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Mayor Proposes New City of Madison Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Program

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway is proposing a new Transportation Demand Management (TDM) program that would place new requirements on certain development and redevelopment projects with goals to decrease single-occupancy vehicle travel and increase transit-oriented development and public transit ridership. Currently, TDM plans are required for certain land uses, particularly for larger development projects. While flexible in its approach, the ambiguity and inconsistency in the standards can create hardship during the development approval process. The new program seeks to provide clear mitigation options to reduce subjectivity and streamline the approval process.

The Chamber supports these objectives, along with the need to address increasing congestion on our roads and encourage urban infill transit-oriented development projects. However, the program as currently drafted has several potential unintended consequences to both new development and redevelopment projects with an arguably minimal, at best, impact on the desired outcomes.

Recognizing that access to transit is limited in certain parts of the city, especially on the periphery, the proposal lowers the mitigation point total needed to gain approval in outlying areas. Despite this reduced threshold, employers may still need to take actions like reducing and/or charging employees for parking and providing complimentary bus passes, even when the employer and employees are not adequately served by convenient, accessible transit options. The program essentially passes the cost to businesses – including a filing fee and biannual recertification fee – without increasing transit ridership.

TDM is not new in Madison or in other major metropolitan areas. The difference is that successful TDM programs occur in areas with a regional, multi-modal transportation network in place that provides convenient transit options for users. Madison isn’t there yet, but the Chamber will continue to partner with the city and regional stakeholders to aggressively pursue funding opportunities to advance transit services, just as the Chamber supported the development of Bus Rapid Transit service.

With shared goals, the Chamber will continue to work with policymakers to address these concerns and make the program more manageable and more effective. The proposal will receive its first hearing at the city’s Plan Commission on Nov. 21, followed by the Transportation Commission on Nov. 30.  

If you have questions on the proposal or would like to share your thoughts with the Chamber, please contact David Aguayo at