Back to blogging, with better transpo nerdiness

Last month I finally completed a long-planned project: switching webhosts and updating my website to use a modern version of WordPress, to resolve the issues I was having with my old webhost not providing the features I need or any useful support to help me get those features. (For those who are curious, I switched to Dreamhost, which is also hosting my new business site. They are great. Do not use eBoundHost. They are not great.)

But apparently I didn’t then start blogging again, until today when I got a fascinating email from one of my nerdy transportation mailing lists and thought “This topic is transportation-related, but really doesn’t fit my business site. Oh! I have this other blog available again…”

The person emailing wanted to know whether there were any programs to reduce parking fees for people who usually bike or take transit, but occasionally need to drive, and if so, how they’re set up and administered. Such a system had never occurred to me as something that might be part of a program for transportation demand management (the official term for programs that encourage people not to drive alone for their trips). I think it’s an interesting idea. On the one hand, it makes sense — these people normally don’t pose much of a burden on parking supply, and should be rewarded for that. On the other hand, the whole point of parking fees is to manage parking demand, and if people who normally bike or take transit get reduced fees, they might actually drive more — because doing so doesn’t incur as high a penalty, so they don’t have to reserve it for times when they absolutely have to. On the first hand again, people who currently always drive, and think that they would probably need to sometimes even if they didn’t always, might be encouraged to do so by having reduced fees on the days they didn’t drive — they get a benefit that extends across all days, even if they can only bike on some days.

Altogether, it’s not exactly clear to me that this is a good idea, or what the effect would be. Mostly I was fascinated (as I have often been since joining this mailing list) by the variety of things people working professionally in TDM consider as possible programs and incentives. I’m learning a lot about how the whole thing works — which is super, since I am working to get employed in the field and this learning will benefit not just my own brain and curiosity, but my professional advancement and my future employers. :-)

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