San Francisco to "Shift" Behavior with Real-Time Displays

Posted by Rachel Karitis on 7/6/16 4:11 PM


San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee biking with bikers behind him
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee takes to the streets on Bike to Work Day 2015. ( PHOTO)


Back in April, our CEO Matt Caywood penned (or typed, rather) a blog post documenting how TransitScreen is in the business of changing urban transportation with real-time screens. He noted the role of such technologies in Transportation Demand Management (TDM) — policies, programs, and tools that manage traveler behaviors and promote sustainable choices.

TDM represents an individual-scale intervention. These initiatives aim to empower travelers with tools and infrastructure for traveling smarter. Ultimately, participants in transportation oversight use TDM to reduce congestion (and mitigate its cost) by shifting people away from the private automobile.

Thus, the success of TDM measures comes down to their impact on travelers’ attitudes and behaviors. On the city-scale, successful TDM will spread the distribution of commuters’ choices across different modes such that no single alternative service is overburdened, and that people are driving less overall. Municipalities tasked with managing transportation are increasingly recognizing the power and potential of real-time information.

San Francisco and Shift

Accordingly, we’d like to bring attention to San Francisco for its recent material traction and efforts to revamp the city’s TDM program standards. These measures would charge qualifying developments in the city with developing a TDM plan to be approved by the planning department prior to project entitlement. Additionally, it would require monitoring once in place to achieve full compliance. “Shift,” this component of the city’s Transportation Sustainability Program, incentivizes alternative mode travel via a chosen suite of TDM measures options.


San Francisco’s Transportation Sustainability Program infographic San Francisco’s Transportation Sustainability Program elements. ( IMAGE)


Developers will choose the specific measures included in this bundle from a menu of options provided by the planning department, each of which is assigned a number of points based on its expected efficacy. Provided the specifications of the project, a development will be assigned a numeric target that must be met by combining menu options.

This process will allow developers to customize TDM measures to the project’s use and geography. In fact, the planning department is currently soliciting public feedback on the options to better advise builders looking to develop in particular neighborhoods.

We encourage you to fill out the survey if you’re based in San Francisco, and to check out the menu of options regardless of your location. You’ll notice installation of “real time transportation information displays” is an included measure. A developer can earn one TDM point for installing large digital signs that display transit arrival and departure information. TransitScreen is a natural choice to satisfy this criterion.

Great Value and Complementary


Average cost per point of Shift measures The average cost per point, by category, of TDM measures included in San Francisco Shift’s menu of options.


Real-time information displays are both cost-effective and complementary, particularly compared to other options. Information-based measures included in the “Shift” menu of options cost, on average, $5,800 to implement per TDM point scored. Land-use measures, on the other hand, cost $2,900,000 per point. Additionally, real-time displays can also encourage the use of other TDM measures included in a development’s package - carshare docks, for instance.

“It’s easy, it's inexpensive and it's quick to install. And our residents really like it,” said Karen Hollinger, Vice President of Corporate Initiatives at AvalonBay Communities Inc. in the Washington Business Journal.

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Topics: TDM, Mobility