Commuting Behavior Is Never Going To Be the Same

TransLoc MarketingThe Movement Podcast

The Association for Commuter Transportation’s David Straus explains how Covid-19 has upended how many people get to work, opening up unparalleled opportunity as well as cause for concern for proponents of Transportation Demand Management.

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Check out TransLoc’s 2021 poll analyzing Americans’ public transportation expectations and behaviors post-pandemic in our Transit Value Index Survey!

The Movement

Episode 142: Commuting Behavior is Never Going To Be the Same

Cohen: Josh Cohen

Straus: David Straus

F: Female Speaker

Cohen: Transportation demand management sounds boring, but it’s anything but.  It’s practically magic, using psychology to inspire a different way to get to work and incentives to make better use of the existing roadway.  We’ll dig into transportation demand management with David Straus of the Association for Commuter Transportation, coming up next on The Movement podcast.  Let’s go.

F: The freedom of movement to access jobs, education, and social activities is a fundamental human right, but that freedom is not distributed equitably, undermining our ability to create vibrant and sustainable communities for all.  Welcome to The Movement, where we talk with the leaders who are reshaping their communities with brave decisions, inspired advocacy, and a stubborn unwillingness to accept the status quo, all in an effort to inspire the next generation of leaders.  Here’s your host, Josh Cohen.

Cohen: All right.  David Straus is the executive director of the Association for Commuter Transportation, a role he’s held since 2015.  And prior to his current role, he served as director of development and programs at A Better City in Boston, and was the executive director of A Better City Transportation Management Association.  Welcome to The Movement, David.

Straus: Happy to be here.

Cohen: I’ve kind of known you, worked with you, kind of, you know, from a little bit of a distance because you’ve been in the industry for a while, I’ve been in the industry for a while, and you’ve certainly been at the helm of Association for Commuter Transportation since 2015.  So for those folks who are not as familiar with the work that ACT does, can you maybe introduce the organization and transportation demand management and kind of the role you’re providing?

Straus: Yeah, happy to, happy to.  Yeah, so the Association for Commuter Transportation, we are really the premier organization for transportation demand management professionals, along with the communities, clients, and even the employees that they work for.  And, you know, our vision is one that is creating a better journey for everyone, and, you know, we see that happening through the investment in and support of transportation demand management strategies that really enable all people to have affordable, sustainable, and efficient transportation.

And, you know, we’re an organization that’s been around since the mid-1980s, and have gone through many changes and iterations over the last several decades, but have been really growing rapidly over the last few years, as there’s been a greater movement and interest from within policymakers, within, you know, employers, within regions, MPOs, planners, to really utilize TDM strategies as a go-to solution for either transportation, air quality, congestion, livability issues.

So as an organization we currently have over 1,300 members, and they really represent a wide spectrum of organizations, urban transit agencies, rural MPOs, Fortune 500 companies, with, you know, hundreds of thousands of employees that they’re bringing into their campuses across the globe, small nonprofits like transportation management associations and organizations that are working to advance commuter services in their communities, and even bringing together, you know, universities, service providers, you know, like TransLoc and others who are delivering solutions from, you know, rideshare technologies to private shuttle operations to autonomous vehicles to bike—you know, commute tracking software.

And our goal and my goal is really, you know, how does ACT, you know, work to really advance the entire industry.  You know, our job is there to make sure that all of our members are successful, that all of the communities that we represent are successful, and that ultimately, you know, we’re providing greater mobility and options and communities for people across the country and, you know, slowly, around the globe as well.  You know, so we do that through a variety of different ways, everything from professional development and government affairs and, you know, most importantly, you know, building a strong community of professionals out there around the world.

You know, it’s interesting; within TDM, we’re very niche field, you know, so you could be a sole professional out in, you know, central Montana that’s working on this issue.  You may have no other, you know, colleagues— 

Cohen: Right.

Straus: —that you can gather with.  And so ACT, you know, provides that community for you to come together, network, learn, share, strategize with others.

Cohen: So for those who aren’t familiar with transportation demand management, what’s the easiest way to describe transportation demand management?

Straus: Yeah, it’s an interesting question because it’s a topic that’s been of debate for many, many years.  You know—

Cohen: [LAUGHS]

Straus: Transportation demand management, is it the right terminology for us to be using?  It sounds very wonky and, you know, planner speak.  But really there’s—it is—you know, there hasn’t been any greater solution to that name.  So we’ve been really trying to embrace transportation demand management.  What it all is about is, you know, at the basic level, is how do we create the most efficient transportation system for all people.  And TDM is this umbrella of strategies and solutions that is there to help make that happen.  It incorporates, you know, behavior and marketing strategies.  It incorporates, you know, smart public policy and, you know, regulatory measures.  It incorporates the provision of and support of a wide range of options.  And the key is provide—you know, bringing everything together in one, you know, efficient multimodal transportation system that moves people, and that’s what TDM is all about.

