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Menlo Park

Menlo Park: Streamlining TDM for New Developments


In 2015, the City of Menlo Park approved amendments to its Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Guidelines and Transportation Impact Analysis (TIA) Guidelines to encourage the use of TDM measures in new development projects in the City’s M-2 Area (Figure 1) along the Bayfront.

The amendments allow projects that are proposing a change of land use to commit to certain TDM strategies and, as a result, forego the lengthier process of a Transportation Impact Analysis (TIA). The M-2 district allows research and development, manufacturing, warehousing and other general industrial uses, as well as office type uses. If a development project proposes a change to another approved use category (i.e. industrial to office use) then the project can qualify for a streamlined review process.


Figure 1: M2 Planning Area

Through the implementation of these amendments, the City of Menlo Park sought to:

  • increase the use of creative TDM strategies by developers and employers due to the incentive of a streamlined project review process,
  • encourage growth and development
  • reduce the use of city resources and staff time, and
  • mitigate the negative impacts of congestion and/or pollution associated with new developments.


The TDM guidelines, adopted by City Council in 2001, encourage the use of creative strategies and programs to reduce vehicle traffic. The guidelines allow new developments to gain “trip credits” for implementing TDM measures. Each trip credit theoretically offsets one predicted trip. The TDM measures include on-site bicycle storage, shuttle service, transit subsidies, and a parking cash-out program (where employees can accept taxable cash income instead of a subsidized parking space). Each measure corresponds to a specific number of trip credits – for example, one peak hour trip is credited for every three new bicycle lockers installed and maintained.

The City refers applicants to the list of potential TDM measures and their associated trip credit maintained by C/CAG as part of the San Mateo County Congestion Management Program (CMP).

The City’s TIA guidelines define whether a proposed project requires an assessment of its transportation impacts. The amendments adopted in 2015 combine the TDM and TIA guidelines by allowing a project to proceed without conducting a TIA if the project meets the following conditions:

  1. The project is located within the M-2 Zoning District
  2. The project includes a Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Program following the City’s TDM Guidelines, prepared to the approval of the Transportation Division
  3. The TDM Program reduces the number of peak hour vehicle trips generated to less than the City’s current TIA threshold for commercial space (equivalent to a 10,000 square foot commercial building)
  4. The applicant agrees to implement, and annually monitor and report the TDM program’s effectiveness to the City, and bear the cost of all staff time to review these reports


The policy change was implemented with the hopes of shortening the review process for developers. By modifying the TDM and TIA guidelines, small to mid-size projects can identify their desire to conduct a TDM program up front and commit to TDM measures, and then agree to implement the program as a condition of approval. Previously, these projects would have be required to complete a TIA and possibly an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). This modification has benefits for streamlining project review (i.e., schedule and cost savings) of approximately 8 weeks to 24 months, depending on the level of analysis and required review process.

For the City itself, the benefit is threefold: This new process saves time for city staff, encourages development in its Bayfront Area, and ensures transportation impacts are minimal relative to the size of a project.

Lessons Learned

Menlo Park’s TDM program guidelines apply to the entire city and target mid to large sized employers. However, the streamlined review process is only applicable to new developments in the city’s M-2 area, due to the specific zoning and land uses in this district.

Going forward, the City plans to update the Transportation Demand Management Guidelines to require new non-residential, mixed use and multi-family residential development to provide facilities and programs that ensure a majority of associated travel can occur by walking, bicycling, and/or transit.

The City of Menlo Park is also continuing to explore the development of a Transportation Management Association (TMA). A TMA would assist residents, employees and business owners in identifying transportation options between major nodes in the city.


San Jose

San Jose: Incorporating TDM strategies in the transition to VMT


In February 2018, the San Jose City Council adopted a new Transportation Analysis Policy to comply with Senate Bill 743. SB 743 mandates a shift from level of service to vehicle miles traveled (VMT) as a primary environmental measurement for CEQA transportation analysis. Cities across California have until 2020 to comply with SB 743.

The City's implementation of SB 743 is split into two phases.  The first phase, which was completed in 2018, involves the update of the City's Transportation Analysis Policy (i.e. shifting from LOS to VMT and establishing significant thresholds and screening criteria) and the development of the VMT calculator.  Phase 2, which would begin in 2020, is to revisit the City's parking requirements, TDM ordinance, among other items.

The City of San Jose’s Transportation Analysis Policy requires all new developments to account for the amount of vehicle travel they would produce, rather than just its impact on traffic at nearby intersections. This metric aligns with the Envision San Jose 2040 General Plan and its goals for smart and focused growth, accessibility, affordability, economic development and environmental sustainability. The Transportation Impact Analysis Guidelines include TDM measures for CEQA transportation impacts that aim to reduce and mitigate VMT. This case study outlines the TDM aspects of the Transportation Analysis Policy and the associated VMT calculator.


