For most of the 20th century, additional automobile infrastructure met transportation demand, or the need to move people and goods. Over the course of recent years it has become clear that constructing additional highways and parking lots and widening lanes may cause more problems than expected. For example, additional highways allow people to afford larger homes and more land, but often requires them to drive more, spending more money on their cars (gas, repairs, maintenance, insurance), polluting the air and water more, increasing crash risk, requiring additional public spending for services including road construction, contributing to congestion, and consuming more foreign oil. Therefore, taking into consideration all costs related to automobile travel, a more sustainable way to meet transportation demand and mobility needs is to increase the transportation systems' diversity and efficiency. This is the goal of Travel Demand Management (TDM).
Not only does providing numerous travel options reduce all the costs associated with automobile travel, they distribute resources fairly, so that people who don’t have their own car can use the transportation system as efficiently as those who do. Many people dismiss this thought - they think they will always have their car. However, layoffs, long-term illnesses, accidents, automobile break-downs, and road and bridge closures happen. In addition, the Capital District’s population as a whole is aging. As people lose the ability to drive or to do so safely, they and their friends and family discover the importance of having more than one safe, quality travel option.
TDM strategies work to make the transportation system more sustainable by encouraging people to diversify their travel habits beyond driving alone, most often by carpooling, biking, walking, or taking transit. Finally, sometimes people can meet their needs using communication instead of transportation. Technology such as telephones, cell phones, fax machines, email, conference calls, videoconferencing, and the Internet can reduce our need to physically travel.
CDTA works closely with the Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC) to increase and develop the Capital Region’s travel choices. An annual allocation is provided to sustain TDM programs under the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality funding program administered by the FTA.
CDTA’s current projects and programs include:
Capital Region Vanpool
What is vanpooling? It’s a very convenient and cost effective way to commute to work, especially for people who live far away from their jobs and have regular schedules. A “traditional” vanpool consists of anywhere from 5 to 15 people who ride together to and from work in a van. If you are interested, go to (www.capitalmoves.org) for more information and to register online to search for potential vanpool partners. Additional information is also available from Jesse Kafka (firstname.lastname@example.org; 1-800-VAN-RIDE, www.vRide.com). Jesse is available to assist workplaces in coordinating vanpooling, and for worksite presentations.
A current grant from the Capital District Transportation Committee provides discounts to groups operating their vanpool in whole or in part Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga or Schenectady Counties. In addition, all participants may be eligible to receive federal tax incentives.
iPool2 is a ride-matching website that matches ride-share partners who have similar schedules, destinations and personal preferences. Users enter start locations such as home and/or a park-and-ride lot, and their work locations. It also provides a park-and-ride lot finder, bus schedules and fares, and information on other commuter-related programs. iPool2 serves people who live or work in the Capital Region (Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schenectady counties). To register, go to www.ipool2.org.
Pedestrian and Bicycle Advocacy
CDTA supports developments and land use policies that contribute to the region’s walk-ability and bike-ability. We have installed a bike rack on the front of every fixed route bus, and provide strong support to communities seeking to incorporate pedestrian accommodations into routine road and development projects.
For more information about any of these programs or to make suggestions, contact CDTA Planning at (518) 437-6865.
CDTA provides a Guaranteed Ride Home (GRH) to Swiper cardholders, and others who take a bus, carpool, vanpool, walk or bike to work and have registered through the iPool2 website. These programs provide a free taxi ride in case of an emergency, eliminating a barrier to commuting by any non-SOV mode.