With 251 million cars, Transportation Demand Management is the best way for American policy makers to curtail our national default position of key in the ignition to get anywhere, everywhere — and often nowhere — which, therefore, addresses the issues (externalities) caused by our driving 2.9 trillion miles annually.

Not anti-car, TDM is rather pro intelligent use of our cars.  Saving drivers money while decreasing our congestion, greenhouse emissions, pollution and need to seek oil in the Middle East or in the Gulf of Mexico deepwater, TDM mitigates many American externalities, including trade and foreign policy concerns, while cajoling people toward additional hours of moderate physical fitness.

With TDM, we will get much more out of our current transportation system while saving tight public dollars for other services.

Since publishing the first piece on TDM in 2008 in Thinking Highways and Mass Transit, it’s become obvious that Australia provides a great model.

Other journals, from Planning to InTransition to Miller-McCune to Mother Jones, have also recognized the benefits of individualized marketing around transportation. Even World Trade recognizes the value.

Unfortunately, much of America’s existing TDM – usually called “RideShare” or “Commuter Connections” — are ineffectual due to an early decision to focus solely on commute trips and a lack of understanding that “good jobs” must include communicating the value of less driving. Perhaps the best program in the world, and certainly in the nation, is in Bellingham, Washington but, as a nation, we’re still not ready to embrace TDM.

Changing behavior is not easy, of course, but it is the most effective method of dealing with the prime issues facing this country. Unfortunately, the tiny fraction of stimulus dollars which went to alternative transportation in 2008-09, ran into itself. Using stimulus dollars, many city transit companies bought new buses which they can’t afford to operate!