The Transportation Analysis Policy requires projects that don’t meet the initial screening criteria (as identified within the policy) to analyze their VMT and mitigate the identified impacts. To assist with this process, the City developed a VMT Evaluation Tool to assess a project’s potential VMT based on the project’s description, location, and attributes. Projects in high-VMT areas are required to include a set of VMT reduction measures that would reduce VMT to the extent possible. Mitigation strategies are classified into four tiers: 1) Project Characteristics; 2) Multimodal Network Improvements; 3) Parking; and 4) Programmatic TDM. The proposed project should prioritize physical design mitigation strategies (Tier 1, 2 and 3) before considering TDM (Tier 4). Physical design mitigation strategies are prioritized because they are more permanent and benefit both the existing population and the occupants of the building, whereas programmatic TDM measures are difficult to enforce over time and primarily benefit only the building occupants. (The mitigation strategies are on page 22 - 25 of the Transportation Analysis Handbook.)


Developers are generally supportive of the policy update because the City engaged developers early on in the process to address their concerns regarding long approval time and cost uncertainty. With the VMT calculator, developers no longer need to spend time and money on a lengthy and complex LOS report. Instead, the calculator outputs a transportation report that includes a few pages of the calculator results and a mitigation package. Developers will still need to analyze local traffic conditions outside of CEQA but the scope will be much smaller than before.

In addition, the City estimated that the overall cost of transportation improvements will be comparable to before the policy, if not lower. The policy will help streamline the approval process and lower the transportation improvement cost for a dense or mixed-use development built in infill growth areas, but not for a low-dense, single-use development in suburban areas.

Lessons Learned

Due to a lack of local data demonstrating the effectiveness of individual TDM strategies, the early version of the City’s VMT calculator is based on literature review of research papers with worldwide study sites and is therefore not as localized as City staff originally intended. However, the new transportation analysis policy requires developments to submit annual monitoring reports to show that they have implemented TDM strategies. As more local data is sent to the City, the City should be able to understand more about how effective each TDM strategy is for the region and improve the VMT calculator.

San Jose City Staff recognize that reducing VMT is a regional matter and requires all cities to work together to improve accessibility of places and mobility of people.  More regional implementation of SB 743 is critical in order to achieve cross-jurisdictional transportation improvements.  San Jose has actively engaged with other cities and agencies to work towards statewide implementation, including ideas of a regional VMT bank and exchange, statewide research on VMT-reducing strategies, etc. Santa Clara County’s Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) is planning to develop a VMT calculator for the entire county to ensure consistent calculations among cities. This regional collaboration is a step in the right direction.


Boulder, CO

TDM Initiatives in Boulder, Colorado


Boulder’s 2014 Transportation Master Plan (TMP) outlines transportation demand management (TDM) solutions that offer travel choices while improving the efficiency of the transportation system. One of the most effective strategies implemented by the City of Boulder is its neighborhood-level approach to TDM programs. This case study outlines two major components of the City’s TDM program: Neighborhood Transit Passes and a TDM Access District.


Neighborhood TDM: Transit Passes

The Regional Transportation District (RTD) EcoPass is a bulk-rate, discounted transit pass that is purchased from RTD. It provides unlimited usage of RTD services, including any local or regional bus, Boulder’s Community Transit Network, Skyride bus service to the airport, and light rail and commuter rail.

The RTP EcoPass program is one of the most effective TDM programs for changing travel behavior. The EcoPass Program is available to employers, neighborhoods, and universities. The availability to neighborhoods is a unique and effective mechanism for providing widespread access to public transit. The Neighborhood EcoPass (NECO Pass) program allows neighborhoods in the City of Boulder to bulk purchase NECO passes for every eligible household within the defined neighborhood. In 2017, the NECO Pass Program included 11,298 eligible households. The City of Boulder encourages neighborhood participation by providing a subsidy of 50% to first-time neighborhoods, and 30-35% subsidy in ensuing years.

The graph below depicts the number of households and residents that qualify for a NECO pass because they are within a neighborhood participating in the program. Participation and eligibility in the NECO pass has increased over time, but has slightly plateaued in recent years, likely due to an increase the NECO pass cost.  



TDM Access District: Boulder Junction

Boulder Junction, a newly developed neighborhood in the City of Boulder, has been piloted as a “TDM Access District”. The goal of the TDM Access District is to create a new pedestrian-oriented neighborhood, allowing for mixed use and increased density without increasing vehicle trips. The district combines TDM measures like parking maximums and subsidized transit passes with land use considerations such as higher density and mixed-use development. The area stipulates a maximum mode share for SOVs at 45%.

