Office of Operations
21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies


the application settings for demand-side strategies

chart - bottom chart

Demand-side strategies facilitating efficient traveler choices are tailored for a wide range of different program applications, each addressing different trip types of travel market segments.

1. Schools & Universities
2. Special Events
3. Recreation & Tourism Destinations
4. Transportation Corridor Planning & Construction Mitigation
5. Employer-Based Commute Programs
6. Airports
7. Incidents & Emergencies
8. Freight Transportation

Schools & Universities
Throughout the United States, driving children to school is as routine as the commute to work. While school bus systems exist for many school districts (particularly rural), they do not always fit student schedules (due to after school activities, etc.) or they are not even offered in some urban districts. Neighbors may form carpools for their children, however, without outside support or guidance, the reach of these carpools may be limited to groups of friends or neighbors that already know each other and that have children in the same school. “School Pool” programs are administered in many communities to share information with parents and assist in the connection of interested parties for sharing a ride. Not only do school pools reduce overall vehicle miles traveled, they also decrease congestion around the schools, which enhances safety and fosters an improved environment for children walking or bicycling to school. Often referred to “safe routes to school,” these programs are underway across the country, in cities of all sizes. The California Safe Routes to School Clearinghouse offers a range of resources and contacts for these efforts:

In university or college settings, the physical space for parking and transportation infrastructure is often limited. By making transportation opportunities abundant and flexible in nature, students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to try and eventually rely on alternatives to single occupancy vehicles. Other programs may integrate on-campus housing as part of an integrated transportation and land use strategy designed to reduce travel distances or eliminate the need for some trips altogether. Disincentives, such as an aggressive parking fee structure, often play an integral role in encouraging more efficient travel choices.


CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA. The county-wide SchoolPool program has providing rideshare assistance and bus passes on local transit for five years.

UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON. The University created the “Universal Pass” which provides transportation options for a quarterly fee to faculty/staff.


Special Events
Many communities recognize sizeable special events produce significant impacts to the transportation system. In order to curtail traffic disruptions and congestion related to events – whether they are summer festivals, sporting events or conventions – agency collaborations on traffic management plans are using available assets, including local transit and ITS infrastructure, to better manage demand. FHWA has developed a technical reference entitled Managing Travel for Planned Special Events. The reference is intended to serve as a stand-alone tool for transportation practitioners and includes successful case studies for a range of special event types.


SUMMERFEST, WI. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation demonstrated the effectiveness of “pre-planning” for large events, such as the Summerfest concert festival, attended by over one million people annually.

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS, WA. As a condition of project approval, the transportation management plan for Seahawks Stadium established goals to reduce personal vehicle trips. Based on 2002 results, mode split goals set forth in the plan have been surpassed.

King County, in Seattle, developed an internet-based resource for offering ridematching and other services for regional events. The website provides an updated list of upcoming special events, and facilitates ridesharing to the event locations. More information is available:



ZION NATIONAL PARK, UT. In order to preserve the unique resources and recreational opportunities of Zion Canyon, the Park instituted a mandatory shuttle system during peak visitation. 75% of Zion’s annual visitors utilize the shuttle system.

ASPEN, CO. In this city, the revenue generated from the paid parking program is directly reinvested into demand-side programs and allocated for future transit investments.


Recreation & Tourism
Unique circumstances can lead to successful implementation of demand-side strategies at recreation and tourism destinations. Typical of the resort areas researched for this guide, maintaining environmental, natural, and aesthetic features of the community are of necessary importance for the economic vitality of the area. As part of this guide, information has been collected on strategies to manage traffic that have been implemented in recreational and destination communities. Demand-side strategies typically focus on targeted travelers (i.e. employees, visitors, etc.) to reduce trips during congested travel times. Often demand-side programs are geared towards home-based work trips. However in an area where tourism and seasonal services occur, demand-side strategies might be particularly effective if targeted towards seasonal employees often priced out of living close to their employment center or visitors who are accustomed to paying for services and already expect a unique experience from visiting the area. The case studies highlighted in this guide describe a collection of programs undertaken by various sponsors (i.e. local jurisdictions, transit authority, non-profit organizations) as part of a collective effort for their community.