Cohen: I think the psychology of it—you know, that certainly was the part about TDM that first kind of appealed to me, was just thinking about, you know, some of the different levers that TDM tries to use in order to get people to consider different choices.  Right?  And so some of the ones that jumped out to me, and, you know, I’m sure there’s better examples of this now, but, you know, parking cash-outs, paying people to take transit or to not use a parking spot.  You know, from what I recall, and again, you may have better information because you’re more in the day-to-day with this stuff, but was like a somewhat effective way to kind of get people to shift away from driving, which was—the psychology of it is like, “Oh, yeah, paying people makes a huge difference,” and, of course, saves the organization money because providing parking spaces is quite expensive, and usually when people do pay for it, they don’t pay the full cost.  Right? 

Straus: That is correct.  And, you know, parking is the greatest challenge we face.  And, you know, far too often most parking is free, which makes it even a greater challenge for us.

Cohen: Yeah, it’s kind of hard to overcome free.  Right?

Straus: Yeah.  Free is a great price for anything.  Yeah.  But, you know, for years I ran a transportation management association that was based in downtown Boston, and, you know, average monthly parking costs for, you know, for a garage space, you know, years ago, was well over, you know, $400 to $500 a month for a parking space.  And there were plenty of people willing to pay that.  You know, it’s a real significant barrier, no matter how expensive parking is, to get people to shift out of their cars and into other options.  And, you know, even—not even switching out of their cars, but how do you increase the efficiency of that car that you already, you know, have, and can you pull in a carpool partner?  It’s a very psychological, behavioral challenge that we are, you know, up against.  

But it’s one that, you know, can be addressed, and we have victories that take place all the time, and they’re usually measured in individual numbers, but those individual numbers will, you know, hopefully start to snowball and increase significantly over time.  But there are some, you know, strategies out there that are very easy to implement that can have tremendous payback and real significant benefits to them in shifting mode.  I mean, number one is, you know, the provision of commuter benefits to your employee.  And, you know, providing your employees with, you know, a subsidy, you know, for the purchase of a transit pass, you know, and discouraging the use of parking and—

Cohen: Do you have a sense on what percent of employers do provide some sort of commuter subsidy versus a parking subsidy?  Because it seems like that might be a little hard to track from the parking side.

Straus: It is hard to track.  It’s hard data to get a hold of.

Cohen: Yeah.

Straus: It’s one that would be a really valuable data point, you know.  And I know organizations that have that data.  It’s a matter of, you know, pulling it out of them, you know, on the total number of employers providing the benefit as well as, you know, how much those benefits are.  But, you know, we’ve seen some communities across the country—New York, D.C., you know, Seattle, others—that have implemented, you know, commuter benefits ordinances, and essentially requiring employers over a certain size to at least provide the access to the transit benefit program, where it’s simply the pretax benefit.

Cohen: Right.

Straus: Which still offers some significant savings to commuters, with the hope that perhaps once that’s in place, you might start to see, you know, a subsidy be added to it.  Organizations that typically are in competitive job markets, and they’re competing for talent, will have a transit benefit in place, and sometimes it’s, you know, upwards of 100% of what the benefit allows, which I think is—don’t quote me on it, but I think it’s somewhere around $270 a month right now.  You know, that’s an extremely valuable benefit for individuals.  That, you know, is also, as we are exiting the pandemic, you know, it’s going to be interesting to see how that gets used, how public transit gets used, and, you know, the benefit.  It’s going to be even more important to folks as they go forward.

Cohen: You mention the pandemic.  I certainly—I was in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago and was in the downtown region of Pittsburgh.  And it was actually—you know, this is my first real business trip since the pandemic.

Straus: Yeah.

Cohen: And it was really interesting because you could tell the downtown was not nearly as vibrant.  There was a lot of folks, I assume, in kind of more office-type roles that were working from home.  And so certainly I can imagine that COVID-19 has changed a lot of people’s commutes in those types of roles.  So I’m curious what that means for the projects that you and your members are working on.  Does that make a huge—

Straus: Oh yeah.  I mean, it’s—

Cohen: —impact?

Straus: You know, commuting behavior is, as we know it, is never going to be the same, moving forward.  And this—you know, the pandemic really changed everything.  You look at telecommuting.  You know, it was a mode that for many years was really seen as kind of a, you know, wish we could do it, you know, employees wanted it, but there was a lot of fear—

Cohen: Yeah.

Straus: —in place for implementing it, and challenges, you know, 20 years ago with technology.  But as, you know, technology has caught up and internet reliability has caught up, you know, we were seeing steady growth, but it was still no more than, you know, I think, 5% of kind of the workforce was able to telecommute, and very limited organizations embraced it.  And then in just a matter of weeks, you know, we saw this, you know, massive pendulum shift to a significant portion of, you know, the workforce relying on telecommuting to get work done.