To achieve the low rate of SOV travel, Boulder Junction’s zoning code caps parking spaces at one per residential unit and collects property taxes within the area that fund full participation in the Eco Pass program for the area at no cost to residents and employees. In 2017, the first evaluation of vehicle trip generation showed approximately 58 percent of afternoon peak hour trips were SOV trips. While the ordinance target has not been met yet, Boulder Junction is already performing better than the rest of the city outside of the Downtown. The City of Boulder is currently working with RTD to increase bus service to the district. However, RTD prefers to see more ridership before investing in another, more frequent route. Ridership will likely increase as the District is built out and major employers move into the area. TDM services will continue to be added and assessed in order to reach the 45 percent SOV goal.


In 2016, the estimated number of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) per day in Boulder Valley is about 2.5 million. This is only slightly above the 1994 baseline. The 2014 TMP sets an aggressive target of 1.9 million miles per day by 2035 (a 20 percent reduction from the baseline).

The City of Boulder is on track to meet the TMP goals. However the Boulder Valley region is not. According to the 2017 Boulder Valley Employee Survey, 48 percent of employed Boulder residents drive alone to work. This is down from 59 percent in 2011. Comparatively, 78 percent of non-Boulder residents drive alone to work which has remained constant since 1991. TDM measures are more difficult to implement in less-dense, suburban areas outside of the city boundaries.

Lessons Learned

The Transportation Master Plan indicates that rate of mode shift is flattening or even reversing. This suggests that the current set of TDM measures may be plateauing in their effectiveness. Increases in vehicle count results and in vehicles entering signalized intersections likely reflect continued population and employment growth as well as low gas prices.

Another challenge is that funding is becoming more limited. Additional funding will be needed to support TDM programs and increase the rate of mode shift. In 2018, RTD’s Pass Program Working Group recommended pricing the NECO pass based on the number and types of trips taken from the residents of a neighborhood, rather than a flat rate per person. This change in pricing will be implementing in early 2019 and may decrease participation in the NECO pass program.  

Social equity is an important aspect of any TDM program. Since the NECO pass program is a volunteer-driven effort, many lower-income residents are excluded because they can’t afford to donate their time to initiate a NECO pass program in their neighborhood. Although qualifying low-income residents can apply for a discounted pass, they can’t receive the benefits of the NECO pass if they are unable to gather support in their neighborhood.

Potential new opportunities to expand TDM measures and the transportation network include: a city-wide EcoPass, expanding Access Management Districts using Boulder Junction as a model, reallocating street space to make biking and walking safer, and implementing corridor studies to improve the speed and reliability of local and regional transit connections.



Sunnyvale Multi-Family Residential TDM


The City of Sunnyvale’s Multi-Family Residential TDM Program, initiated by ordinance in 2016, requires a transportation demand management (TDM) program for multi-family development projects consisting of 10 or more residential units. The program was the first residential TDM program in Santa Clara County. It utilizes a menu of TDM strategies that provides a variety of methods for developers to meet requirements for their site. Each site is assigned a number of “points” to satisfy. The menu options provide ways of scoring sufficient points required for the site. These options include infrastructure and site design as well as ongoing TDM techniques like provision of transit passes.


The program involves a fairly straightforward method of determining TDM requirements and selecting strategies to meet these requirements. The number of points required depends on the quantity of dwelling units included in each project. The points required for developments between 10 and 99 units are calculated from a formula of total units, divided by 10, rounded to the nearest whole or half number. Developments of 100 or more units are required to reach 10 points using the strategies in the menu.

Examples of strategies include enhancing connections to existing pedestrian and bicycle network, implementing a bicycle share or car share program (or being proximate to the nearest location), installing secure bicycle storage facilities, providing transit passes and/or subsidies, and providing residents with informational materials about transportation alternatives. The points allotted for each strategy are roughly based on their estimated percentage of trip reduction.

To assist developers in meeting these requirements, the City developed the graphic-rich, user-friendly TDM Toolkit for Multi-Family Residential Development. In addition to those included in the menu of strategies, the toolkit provides strategies projects can include voluntarily at this time, or that the City may consider requiring in the future. The toolkit includes several case studies of development projects that have successfully integrated TDM strategies. Not only is the toolkit a great guide for local developers, but it is a valuable resource for anyone interested in TDM.


The Multi-Family Residential TDM Program was adopted in October 2016; therefore, it is too early to quantify its impacts on traffic reduction from new housing developments. As a somewhat new practice, residential TDM requirements lack the same level of data as commercial zone TDM program and can be difficult to measure. Also, driveway counts don’t always capture the full picture, especially if residents park on neighbouring streets. This policy was designed with this challenge in mind, and the City will continue to revisit the program and evaluate its effectiveness.

