San Francisco Moves Forward With Groundbreaking Transportation Demand Management Legislation


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San Francisco Moves Forward With Groundbreaking Transportation Demand Management Legislation

Most progressive program in the country requires developers to provide on-site amenities that support sustainable modes of transportation

SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance yesterday amending the Planning Code to establish a Transportation Demand Management Program. The Transportation Demand Management Program, or TDM, is a citywide program developed by the San Francisco Planning Department, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, and San Francisco County Transportation Authority, requiring developments to provide on-site amenities that support sustainable modes of transportation and reduce single-occupancy driving trips associated with new development.

The ordinance, sponsored by Supervisors Malia Cohen, Jeff Sheehy, London Breed, Mark Farrell, and Ahsha Safai, applies to projects with 10 units or more of new residential development, 10,000 square feet or more of commercial development, and large (25,000 square feet) changes of use. Residential projects that are 100 percent affordable are exempt. 

“This is the most progressive Transportation Demand Program in our nation,” said Supervisor Malia Cohen. “It will have significant and positive impacts as it accommodates new growth in our City.  I commend transportation advocates and our development community for working together to develop a program that will encourage transportation options that are better for the environment, help manage congestion, reduce risks to pedestrians and cyclists and improve the overall efficiency of our transportation network.”

"We cannot grow our City responsibly without getting serious about incentivizing development that shares our strong commitment to a Transit First Policy," said SFCTA Chair Aaron Peskin. "The TDM program provides developers with a menu of options to mitigate their project impacts, with the biggest impacts paying accordingly.  This is a good first step to reining in our growing congestion and finally prioritizing transportation as a vital part of complete neighborhood creation." 

The Association of Bay Area Governments projects that the City will grow substantially by 2040, with up to 100,000 new households and 190,000 new jobs. Without enhancements to our transportation network and incentives to support sustainable transportation, this growth could result in more than 600,000 additional cars on our streets – or more than all the cars traveling each day on the Bay and Golden Gate bridges combined.

“With San Francisco’s geographic limitations, we can only continue to grow if we aggressively tackle the transportation demands of new development,” said John Rahaim, Director of San Francisco Planning. “We have taken a bold, well-informed step toward expanding our transportation network for the City and the region. The Transportation Demand Management Program will help reduce the transit impacts from growth while improving options for residents, employees, and visitors.”

City staff developed a TDM menu of 66 sustainable TDM measures, based on best practices across the country, local research, literature review, and professional expertise. Each measure on the TDM menu has a different point value based on its relative ability to reduce the number of trips by people driving.  Every new development project will be assigned a specific point target calculated by the type of land use and the number of parking spaces the project proposes. Developers will use the TDM menu to choose specific measures that will get their project to its target point requirement. For example:

  • Providing showers and lockers as a benefit to commuters who walk or bike counts for 1 point, providing car share membership and on-site car-share ranges from 1 to 5 points, and reducing the amount of onsite parking carries up to 11 points. Measures were assigned points based on relative efficacy in reducing vehicle miles traveled from site residents, tenants, and/or visitors. A user-friendly online tool will help developers calculate their project’s required points and identify ways to meet the points requirement though different TDM measures.

TDM measures include:

  • Active transportation measures that encourage trips made by walking or cycling;
  • Car-share parking and memberships;
  • Providing delivery services and facilitating deliveries;
  • Family-supportive amenities;
  • High-occupancy vehicles;
  • Education and outreach efforts;
  • Land use diversity and affordability; and
  • Parking management.

Once TDM measures are selected, they will comprise the TDM Plan for the development project, and the TDM Plan will be a condition of project approval. After a project is constructed, it will be inspected for compliance before the first Certificate of Occupancy is issued, with follow-up inspections to occur periodically throughout the life of the project. The City will work with non-compliant projects to bring them into compliance, and those that still do not comply would face monetary penalties. The City will also collect data on the effectiveness of selected TDM measures over time to potentially update the point assignments for specific measures.

TDM completes Transportation Sustainability Program

TDM represents the “Shift” component of the Transportation Sustainability Program, or TSP, a three-part citywide policy initiative to help transportation keep pace with growth in the City. TSP is a joint effort by the Mayor’s Office, the San Francisco Planning Department, the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. It is designed to improve and expand the transportation system to help accommodate new growth and create a policy framework for private development to contribute to minimizing its impact on the transportation system, including helping to pay for the system’s enhancement and expansion.

Yesterday’s approval completes the third and final component of the initiative. The other two elements are:

  • Invest: The Transportation Sustainability Fee In November 2015, the Board of Supervisors adopted a Transportation Sustainability Fee, replacing the Transportation Impact Development Fee, to provide additional revenue from new development to help fund improvements to transit capacity and reliability as well as bicycle and pedestrian improvements.  The Fee is projected to add about $14 million a year, raising nearly $1.2 billion for transportation improvements over 30 years. Considering the revenue that would have been generated by the Transportation Impact Development Fee, the TSF will result in roughly $430 million in net new revenue over this period.
  • Align: Modernize Environmental Review In March 2016, the Planning Commission replaced level of service analysis, or LOS, with transportation analysis that looks at vehicle miles traveled (VMT). Instead of counting car throughputs at already congested intersections, the City is evaluating the more meaningful metric of how much new driving a project generates. This is consistent with state policy and a better standard of environmental review.

“This ordinance is an example of how we are using smart, data-driven programs to keep people in San Francisco moving, all while the City is experiencing tremendous growth,” said SFMTA Director of Transportation, Ed Reiskin. “By incorporating sustainable transportation options into new developments, the Transportation Demand Management Program won’t just help us reduce citywide pollution and congestion, it will help us all arrive safer and more comfortably at our destinations now and in the future.”

"As the City's Congestion Management Agency we recognize that land use decisions are the cornerstone of any Transportation Demand Management policy," said Tilly Chang, Executive Director of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority. "San Francisco continues to lead the way in smart growth through this ordinance and the Transportation Sustainability Program."

The TDM team held over 40 public meetings with stakeholder and neighborhood organizations to discuss the TDM framework and collect feedback that was incorporated regarding applicability, point values associated with individual TDM measures or categories of TDM measures, point targets for different size projects, family-friendly TDM measures, and the definitions regarding individual TDM measures.

The San Francisco Planning Department, under the direction of the Planning Commission, plays a central role in shaping the future of our City by generating an extraordinary vision for the General Plan and in neighborhood plans; fostering exemplary design through planning controls; improving our surroundings through environmental analysis; preserving our unique heritage; encouraging a broad range of housing and a diverse job base; and enforcing the Planning Code. For more information about San Francisco Planning, visit

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) oversees the Municipal Railway (Muni), parking and traffic, bicycling, walking and taxis. With five modes of transit, Muni has approximately 700,000 passenger boardings each day. Over 1 million people get around this City each day and rely on the SFMTA to ensure safe and reliable travel by transit, walking, bicycling, taxi and driving. For more information about SFMTA, visit

The San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) is responsible for long range transportation planning for the City, and it analyzes, designs and funds improvements for San Francisco’s roadway and public transportation networks. The SFCTA administers and oversees the delivery of the Prop K half-cent local transportation sales tax program and the Prop AA $10 annual vehicle registration fee program, serves as the designated Congestion Management Agency (CMA) for San Francisco, under state law, and acts as the San Francisco Program Manager for grants from the Transportation Fund for Clean Air (TFCA). The SFCTA Board consists of the 11 members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, who act as SFCTA Commissioners. For more information about SFCTA, visit


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