by Josh Allen
Traffic congestion led the Downtown Austin Transportation Management Association (DATMA) to form with the goal to help more people come downtown in fewer vehicles.
No doubt downtown is an attractive place to work with a growing residential population, thriving retail sector, and a strong, educated workforce that wants to work near the concentration of restaurants, cultural events and entertainment venues. But, with 90,000 people working downtown, many commuters face stop-and-go traffic on crowded roads.
Research shows that a transportation management association (TMA) could reduce the number of single occupant vehicles traveling to downtown by 2 to 10 percent, which correlates to 2,800 to 9,800 vehicles daily in Austin’s core.
TMAs, which exist in over 150 cities, typically educate about transportation alternatives and help find ways to make those alternatives feasible choices for downtown employees as well as residents and visitors. In Portland’s Lloyd District, the TMA advocated for changes in bus routes and discounted commuter passes. Over 10 years, commuters using transit increased from 21% to 41%, trips on bicycles increased from 1% to 5%, and many people began carpooling.
DATMA formed in March with an initial 9-member board, including DANA member Roger Cauvin. In the coming months, DATMA will hire an executive director who will focus on program development and membership recruitment.