What is Walnut Creek Already Doing to Manage Automobile Trips?
What is Transportation Demand Management?
Transportation Demand Management (TDM) refers to a variety of programs and approaches designed to reduce automobile trips and peak period congestion. These focus on incentivizing and reducing barriers to the use of other mobility options, disincentivizing solo driving, and shifting travel demand to off-peak periods.
Existing TDM Programs and Policies
In line with the goals of its General Plan, modal plans, and Climate Action Plan, The City of Walnut Creek has enacted policy and pursued programs to discourage the use of single occupancy vehicles for a variety of trips and decrease vehicle miles traveled (VMT). As part of this effort, the City has adopted policies that specifically support TDM programs, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, and shuttle services and key destinations, including the Walnut Creek BART Station, Downtown, and Shadelands.
Walnut Creek has adopted a number of policies that encourage implementation of TDM measures and programs by employers and other entities. The City’s General Plan Transportation Chapter states “The City is committed to using transportation demand management strategies and actions to decrease dependency on single-occupant automobiles and increase transit use, ridesharing, and walking.” Additionally, there is a specific goal focused on TDM:
General Plan Goal 8: Serve as a model for other cities by providing a comprehensive TDM program that strives to decrease the use of the automobile and reduce peak-period traffic congestion.
Provide, monitor, and continuously improve a coordinated set of convenient, efficient transportation alternatives for those who would otherwise drive alone, including employees and school children of driving age.
511 Contra Costa
All Contra Costa County municipalities and the County are required to have a TDM ordinance or resolution which includes a commitment to promote alternatives to the single-occupant vehicle to reduce vehicle miles traveled. 511 Contra Costa provides voluntary TDM programs on behalf of the cities and County and is overseen by the Contra Costa County Transportation Authority and its Regional Transportation Planning Committees. Further support for employers is provided by the regional 511 Commute program.
Employer TDM Programs
Investment and participation in TDM programs by local employers is critical for the success of city-wide TDM initiatives. Within Walnut Creek, large employers such as John Muir Medical Center have created TDM programs to reduce congestion and parking demand and promote multi-modal options for commuters. Examples include:
All Bay Area employers with 50 or more employees are required to provide their workers with one of four commuter benefit options which include a pre-tax benefit, an employer subsidy, employer-provided transit, or an alternative benefit that is effective in reducing single-occupant vehicle trips.
Shadelands does not contain a formal TDM program but does contain TDM measures to facilitate options for mobility. These include a partnership with bike sharing service LimeBike and subsidized transit.
John Muir Medical Center
To facilitate travel to and from the facility, John Muir Medical Center has a variety of programs aimed at reducing SOV trips. This includes subsidizing transit passes for BART and buses, special parking for carpools and vanpools, taxi service to and from BART, and designated bicycle parking.
City of Walnut Creek
The city incentivizes its employees to take transit, carpool or vanpool, bicycle, or walk by providing a subsidy to those who commute via these modes.
Challenges, Needs, and Opportunities
Walnut Creek has laid the groundwork.
The City of Walnut Creek has laid the groundwork by adopting clear goals and policies for transportation demand management. The next step is to develop a strategic plan that identifies and prioritizes a range of actions across all aspects of the city’s transportation system so that the city can move forward more effectively with implementation. This is a key focus of Rethinking Mobility: A Transportation Strategic Plan for the City of Walnut Creek.
Employers need to be engaged.
A critical component of any TDM strategy is working with large employers to address commute options and incentives. Rethinking Mobility provides the city with an opportunity to work with major employers and other partners, such as Walnut Creek Downtown, to identify and implement additional TDM programs and approaches.