Transportation Demand Management (TDM)

What is transportation demand management?

Transportation demand management (or TDM) is the discipline of encouraging and facilitating traveler behavior that makes more efficient use of the transportation network. Ultimately, this means providing people with more choice about how, where, when, and if they travel: giving them more freedom and flexibility in their work hours and location, for instance, or making it more convenient, feasible, and attractive to take transit, ride a bike, or share their trip with other travelers.

Why is transportation demand management important for Colorado?

Population Growth

Colorado's population is projected to increase by over 600,000 residents by 2030. Facilitating more efficient travel choices will be an essential component of the strategy to maintain the reliability of the travel network as it accommodates more travelers.

Public Finance

Colorado cannot afford to “build our way out” of congestion. By making the most of our existing network, we can maximize the impact of tax dollars and reduce future maintenance bills.

Climate Change

While the state has made good progress toward our 2030 GHG targets, additional transportation strategies are needed to close the remaining gap. Emissions-reducing TDM strategies will be needed in addition to zero emission vehicle transitions.

Air Quality

The negative health impacts of vehicle emissions are well documented. TDM can be critical in reducing ozone and criteria pollutants from transportation.

Timing

The pandemic, changing workplace attitudes and policies, labor market shortages and recent transportation policy and investment changes present a critical opportunity. 

The landscape of transportation demand management in Colorado

Colorado has a strong tradition of commuter-focused transportation demand management programming, supported by a mixture of regional initiatives - like the Denver Regional Council of Governments' Way to Go Partnership - and programs championed by local governments, transit agencies, and other community and quasi-governmental organizations.

However, many audiences across the state have historically not been part of the conversation, and this has often caused the range of TDM strategies to be constrained by the actors at the table, especially in regard to developing solutions that work for audiences who have not been well-served by traditional TDM efforts - including rural residents, shift workers, caregivers and recreational travelers.

Furthermore, ongoing changes to travel patterns and behaviors in response to the COVID-19 pandemic continue to create fresh challenges for established approaches, and the emergence of new technologies - such as shared micromobility, electric bicycles, and advancements in data analytics - also present invaluable new opportunities for practitioners across the state to tackle varied (and growing) congestion and mobility issues through context-appropriate tools and approaches.