Jessica Alba is Transportation Policy Manager with Stanford University and has a passion for sustainability and strong TDM programs.
We asked her for her views on ACT and the future of TDM.
1. What brought you to TDM?
Growing up in Sweden, I have always had a strong passion for sustainability. With dual Masters in Earth Sciences and Environmental Science, I learned that transportation planning can have a huge impact on an individual’s carbon footprint. While at the Swedish transportation planning firm Trivector Traffic, I got to see first-hand how regional and local TDM programs significantly impacted employees’ and residents’ travel behavior. When I moved to the United States and joined Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates in 2004, I was fortunate to have both Jeffrey Tumlin and Patrick Siegman as mentors on TDM and parking economics. These two organizations and the colleagues that I’ve had the pleasure of learning from in my early career truly shaped my passion for TDM.
2. How did you get involved in ACT?
ACT has provided me with a steady source of reliable information about TDM on the federal and regional levels over the years. I’ve enjoyed participating in some of ACT’s international conferences, webinars and Bay Area events. It’s also been a great venue to get to know peers who are as passionate about TDM as I am. In my new role at Stanford University, I am looking forward to being more actively involved in the organization.
3. What do you see as the future of TDM? Any specific challenges?
From my perspective, the biggest challenge with TDM is that many elected officials, planners, and engineers are skeptical about how successful these primarily “soft measures,” such as incentives, promoting alternative transportation and parking management, are in creating long-term change. The future looks brighter, though. With an increasing number of reliable data sources and longitudinal evaluations, there is growing awareness and acceptance in many US cities that we can’t build our way out of congestion by adding more traffic lanes or parking. Instead, investments in multimodal access improvements and strong TDM programs are becoming the norm in these markets. With rapid evolution in emerging mobility strategies and technology, TDM is also gaining momentum as the perfect vehicle (no pun intended!) for these new tools. In the end, TDM is all about providing transportation options and sharing our existing resources as efficiently and equitably as possible – a natural extension of the future of mobility.