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TDM Ordinance

Best Practice Category:

Street and Network Connectivity Site Layout, Parking Layout, and Building Design Transit Prioritization, Accessibility, and Area Design Pedestrian and Bicycle Circulation


Transportation Demand Management (TDM) ordinances are strategies to change travel behavior in order to reduce traffic congestion, increase safety and mobility, and conserve energy and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Ultimately, these strategies are intended to reduce the demand for roadway travel and increase the overall efficiency of a local or regional transportation system.  This is accomplished by encouraging mode shifts away from the Single Occupant Vehicle (SOV) and auto trips away from peak periods.  TDM strategies are most effective when they consider all geographic levels: specific site, neighborhood, city, and region.  TDM strategies typically involve some form of incentives for employers and residents in order to reduce driving and encourage transit, walking, biking, and carpooling. These incentives can include, but are not limited to supplying transit passes, rideshare programs, parking cash out, and guaranteed ride home programs.

Due to its complex and interconnected nature, developing TDM strategies involves multiple stakeholders often resulting in private/public partnerships. Since land use patterns and policies have a major influence on travel behaviors, municipalities play a leading role in TDM planning and implementation. The adoption of a TDM ordinance specifically ensures that policies will be consistently enforced, making the adoption of a TDM ordinance a best practice. Voluntary TDM strategies on the other hand, may be inconsistently incorporated into development or not applied at all.

The provision of a TDM ordinance can help lay the foundation for a successful TOD project or district within a city.  Best practices in TDM ordinances incorporate policies that address the adverse impacts large development projects have on traffic flow and parking in surrounding areas, in order to make the development more attractive to visitors. Effective TDM ordinances should also incorporate polices that require developers to provide or improve facilities for alternative modes of transportation, such as carpool/vanpool and bicycle parking.  Developers should provide infrastructure improvements that encourage alternative modes of transportation, such as improved sidewalk connections or bus amenities.  By reducing impacts on traffic flow and parking and improving infrastructure for alternative modes of transportation, TDM ordinances can improve access to new development and attract more residents and visitors to the area.


  1. Increase transit use and non-motorized travel
  2. Reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT)
  3. Reduce road congestion, as well as associated noise and pollution
  4. Reduce parking demand


Pasadena Trip Reduction Ordinance

The City of Pasadena developed its Trip Reduction Ordinance to address the adverse impacts on traffic flow and parking in surrounding that new development can generate (see Section 17.46.290 of the City’s Zoning Code).  The City’s Trip Reduction Ordinance focuses on encouraging alternative modes of transportation to the single-occupant vehicle, such as transit, vanpools, carpools, and bicycles, as well as encouraging alternative work hours to reduce typical peak period demands upon the roadway network.

The Trip Reduction Ordinance applies to new non-residential development projects, and the non-residential portion of mixed-use development projects that exceed 25,000 gross square feet, as well as multi-family residential projects with 100 units or more.  The City requires that these development projects provide and designate preferential parking spaces for carpool vehicles, provide employees with commuter-matching services and trip reduction information, and provide bicycle parking facilities and/or other non-auto enhancements.

The following excerpt from Section 17.46.280 of the City’s Zoning Code identifies the requirements of the Trip Reduction Ordinance:

  • Projects exceeding 25,000 square feet of gross floor area. Nonresidential development projects, and the nonresidential portion of mixed use development projects, which exceed 25,000 square feet of gross floor area, as a result of new construction or an expansion of an existing use, shall provide the following:
    1. Carpool and vanpool parking. A minimum of 10 percent of the employee parking spaces shall be reserved for and designated as preferential parking for carpool and vanpool vehicles. The parking area shall be in a location more convenient to the place of employment than parking spaces for single occupant vehicles, and shall be located as close as possible to the employee entrance.
    2. Bicycle parking. Bicycle parking shall be provided on site in compliance with Section 17.46.320 (Bicycle Parking Standards).
    3. Trip reduction plan. A transportation plan for smaller projects, or a Transportation Demand Management Program (“TDM”) Plan, shall be submitted which complies with Chapter 10.64 of the Municipal Code (Transportation Management Program).
  • Projects exceeding 75,000 square feet of gross floor area. Nonresidential development projects, and the nonresidential portion of mixed use development projects, which exceed 75,000 square feet of gross floor area, as a result of new construction or an expansion of an existing use, shall meet the requirements of Subsection B., immediately above, in addition to the following:
    • Carpool and vanpool loading area. A passenger loading area for carpool and vanpool vehicles shall be provided on site. At a minimum, the area shall be of sufficient size to accommodate the number of waiting vehicles equivalent to 10 percent of the required number of carpool and vanpool spaces.
    • Connecting sidewalks. Designated pedestrian sidewalks or paths shall be provided on the development site between the external pedestrian system and each structure in the development.
    • Bus stop improvements. Bus stop improvements, including bus pads, bus pullouts, and right‑of‑way for bus shelters may be required as mitigation measures if a proposed development would have substantial traffic impacts.
  • Residential projects. Multi-family projects with 100 units or more, or mixed use projects with 50 units or more, shall submit a TDM Program Plan as required by Chapter 10.64 of the Municipal Code (Transportation Management Program).

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Downtown Berkeley Parking & TDM Report

As a part of its Downtown Area Plan (DAP), the City of Berkeley developed a Parking and TDM report to provide guidance on the implementation of the Berkeley DAP.  The report recommends several policies and actions that prioritizes transit, pedestrians, and bicyclists, while discouraging the single-occupant automobile use.

Local jurisdictions seeking examples of policies that encourage alternative modes of transportation and the prioritization of transit will find the report useful in promoting more transit-supportive lifestyles within their communities.

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Other tools, toolkits, resources, or manuals that influence or relate to this tool

Victoria Transport Policy Institute Online TDM Encyclopedia

Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Transportation Demand Management Strategies