Transportation Corridor Planning & Construction Mitigation
Planning and preliminary engineering of major corridor investment projects presents significant opportunities for the coordinated integration of demand-side programs. In more and more projects around the country, these programs are being developed as an integrated component of each “build” alternative assessed in the corridor planning process. There are three prime opportunities for integration of demand-side programs into the corridor planning and construction process:

1. Project Phasing.
In corridors where major capital investments are selected as part of the “preferred alternative,” the final implementation of these investments is often 5-10 years down the road. Demand-side programs often take much less time and money to implement, and can provide valuable transportation services in the early years of implementation. Systems management strategies can achieve near-term, incremental improvements to traffic flow. Demand-side measures can enhance available travel choices and establish key partnerships with corridor businesses.

2. Construction Mitigation. The (re)construction of major corridor infrastructure projects often takes many years to complete. During this time period, transportation capacity in the corridor is often degraded and access to businesses limited. Demand-side programs provide critical mitigation strategies to reduce the negative impacts of construction, including:

• Providing traveler information regarding construction activities like ramp closures, and offering details and assistance on alternative travel modes, travel routes and travel times.

• Working with corridor employers and other businesses to provide traveler information and to develop access alternatives, such as transit, vanpooling, flexible work hours or telework.

• Working with transportation agencies to adjust existing transportation facilities and services, such as adding temporary HOV lanes or adding additional transit services.

3. Complementing Build Alternatives. Demand-side programs often play an important role as a complement to a build alternative, in two key ways:

A. Maximizing the utilization of build alternatives.Strategies implemented vary, based on the nature of the build alternative. For example:


• For corridors adding HOV lanes, appropriate strategies might include partnerships with employers for promotion of transit and ridesharing, development of incentives, education and marketing of associated travel time and travel cost savings for HOV lane use, information on lane access times and locations, etc.

• For corridors adding transit systems, appropriate strategies might include working with employers to improve connections to the transit stops/stations, development of transit pass programs, marketing and education of transit routes, stops and schedules, real-time transit schedule information, etc.

B. Providing enhanced travel choices for trip patterns not well served by the major investment. For example, construction of new general purpose lanes and a rail transit line along a north-south corridor may not provide significant benefits for east-west travel patterns in the area. Transportation management strategies can augment the major north-south investment with systems management strategies to improve traffic flow and demand-side programs to provide enhanced travel choices for east-west trips. These same programs also enhance access to major north-south investments.


T-REX – DENVER, CO. For the Transportation Expansion Project (T-REX) in metropolitan Denver, Colorado, project sponsors have dedicated $3 million to the TransOptions program, a TDM-based construction mitigation program.

As part of the reconstruction of US 101 in the Cuesta Grade in central California, the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments developed an integrated set of demand-side strategies to enhance mobility during the reconstruction period. The program included increased commuter bus service, special vanpool promotion and subsidies, and carpool incentives. An evaluation of the demand-side programs showed a reduction of about 300 cars per day from the highway, eliminating about 8,000 miles of daily vehicle travel. Average auto occupancy on the highway rose from 1.206 to 1.266. The evaluation showed that the carpool incentives were the most cost effective means among the three programs for removing cars from the highway.

Employer-Based Commute Programs
As a travel market, work-related trips tend to reflect the highest percentage of peak-period trips made within a region. Typically, commute trips occur regularly and are sometimes easier to arrange for a consistent alternative to driving alone than other trip types. For this reason, many demand-side strategies are implemented through employer-based and work site specific programs that encourage employees to switch from driving alone to carpooling, vanpooling, or using some other alternate means of travel. Often programs deployed at a work site level encourage employees to adjust work schedules or even reevaluate the need to travel (i.e. telecommute). Regional demand-side programs also focus on commute trip reduction strategies that complement local transportation programs and facilities such as light rail, regional bus service, and rideshare programs. As an incentive, employers are typically eligible for tax benefits by providing certain qualifying transportation benefits.

In recent years, increased attention has been given to transportation systems supporting airports both locally as well as internationally. Airports are vital to local economies and therefore should be given due diligence for continued and orderly expansion. Transportation management efforts, whether or not expansion is on the horizon, include internal circulation plans, overall master planning efforts, and regional transportation infrastructure investments. Planning efforts should take a critical look at airfield capacity, terminal and parking space and access issues. Besides encouraging travelers to use alternative means to travel to, from and within airport property, successful planning efforts have incorporated transportation options for airport employees. Since the terrorist events on September 11, 2001, transportation infrastructure as it relates to maintaining airport security has also been taken to a level of elevated importance and scrutiny.