Lessons Learned

When preparing the TDM strategies, it is important to consider both ownership and rental projects. Rental projects that have an on-site manager may have more opportunity to choose from the full menu of TDM options. The on-site manager often provides the capacity necessary to implement some of the ongoing TDM strategies such as private bike share and transit pass programs. Alternatively, establishing ongoing TDM requirements for ownership developments is a more difficult due to a lack of on-site management. Therefore, ownership projects tend to choose TDM items that are site design oriented or based on their surroundings, such as density and proximity to transit. The asymmetry between the approach of ownership and rental properties will likely lead to differing outcomes.

For residential TDM programs, it can be challenging to monitor and enforce the TDM measures and policy itself especially because there is currently no monetary penalties for residential developments not meeting the TDM requirements. However, since Sunnyvale is committed to ensuring efficacy for this policy, driveway counts are a potential method for determining the strength of these policies in limiting congestion.



North Bayshore: Trip Caps and Monitoring


As a result of Mountain View’s 2030 General Plan, the North Bayshore Precise Plan (adopted in 2014) was developed to identify specific improvements in land use, ecology, mobility, and infrastructure for the employment-dense area north of Highway 101. To achieve this, the plan includes transportation demand management (TDM) mandates for employers and other tenants in the area, in addition to land use requirements intended to limit vehicle trips, reduce congestion, and encourage shifts away from single-occupancy driving.

The North Bayshore area is described by the plan as an area, “located in the northern end of the City, bordering Shoreline at Mountain View Regional Park to the north, Highway 101 to the south, Palo Alto to the west, and Stevens Creek to the east (Figure 1). The Precise Plan area is geographically distinct due to being separated from the rest of the City of Mountain View by US-101.” The area is noted as a “major high-tech employment center” with the city envisioning the area as a model for “stewarding biological habitat.” Shoreline Boulevard serves as a key corridor for the area, with mixed-use development and pedestrian friendly activity amongst a hotspot of campus-style employment centers.


Figure 1: Existing Street Network of North Bayshore Area


The plan contains myriad interventions for the North Bayshore area, several of which are directly related to TDM. The most direct tactic to manage congestion listed in the plan is a ‘trip cap’ which limits the number of vehicles entering the Precise Plan area at the three gateways (San Antonio Road, Rengstorff Avenue and Shoreline Boulevard): 8,290 trips in the 3-hour A.M. peak period and 8,030 trips in the 3-hour P.M. peak period. If the area exceeds the trip caps for two consecutive data reporting periods, the City will not grant any new building permits for net new square footage in the Precise Plan area until the number of peak hour vehicle trips is reduced below the trip cap.

Another goal envisioned as part of the plan is a target for single occupancy vehicle (SOV) trips to comprise no more than 45% of the area’s mode share. In 2013, the Shoreline Regional Community Transportation Study showed that 61% of trips made in the area are SOV trips. To accomplish this reduction, the City of Mountain View will require employers and property owners to put TDM strategies in place to meet these targets at a small scale with coordination across the entirety of the district.

The plan includes a possibility for congestion pricing within the district to be implemented by the city. Congestion pricing would entail a fee for all vehicles, or certain categories of vehicles, to enter the district during peak hours. To implement such a strategy would require additional consideration, but may be a helpful tool for attaining the plan’s objectives should the other methods need additional support.


As part of the Precise Plan’s implementation, the City of Mountain View has commissioned trip monitoring reports from third-party consultants at least twice a year. Reporting from Spring 2018 show an overall, inbound peak hour trip count that meets the demands of the plan. However, this inbound traffic is imbalanced, with the gateway at Shoreline Boulevard exceeding its intended capacity. The gateways at San Antonio Road and Rengstorff are under their capacities. The report notes that current employers, property owners, and tenants will need to reduce trips to accommodate future development into the trip cap.

In terms of mode share, SOVs comprised 51% of all vehicle trips the morning peak and 45% of the evening peak in Spring 2018. The morning peak currently exceeds the goal for proportion of SOVs stated in the plan, but still shows improvement from the measurements gathered in the Shoreline Regional Community Transportation Study.

Lessons Learned

Monitoring and managing the trip cap is a complex process that often needs revaluation to ensure effectiveness. In 2017, the City of Mountain View modified the counting methodology to include trips in both directions in anticipation of new residential developments in the North Bayshore area. This change faced criticism from employers in the North Bayshore area because it decreased the trip cap for inbound employees. Jeral Poskey, a representative from Google, noted at the September 2018 City Council meeting that a lower trip cap could result in induced demand. Induced demand could occur if congestion is alleviated to a point where more people are more inclined to drive, which could increase the number of SOVs to the original levels.

City Council has also noted that the trip cap is a mechanism for addressing congestion and SOV rates in the area and should not be used as a tool for impeding new developments.  


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