TDM Plays a Major Role in Charlotte’s Goal to Achieve Safe and Equitable Mobility - Wells + Associates

TDM Plays a Major Role in Charlotte’s Goal to Achieve Safe and Equitable Mobility

As outlined in our December 7th blog post “Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan Draft,”  we at Wells + Associates are focusing on aspects of the plan relating to transportation, parking, transit- and trail-oriented development, and community mobility. This blog post is focused on the Transportation Demand Management (TDM) portion of the Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan.

The Benefits of TDM

But what is TDM?  TDM reduces travel demand by changing behaviors, particularly at peak commute hours. It creates strategic ways to get cars off the road and out of garages, to create work-life balance, and to reduce stress. But that is not all. Communities benefit from improved health and a cleaner environment. Everyone benefits by the economic stimulus of empowering people to live and play in their own communities. 

Goal 5 of Charlotte’s comprehensive plan is focused on “SAFE AND EQUITABLE MOBILITY”.  More specifically the goal states: 

“Charlotte will provide safe and equitable mobility options for all travelers regardless of age, income, ability, race, where they live, or how they choose to travel. An integrated system of transit, bikeways, sidewalks, shared-use paths, and streets will support a sustainable, connected, prosperous, and innovative network that connects all Charlotteans to each other, jobs, housing, amenities, goods, services, and the region.” 

 Two of the objectives in the draft Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan (The Plan) that center on TDM can be found in Goal 5 of the Plan.  They emphasize how the City of Charlotte should (emphasis ours): 

  • Increase access to sustainable and zero carbon transportation modes and mobility options to support our Strategic Energy Action Plan.” (Objective 5c)
  • Increase the share of trips made without a car to broaden the connectivity and capacity of our transportation infrastructure.” (Objective 5d)

In summary, moving more people in fewer cars (a.k.a., TDM) will help Charlotte maximize the infrastructure it has while minimizing the impact on the environment. 

But how do we get more people to use fewer cars? Or in technical terms, how do we shift the mode of transportation that people use? 

TDM Options for Charlotte’s Comprehensive Plan Goals

The Plan includes several policies that support the Big Idea of setting an aggressive mode shift goal. 

5.3 – Increase access to zero carbon transportation options


“5.3 – Increase access to zero carbon transportation options for first- and last-mile trips and provide new and adapt existing transportation infrastructure to support a range of tree-shaded sustainable transportation choices.”

Solution: Shared Streets
charlotte shared streets blog by Wells + Associates - phase 2 interactive map
Part of increasing access to zero carbon transportation options is creating Shared Streets that make it safer for many forms of active transportation – wheelchair rolling, walking, biking, skateboarding, and roller blading – by closing them to through traffic.

5.4Increase the mode share of walking, biking, transit and shared/micro mobility


“5.4Increase the mode share of walking, biking, transit and shared/micro mobility, setting and tracking goals for investment in infrastructure, strategies, and education programs.”

Solution: A Five-Step Pattern to Multimodal Growth
Mosaic District Capital Bikeshare Fairfax County Virginia
While creating more transportation options is of concern to most everyone, the bigger question is: How do you achieve more multimodal environment? In our experience, awareness and education programs are the first of five steps to effectively create more transportation choices and non-auto mode share..

5.8 – Support the implementation of emerging mobility strategies


“5.8 Support the testing, piloting, and implementation of emerging mobility strategies and technologies to evaluate low cost and nimble mobility investments.”

Solution: Electric Scooters
lafayette centre washington dc Spin electric scooter station amenity last mile connection wells + associates TDM
Electric scooters, like these parked at a SpinHub at 2445 M Street in Washington, DC, are a great example of a zero-carbon last-mile connection to transit.

5.9 – Respond to shifting mobility preferences


“5.9Monitor, measure and respond to shifting mobility preferences, behaviors and patterns.”

Tysons Corner Center metro station multimodal options Wells + Associates
Monitoring the performance of mobility programs provides critical information that can be used to not only plan and create new strategies, but also engage with end users through targeted marketing strategies. In our experience monitoring is the foundation for a unique four-phase approach designed to create an ongoing cycle of improvement and refinement.

5.10Leverage technology and partnerships


5.10Leverage technology and partnerships to better manage congestion through advance planning, intelligent transportation systems, demand management, and shared public/private funding strategies.

AMA Plaza ride hail implementation, office shuttle operations, ridership analysis
The private sector spends millions of dollars annually on shuttles and ridehailing to provide last-mile connections to publicly funded transit services, like this ridehailing program at AMA Plaza in Chicago. There are opportunities to leverage public-private funding strategies to deliver those services in a more efficient and cost effective manner.

5.12 – Include TDM in development regulations


“5.12 – Include in the development regulations an integrated Traffic Impact Study (TIS) / Transportation Demand Management (TDM) program that requires development and redevelopment projects to evaluate and address the multi-modal transportation impacts of the development.

A 9-step process that helps communities implement TDM programs and regulations is outlined in the Urban Land Institute book, Building a Multimodal Future. These programs address traffic congestion and allow higher density developments that are more walkable and accessible to multimodal transportation.

5.24 – Implement TDM programs to encourage modes other than single-occupancy vehicles


“5.24 – Transportation Demand Management: Implement programs and projects that educate, encourage, and provide incentives for residents to choose travel modes other than single-occupant personal vehicles.”

mosaic TDM program administration and development
Mosaic is a mixed-use project in Fairfax County, Virginia that successfully reduced peak-hour SOV trips of its residents by more than 30% by implementing TDM strategies that educate, promote, and incentivize non-SOV choices.

Conclusion: The Multimodal and Community Benefits of TDM Regulations, Strategies, and Programs

If effectively executed, these seven TDM policies can lay the foundation for the City of Charlotte to effectively achieve an aggressive increase in the number and percentage of residents and employees who choose travel modes other than single-occupant personal vehicles. We look forward to the prospect of these policies becoming formalized and working with the real estate sector to bring the results to life. You can learn more about our Charlotte-based transportation consulting team here