Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Universal name for TDM

What are your favorite "consumer names" for TDM? Many agencies have adopted their own name for TDM but there is no name that is universally used, so our profession effectively does not have a name of what we do! :-0 A group of TDM professionals in the Seattle area plan to select one name for TDM and agree to all use it.

Here are examples of TDM names used by specific groups. I welcome your suggestions.

Travel Options
Transportation Options
Transportation Choices
Healthy Transport
Active Transportation
Trip Reduction

We hope the one name would catch on in our region and beyond resulting in a word which is universally recognized and understood by the public. Please note that selecting one name for TDM will not replace the names of any individual TDM modes and programs such as Home Free Guarantee, carsharing, Flexcar, Rideshareonline, In Motion, Wheel Options, etc. In fact, if all these modes and programs can describe themselves with the same TDM term, they will all benefit from the promotion of all the other TDM programs.

When you think about it, it's amazing that we don't have a universally accepted name for what we do. What do you say when people ask you what you do? You don't have simple word like banker, engineer, finance analyst, etc. Imagine if the word "recycling" were not universally used, and every city and company called it something different. This nameless concept would seem marginal, and when someone heard about a program to sort garbage and reduce waste they would not immediately identify it as part of the countless recycling programs which collectively have a major impact.

Please let me know if you'd like to be more closely involved in this effort. thanks!

David Allen, MCP
Senior Planner, Seattle Dept. of Transportation (SDOT)

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Dan said...

The various TDM partners in Portland went through a similar "branding" process a few years back, and settled on "Regional Travel Options." The City of Portland had adopted "Transportation Options" as its TDM program name, so the regional program partners, overseen by Metro, continued that theme.

A couple of premises we were working from:

1. The word "options" conveys the idea that people have choices for how they travel. In a sense, we are expanding their options for travel by increasing awareness and knowledge of how to use those other options, rather than their choice being limited to just the automobile.

2. Expanding our work to embrace more of people's travel than just their commute was another important idea. Our experience with TravelSmart has shown us that commute trips comprise only 25-30% of the typical person's travel, and that commute trips often have constraints which can make them very difficult to change. For that reason, we wanted to position the program as one that addresses ALL types of trips, not just the commute.

Here at ODOT, we have also adopted "Transportation Options" as a program name. Other local programs in Oregon have either had or adopted names built on the "options" theme.

Dan Kaempff
Oregon Dept. of Transportation

The Jack said...
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