LONDON HEATHROW. On a large scale, BAA’s London Heathrow has invested in a sustainable future for public transport involving an integrated system of rail, transit, and managing and monitoring traffic demand.

JFK, NY. In addition to improving access to the John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) in New York City, the $1.9 billion JFK AirTrain investment provides access for passengers traveling between terminals and other ground facilities.

Incidents & Emergencies
Strategies to improve traveler awareness of an unplanned event and to expedite the response to incidents on the roadway network are essential for maintaining freeway operations. Traffic incidents are a significant cause of freeway congestion. When an incident occurs, roadway capacity is typically reduced by blocking a lane or introducing a distraction in the traveling environment that causes motorists to reduce travel speed. Considerable documentation is already available on incident and emergency management programs throughout the country. FHWA has numerous publications, including the Benefits Brochures series, highlighting technology for incident and emergency response. AASHTO has published the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CONNDOT) Incident Management System (IMS) as one of their highlighted Success Stories. CONNDOTs IMS, like many throughout the country, monitors traffic operations at a traffic operations center, dispatches and coordinates interagency emergency response, adjusts traffic signal systems to manage flow, and supports highway service patrols. Transportation management plans are also critical to emergency preparedness planning efforts for natural disasters and other major, unexpected occurrences.

Freight Transportation
Considering that commercial vehicle traffic typically comprises a steady percentage of daily traffic on state highways and the interstate system, further research on non-commute demand-side strategies would benefit from a more detailed discussion of freight management and commercial transportation. As a function of their size, freight trucks have been attributed with adding to congestion, road surface degradation and traffic accident severity. Commercial vehicle travel reductions can provide benefit to both the highway system and local roads utilized for delivery. There are a number of programs around the country that have been implemented to streamline commercial vehicle operations. FHWA has also documented the benefits of commercial vehicle electronic screening in their Benefits Brochures series. Besides streamlining operations, perhaps the most effective way to manage commercial vehicle travel is to encourage off-peak travel or alternative routes. Improving scheduling and truck routing processes can contribute to a reduction in freight vehicle mileage.


DEMAND-SIDE FREIGHT STRATEGIES – LONG BEACH, CA. The Los Angeles region has 16 million residents, 9 million jobs, and one of the busiest freight ports in the world. In the Los Angeles area, the Long Beach port moves close to 13,000 20-foot long containers each day. To better manage this high level of goods movement, Intelligent Transportation Systems can be used as a tool to implement Transportation Demand Management concepts traditionally seen in personal commuting. TDM concepts in goods movement include better scheduling, better routing and reduction of bottlenecks at check points.

On December 10th, 2003, the Marine Terminal Operators (MTO) introduced a new truck identification technology that has potential to reduce air pollution and relieve truck congestion around the port. The two tracking devices currently being considered are radio frequency identification tags (RFID) and Real-Time Locating System tags (RTLS). Both systems are similar to electronic toll collection devices currently used in private automobiles across the country. At the MTO’s expense, these devices will be installed in over 30,000 trucks that use the Long Beach terminal.

The new technologies will help reduce congestion in several ways. First, it allows the MTO to identify and register trucks without the need for them to stop at port entrances. Electronic identification also will reduce the entrance gate personnel requirements for the MTO, making off-hour deliveries less expensive and more realistic. Increasing off-hour deliveries has the potential to shift delivery schedules to times of the day that experience less commuter congestion. Thirdly, the new technologies could locate lost truck drivers and facilitate route finding back to the terminal. Finally, electronic identification provides an excellent tool to gather data on truck contributions to local highway congestion.

The Vice Mayor and City Councilman of Long Beach, Frank Colonna is excited about the potential to reduce the impacts of truck congestion on neighboring communities. Mr. Colonna has said, “I like the initiative. It will provide a pathway to better manage truck traffic, minimize congestion, [and] reduce air pollution...” The MTO intends to have the system up and running by March 2004. For more information contact: Port of Long Beach, (562) 437-0041,


Office of Operations