What is transportation demand management?

Transportation demand is the application of strategies and policies to reduce travel demand, or to redistribute this demand in space or time

transportation demand management

What is transportation demand management (TDM)?

You might have heard the term “transportation demand management,” “traffic demand management,” or “travel demand management,” but they all go by the acronym TDM, and they all refer to the same thing: the application of strategies and policies to reduce travel demand, or to redistribute this demand in space or time.

Rather than increasing capacity (which we know now just increases demand in lock-step), transportation demand management aims to intelligently redistribute and reduce demand on existing transportation infrastructure using numerous strategies that lead to improved mobility, reduced congestion, and lower vehicle emissions. Some of these many strategies include:

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  • Utilizing mass transit systems or bike/walk/rideshare to destinations
  • Creating or improving pedestrian-oriented pathways to incentivize locals to walk instead of drive
  • Building bicycle-available pathways including bike lanes and multi-use trails
  • Ensuring facilities are bike-friendly, including storage areas
  • Introducing congestion pricing on busy roads during peak hours
  • Facilitating the creation of workplace travel plans
  • Reallocating roadspaces, privileging buses and other multi-user transportation modes
  • Encouraging flex-time work schedules to reduce roadway demand at peak hours
transportation demand management options

Breaking it down

Public Transit:

  • Available to the general public
  • May require a fare
  • Runs at scheduled times


  • Performs their jobs from outside a company’s office
  • Substitute daily transportation with telecommuting options like phone, email and internet tools
  • Includes remote work, work-from-home jobs and virtual jobs


  • Multiple people use the same vehicle to arrive at a similar destination
  • Includes vanpooling and carpooling
  • Can be peer-to-peer or organized by a company


  • Designed for local users in support of community transit and environmental goals
  • Decreases personal car ownership and reduces vehicle distance traveled
  • Providing affordable access to vehicles

Bicycling or Bikesharing:

  • Pollution-free mode of transport
  • May be provided at a daily, monthly, annual or trip-based fee
  • Reduces the need to build, service and dispose of cars


  • Benefits include cleaner air, less traffic noise and fewer road accidents
  • Statistics show that as vehicle miles travel increase, productivity declines
  • Places with fewer motorist tend to have less accidents


  • Transportation for those who cannot use regular transportation services
  • Supplement to public transportation
  • Also applies to fee-for-service companies that provide non-emergency medical transport (NEMT)


  • Carries passengers for a fare
  • Usually determined by the distance traveled
  • Can be called on by a short notice

Learn more about the TDM and existing TDM organizations here.

Check out how this TDM organization is making the switch to hybrid-diesel-electric vehicles here!


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