Money & Business

Transportation Group: Local Associations Can Help Keep Communities Moving

By / Nov 2, 2017 (Predrag Vuckovic/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

A new report from the Association for Commuter Transportation makes the case for transportation management associations, public-private partnerships that help communities meet their transit goals.

Whether it’s for spearheading a bike-sharing endeavor, encouraging the public to ride mass transit, or getting people to drive a little less, a transportation management association (TMA) can play an important role for a local community.

A new report on the subject, published by the Association for Commuter Transportation late last month, helps make the case that these groups, when implemented properly, can help a community meet bigger goals.

“With more than 100 TMAs operating in dense urban cores, suburban job centers, highway corridors, and residential neighborhoods, the ACT believes TMAs play an important role in how communities large and small work to achieve their transportation, sustainability, and economic development goals,” the report, titled A Better Way: Spotlight on Transportation Management Associations, states. “We encourage communities without TMAs to learn from the case studies and to look at the benefits that may be achievable by bringing together the public and private sector through the formation of a TMA.”

The white paper [PDF] highlights the impact of local TMAs in Austin, Texas; the suburbs of Denver, Colorado; Salem, Massachusetts; Greater Valley Forge, Pennsylvania; and Sacramento, California.

The groups each had their own problems to solve. For example, Texas’ Movability Austin put its energy into working with local companies to encourage options like biking, and Colorado’s Smart Commute Metro North TMO faced the challenge of selling the public on the benefits of building dedicated infrastructure for carpooling along Denver’s one major artery.

The budgets and scopes differ greatly—Massachusetts’ North Shore TMA gets by on a budget of $85,000, while California’s North Natomas TMA has a budget of $1.4 million—but the groups show that when a local organization is on the ground promoting thoughtful transit strategies beyond single-car driving, it can improve the community as a whole.

In a news release, ACT Executive Director David Straus said that this use of public/private partnership is useful for “aggregating the delivery of valuable transportation programs and services that reduce costs for businesses and increase mobility for commuters.”

“We encourage communities around the country to look at TMAs as an impactful strategy for addressing their transportation challenges,” he added in his comments.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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