter about how they think about the use of curb space, which often serves as the boundary between private and public space (the street vs the workplace or living space).
    • Curb space should be evaluated for such uses as bike/scooter use (lanes and bike racks), temporary public use space (perhaps an outdoor seating area at certain times), etc.
    • If a business wishes to promote bicycle commuting and has extra/unused indoor space, such space could be set aside for indoor bike storage and/or showers.
    • For areas with robust transit systems, employers and apartment complexes could include transit status boards in the lobby (or similar) area communicating the location of the next bus, light rail, etc., and the approximate wait time.
    • Increasingly, change/adoption of new public spaces, amenities, etc. in towns and cities are adhering to the following paradigm: A temporary pop-up amenity, followed by a pilot amenity, which is followed by a permanent amenity.  A new bike/scooter lane or public seating area could be examples of this.
    • Digitization enables curbs to be dynamic (used for different uses).
  • If you own/manage a business or serve in a human resources capacity at a corporation, a multi-modal transportation system (carpooling, transit, vanpooling, biking, walking) can benefit you by:
    • Helping you to recruit and retain talent
    • Enhancing health outcomes of your employees, thereby reducing your overall health care costs
    • Enabling your employees to use their time more efficiently

Regional Profile – Piedmont Area Regional Transit (PART)

Piedmont Area Regional Transit (PART) serves as the public transportation system for the City of Martinsville and Henry County.  PART was established in 2009 as a result of a transit study between the City and County, and is operated by RADAR of Roanoke, a non-profit organization that has specialized in public and private human service activities for decades.

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How Does West Piedmont Get to Work?

Each locality is home to individuals who travel to work, and each person has his or her own way of commuting to their place of employment.  The West Piedmont Planning District (WPPD) is very similar to the State as well as to the U.S. with regard to the modes of transportation residents utilize to get to work, but with some differences.

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Blacksburgers Clean Up in the Ride Smart Challenge

The Ride Smart Challenge wrapped up at the end of May and we recognized the top performing team (by number of trips) and the top performing individual. This year’s winning team comes from Blacksburg – “The Fightin’ TOBers” – who won by 27 trips over their nearest competition.

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Transit Development Plans aka Evaluate and Improve the Region’s Transit

The three public bus systems in the New River Valley have announced workshop dates where you can participate in improving the region’s transit systems. This is part of the Transit Development Plan that will look at current service and future needs.

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RIDE Solutions and Valley Metro Partner Ad Program

RIDE Solutions in conjunction with Valley Metro is launching a new Partner Ad program for buses in Roanoke, VA. Over the next few weeks, keep your eyes peeled for some new ads on the buses that will highlight community organizations that deserve more attention.

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Active Commuting – VT takes a day to focus on the benefits

On Wednesday, September 21, RIDE Solutions participated in Virginia Tech’s Active Commute Celebration. The event included 13 groups and organizations on campus and in the larger community that are promoting sustainable ways to actively commute – i.e., bike, bus and walk – and offering ways to change your perspective on when and where you can leave your car behind.

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Celebrate Clean Commuting in Blacksburg

We’ll be celebrating in Blacksburg on May 20 to thank those who have taken the clean commute pledge. Stop by, say hello, and enjoy a cup of coffee and a pastry.

Clean Commute participants pledge to use a cleaner commute mode – biking, walking, riding the bus, carpooling – during May. Each trip pledged is an entry for the prize drawings. There’s a Commute Team of the Year competition open to any group (workplace, clubs, informal groups), too.

You can still join the Clean Commute Challenge!

Becoming Clean Commuter of the Year

What did it take to win Clean Commuter of the Year in 2015? 93 trips. A little motivation. Planning. Encouragement from friends and coworkers. An employer actively supporting smart commuting.

2015’s winner – Emma Jones – is a regular clean commuter. She takes advantage of her employer’s support for telecommuting and connects her cycling with the bus on days she’s heading to the office. But she doesn’t stop with the daily commute; because she lives in town, she can and does use her bike and her feet to get around for errands and social outings.

This post isn’t just a success story about our winner. It’s a post on how you can be a successful clean commuter, too. more