Lower Merion Township’s Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to accept a resolution to establish a TDM policy for the Township, making it the first TDM policy for this region.
Lower Merion Township was a successful recipient of a Transportation and Community Development Initiative grant, which focuses on linking land use and transportation planning and funded this project.
With over 30 years of national TDM expertise, GVF was hired by Lower Merion Township to work on this exciting initiative. As the Township was updating its zoning code, it was a perfect time to evaluate how people were commuting throughout the Township and identify TDM strategies that help enhance mobility options. By actively managing how people move throughout the township, it creates a more efficient and safe transportation system, while reducing congestion and air pollution.
Transportation demand management (TDM) is a strategy to inform and encourage travelers to maximize the efficiency of a transportation system leading to improved mobility, reduced congestion, and lower vehicle emissions. Simply stated, TDM helps to reduce peak demand on America’s roadways. TDM strategies include the use of planning, programs, policy, marketing, communications, incentives, pricing, and technology to shift travel mode, routes used, departure times, number of trips and other decisions that result in less single-occupancy vehicle traffic.
The Township is home to numerous large employers, such as Lankenau and Bryn Mawr Hospitals, St. Joseph’s University, Lower Merion School District, SIG, Suburban Square, to name a few. Additionally, DVRPC’s 2019 Congestion Management Process (CMP) identified four major routes in and around the Township as “Congested Corridors”, including: I-76, I-476, Route 1, and Route 30. With close to 39,000 people commuting into the Township, Lower Merion recognized it needed to implement additional measures to assist with alleviating congestion by educating and offering mobility alternatives to driving alone.
“We are so pleased to complete this project, prepare a Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Policy and have our forward-thinking Board of Commissioners adopt the policy for Lower Merion Township. Traffic issues cannot and should not be addressed by just building more highways and this TDM policy focuses our attention on more appropriate and environmentally sensitive approaches,” said Ernie McNeely, Township Manager, Lower Merion Township.
“Lower Merion Township is one of the most progressive communities we partner with. They have prioritized connectivity and identified ways to improve mobility. However, they are still having congestion issues. There comes a point where you can only do so much to move cars. A TDM policy is about prioritizing people versus cars. It is another tool the Township can utilize to help manage their growth, provide education and improved infrastructure that will enhance options for all of their community,” said Rob Henry, Executive Director, GVF.
Throughout this grant process, GVF conducted extensive national research on TDM best practices and TDM ordinances, which led to the development of the TDM policy the Board of Commissioners approved in June. The policy, which is voluntary at this point, includes the following goals:
Show a reduction in AM and PM peak period trips at key intersections by 5-7% within six (6) years of implementation of the policy
Show an increasing amount of ‘saved’ vehicle miles traveled (VMT) based on a biennial review of implemented TDM Plans required by zoning and land development processes
Show a 15-20% increase in mode shift based on employees taking a TDM alternative such as cycling, carpooling, vanpooling, teleworking, or transit (this will be conducted through a surveying of employers’ employees)
Show a Township-wide increase in the availability of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure within six (6) years of the implementation of this policy
Increase public outreach efforts to promote multi-modal transportation
GVF also drafted a TDM ordinance; however, due to COVID-19 the language of this ordinance will be revisited at a later date. GVF developed a TDM Employer handbook for Township employers, which will serve as an initial tool for educating employers on what type of programs they can be offering to reduce congestion and encourage employees not to drive alone. For more information on Lower Merion Township’s TDM Policy resolution or the TDM Employer Handbook click here.
If your community is interested in more information on TDM strategies or TDM policies your municipality can be implementing, please contact Maureen Farrell, Deputy Executive Director for GVF at firstname.lastname@example.org.