Improve Mobility Options to Reduce Parking

TOD-project tenants are more likely than those farther away from transit to use transit, pedestrian, bicycle, and other non-driving transportation modes.

Developments that incorporate facilities and amenities that support biking and walking and highlight the proximity and accessibility of nearby transit services are well positioned to attract tenants while also reducing the demand for parking.


Facilities such as continuous bike lanes and sidewalks on adjacent streets, in-building bicycle parking, lockers and showers for non-resident tenants who bike, and in-unit bike storage options all increase the likelihood that tenants will select non-driving travel modes and increase the value of new developments. Property management approaches can also further enhance TOD connections to transit by promoting access to transit (and the travel benefits it offers) and ensuring that on-site parking amenities do not put transit at a significant cost/convenience disadvantage in the competition for tenants’ travel decisions.

Provision of these programs and amenities can be incentivized via Trip Reduction Plans within TOD districts that commit developers to providing a strategic set of programs, policies, and/or investments designed to reduce how much parking the proposed buildings and uses will generate. Another name for these programs, policies, and investments are Travel Demand Management (TDM) strategies. Developers typically work through a provided “menu” of options available to them, or negotiate the plan contents with municipal staff, to best align TDM strategies with the land uses proposed for the site. For employment-based uses, for example, an emphasis on reducing the cost of commuter transit passes is a likely priority, whereas providing on-site access to carshare vehicles may be a priority for residential uses. A typical Trip Reduction Plan will incorporate elements from the following design and policy interventions into a consolidated package that seeks to improve bicycle, pedestrian, and transit accessibility and user experience.

Design Tools

  • Building entrances/exits that minimize walking distance to stations/stops

  • Ample sidewalk widths along sections connecting to stations/stops and other nearby activity centers

  • Amenities for people walking along sidewalks connecting to stations and stops: benches, shade features, buildings with active frontage, appropriate lighting, etc.

  • Dedicated path for people biking between buildings and stations/stops, as well as connections to a broader regional bike network

  • Bike parking and maintenance amenities within units, common areas of all buildings, and at station/stop end of bike routes

  • Elevators that are large enough to accommodate bicycles

  • Public showers and lockers for usage by non-resident bicyclists

  • Narrow, traffic-calmed streets between buildings and stations/stops

  • Bus waiting area amenities such as premium shelters, network maps and schedules, and seating areas

  • Locate bike shops on-site that can provide merchant services as well as training programs

 

Policy Tools

  • Parking cash-out, to offset the trip-generation impact of free or subsidized parking rates

  • Guaranteed ride home programs, for those who forgo on-site parking options, providing free rides when occasional circumstances disrupt their primary ride-home arrangements

  • Carpool/vanpool incentives, including ride-matching services, priority parking locations, and discounted parking rates

  • Install real-time arrival/tracker displays for transit and other available mobility services in building lobbies or similarly prominent locations

  • Provide new residents with a year of free transit passes and/or an ongoing discount that makes transit commuting cost-competitive with driving

  • Encourage/require employer tenants to offer discounted transit passes to employees

Difficulty

$$$

Cost

Impact

Key Benefits

  • Reduces parking demand

  • Increases value of developments

  • Increases development attractiveness for tenants

  • Supports Travel Demand Management (TDM) programs that incentivize biking and walking

  • Increases market demand for, value of, and return on investment from TOD investments

  • Increases pedestrian and bike activity on the street, leading to a more vibrant neighborhood

  • Reduces area traffic impacts and dependence on personal-auto access

  • Increases development densities, optimizing the area’s economic- and community-development potential

Case Studies

 NATIONAL 

 REGIONAL 

TDM Program

San Francisco, CA

In early 2016, the City and County of San Francisco adopted a resolution to initiate Code amendments that would require development projects to comply with a TDM program, with the intent to reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT), and to make it easier for people to get around by sustainable travel modes such as transit, walking, and biking. Under the TDM program, proposed developments are required to achieve a target TDM score, based on the number of accessory vehicle parking spaces included with the proposed project. In general, the TDM target score increases with the amount of parking proposed. Selected TDM measures must be incorporated into the project proposal and analyzed in Draft 1 of the Transportation Impact Study (TIS) or Transportation Circulation Memo. Property owners are required to implement the TDM measures in the approved TDM plan for the life of the project. Developers can meet the target by selecting TDM measures – each with a specified number of points – from a diverse menu of options. Some of the more innovative options include:

  • Provide streetscape improvements to encourage walking;

  • Provide on-site showers and lockers so commuters can travel by active modes;

  • Provide on-site tools and space for bicycle repair;

  • Provide bike maintenance services through an on-call mechanic or vouchers to a local shop;

  • Provide an onsite fleet of bicycles for residents, employees, and/or guests to use;

  • Several options for providing car-share parking and memberships, more points given for higher levels of participation;

  • Facilitate deliveries with a staffed reception desk, lockers, or other accommodations;

  • Provide storage for car seats near car-share parking, cargo bikes and shopping carts;

  • Provide an on-site childcare services;

  • 25, 50, 75, or 100% subsidies for transit passes, or other sustainable transportation costs (more points given for higher rate of subsidy);

  • Provide shuttle bus services, more points given for more frequent service;

  • Large screen or monitor that displays, at a minimum, transit arrival and departure information.

Texas Instruments Inc

Dallas, TX

Texas Instruments Inc. (TI), which employs 6,500 people, earned a Silver award from the League of American Bicyclists as a bike-friendly business. TI has formally supported alternative commuting for over 20 years and contributed close to $400,000 in direct funding and donated land to expand the Cottonwood Trail, connecting DART’s Forest Lane station to the western edge of the TI campus in North Dallas. TI has also installed long-term bike storage, onsite showers, and repair stations at its headquarters.

Implementation Considerations

Role of Public Sector

  • Codifies incentives and/or requirements for mobility improvements and/or TDM measures and trip reduction plans

Role of Private Sector

  • Implements and manages approved programs and policies to meet development-approval commitments, and/or for the benefit of site tenants and visitors

  • Coordinates shared and scalable programs (such as employer shuttles to/from transit stations) with neighboring developments and employers

  • Monitors program/resource utilization and progress towards transportation mode share goals

Timing

  • Viable for both established and future TODs