IDOT's new pilot will help solve commuters' biggest frustrations.
The Chicago region has a rich network of transportation options, yet traffic congestion remains a persistent challenge. It’s a problem that hurts individuals as well as the region’s economy: We waste billions of dollars and countless hours each year.
While no single solution will solve congestion—MPC promotes a range of funding and policy solutions—the Illinois Dept. of Transportation (IDOT) deserves kudos for taking an important step toward getting our region “unstuck:” In August, as part of its Long-Range Transportation Plan, IDOT issued an RFP for a consultant to manage a five-year pilot that would institutionalize a regional strategy to reduce the number of people driving alone to work.
Called the “Northeastern Illinois Travel Demand Management (TDM) Pilot Program,” it’s all about making the most efficient use of the existing transportation network. Using the TDM approach, this pilot will give commuters the information and inspiration they need to improve their commutes.
How? In 2012 and 2013, MPC worked with IDOT and a number of other regional transportation service providers and nonprofits on the two-year Commute Options pilot, which helped inform IDOT’s new five-year effort. Commute Options engaged more than 6,200 employees at 16 area employers to try alternatives to driving alone to work. Through a survey, workers expressed a strong desire for more efficient, on-time, inexpensive commutes—and bemoaned their current commutes, which far too often fall short of their expectations. More importantly, the survey confirmed that while commuters are often frustrated, they are also unaware of all the options available to them.
IDOT’s new initiative will help frustrated commuters find solutions—and that’s reason to cheer! MPC strongly encourages qualified consultants to apply for this important job—and we look forward to celebrating the kick-off of a much-needed TDM strategy for Chicagoland.