Traditional solutions to traffic congestion involve adding capacity such as new roads or new lanes to existing ones, but studies show that adding capacity merely creates more demand for people to drive alone. As we understand now, we cannot build our way out of congestion.
By changing preferences and patterns, transportation demand management offers the fastest and most cost-effective way to manage congestion. This approach simultaneously addresses the affordability crisis in Austin where transportation is the second highest household expenditure, just behind housing.
To help residents know about all available transportation options, Austin Transportation launched GetThereATX.com. This website is the ultimate resource for information about sustainable transportation options in Austin. Get There ATX lowers the barriers to information for residents, employees, and visitors, and also consolidates information on mobility options for commuters, employers, schools and special events.
How the City of Austin promotes sustainable transportation
Kudos to Austin! The City of Austin received a Transportation Demand Management Excellence Award at the 2018 Association for Commuter Transportation Forum. This award recognizes a government’s efforts to support sustainable transportation options through policies, programs and actions.
To learn about the City’s efforts in transportation demand management, you can download and read the reports below.
The TDM program achieves its goals through local policy, planning and programming.
Local policy examples
- The Economic Development Department’s Business Expansion Program recommends transportation strategies such as locating in a high-frequency transit corridor and incentivizing employees’ use of sustainable transportation modes.
- The Special Events Ordinance requires and encourages special events to incorporate TDM strategies into event planning.
- Council resolutions that incorporate TDM:
- Smart Trips, an education and encouragement program that promotes sustainable transportation options in Austin neighborhoods
- Air Quality Program, an education program focused on healthy outdoor air in Austin by addressing the impact of City operations and actions on air quality and traffic congestion
- Parking Management, a key TDM strategy led by the department’s Parking Enterprise Division.
How you as an individual can tackle congestion
Reducing congestion is a collective effort that begins with you! Help reduce the number of people who drive alone and increase the number of people who use shared/sustainable modes through the following ways:
- Share rides. Ride-sharing options, such as carpooling and vanpooling, offer ways to cut commute costs, reduce traffic congestion and even alleviate the stress of driving alone. To find a carpool buddy, check out some of Austin's ride-share resources.
- Vanpool. The Capital Metro RideShare Program provides eligible groups of 5-12 people with a month-to-month vanpool lease agreement including insurance, maintenance, 24-hour roadside assistance, and optional fuel purchasing program.
- Transit. Capital Metro is Austin's regional public transportation provider. Check out the bus and train options to plan your next commute or trip.
- Bike. Learn more about biking in Austin through our Bicycle Program, where you’ll find helpful maps and information on laws and safety.
- Dockless mobility. Learn more about shared micro-mobility services, such as scooters and bikes.
Employer options to address congestion
Employers can adopt transportation demand management programs that typically offer incentives and options to encourage employees to shift travel modes. In addition to the broad benefits of reduced traffic congestion and better air quality, employer-based programs offer mutual benefits to both employers and employees, such as reduced need for parking spaces, increased employee recruitment and retention, boosted employee morale, and enhanced employer image. Below are regional platforms that employers can use as a resource for their own programs.
- Movability, an organization of Central Texas employers dedicated to connecting their employees with mobility options
- Commute Solutions, an incentives program and commute planning tool for carpool matching in Central Texas