By Brett Wood, CAPP, PE

As the parking and transportation demand management industries continue to intersect and become one, we are continually learning new ways to improve our business model and support more sustainable and efficient transportation ecosystems. One of the newer concepts taking hold is the idea of daily decision making for commuters. The idea is to provide commuters to a downtown or a college campus better information to manage their commute choices. If a commuter is armed with data relative to travel time, cost, and environmental impacts, they are more likely to make smarter decisions on mode choice.

One of the primary elements in this model is that the cost for parking has to be clearly defined and all subsidized decision points removed. This means fewer permits and more daily rates. Once a parker has paid for a month, semester, or year of parking, the decision to drive is almost set in concrete because they have absorbed that cost and it no longer factors into the decision. More and more, campuses and cities are removing the monthly parking option in favor of making drivers think more consciously about their mode choices. This singular change is more likely to change behavior than most other commute elements.

The second primary element is to organize commute information in a meaningful way so  drivers know the impacts of their daily decision. This should include comparable information between vehicular, transit, and mobility options, including:

  • Travel costs.
  • Travel time.
  • Environmental impacts.
  • Health benefits

As we create new methods to share this information, we are unlocking the ability to manage commute volume and improve congestion, pollution, and quality of life for commuters and residents alike. The move to create better daily choices is one that can likely help us shape the future of our cities and campuses in a meaningful way.

Brett Wood, CAPP, PE, is a parking and transportation planner with Kimley-Horn.