But what’s fascinating is that, you know, if you ask a—you know, kind of like us, a white-collar office worker that probably lives in the suburbs, you know, how many people were working from home during the pandemic, they’ll probably give you an overly inflated number of, you know, 60 to 70% of people working from home, because all they perceived were their colleagues, their friends, you know, their kind of cohort of neighbors that were, you know, all working from home.  But the reality is that it was—you know, I think it was less than 40%, you know, somewhere between 30% and 40% of the workforce that was actually able to work from home during the pandemic.  And, you know, what we saw were these challenges out there within the transportation system to make sure that, you know, a still, you know, significant portion of the population could get to work, you know, the essential workforce that includes everything from, you know, hospital workers and police and fire to, you know, store clerks and others in between.

So it was interesting to see.  And, you know, as we start to exit out of the pandemic, you know, even if we were to maintain 50% of that telecommuting, you know, population that was telecommuting, keeping them telecommuting, it would still mean well over 60% of the population, 70% of the population is still needing to go into a work site somewhere.  And so this presents a different challenge to us as well, because, you know, the demographics of that population is a bit different.  You know, there may not be as much financial resources within the families to be able to choose the various, you know, modes that are there.  Work schedules may be off, you know, off the traditional 9:00-to-5:00 type of hours.  So, you know, the services that were in place pre-pandemic were really built around that traditional 9:00-to-5:00 workforce that had financial resources to be able to pay, and, you know, pay into it.

And now, as we exit, you know, the demographics have changed, and we’ve got, as well, public transit systems that are going to struggle with pulling riders back on at the same levels that they had before, which is going to put pressure on their budgets and perhaps lead to some very difficult discussions that are going to take place within communities around, you know, fare policies and, you know, service levels.  And, you know, depending on how those go, we could be further pushing people out of public transit and, you know, forcing them into their own personal vehicle.

So, you know, we, as TDM professionals, need to be looking at how do we spearhead conversations within our communities about really trying to identify these challenges and new patterns and what are the needs of the workforce, you know, bringing in the private sector to have conversations about what their intent is.  Are they looking at hybrid schedules?  Are they looking at, you know, significant portions working from home?  You know, the hybrid model presents other challenges to public transit because, you know, where you had someone come in and taking a bus five days a week, and now you may have, you know, a third of the population of that ridership only there two or three days a week.  It’s going to constrain things and make planning those systems challenging, so.

Cohen: Well, yeah, I mean, it seems like, from the standpoint of kind of TDM principles, you can look at this pandemic and say, “Wow.  On the one hand, we’ve got this telecommuting number that, you know, again, some portion of those will go back to the office, some of them won’t, but all the sudden it’s at least doubled from what it was before, maybe tripled, maybe quadrupled.”  Right?  That’s a huge win.  The flipside is, because those people are now telecommuting, some of these infrastructure and some of these services that they’ve been built on, whether it’s the public transit trunk lines, or some of these TMA shuttles are now going to be hurt because they’re now getting a fraction of the folks coming back through.

So, to me, this is like a kind of a tightrope to walk for, it seems like, your organization and some of your members, because on the one hand it’s like this is great and on the other hand this is not great.

Straus: Yeah.  And it’s—I mean, it is great.  I mean, that shift to adoption of telecommuting is great.  And so, you know, the challenge, though, is now, you know, this perception, you know, that we have around public transit and safety, you know, is going to really shift—you know, our fear is shift a lot of people back to or for the first time ever, you know, driving into work.

And so the problem is actually we’re going to have fewer numbers of people working in these, you know, in these job centers.  But traffic could actually be worse than it was prior to the pandemic because of a significant shift in people to driving.  And even for carpoolers, you know, potentially driving on their own versus driving in together, which could be either from, you know, fear or, you know, there’s been a lot of changes in the job market.  You know, people might not be there anymore, or they may have a separate offset schedule that doesn’t allow them to commute together anymore.  So it’s, you know, this increase in congestion is going to be a real challenge for us.

So, you know, TDM organizations need to be aggressively looking at, you know, some new solutions and, you know, working on the marketing side and education side, collaborating with employers to figure out, you know, how to make the system work better. 

Cohen: How long do you think it’ll take to shake out some of these things as far as like what those—what that shift will look like and how long it takes people to get back to quote-unquote “a normal”—whatever their normal kind of commute is?  I mean, do you think that’s going to be measured in months or years?

Straus: Yeah.  You know, the one thing the pandemic taught me was don’t make predictions, because—

Cohen: Okay, fair enough.

Straus: —if you asked me a year ago—[LAUGHTER] but I think it’s going to take several years for it to all, you know, kind of flesh itself out on what the new kind of baseline is.

Cohen: Right.

Straus: I think it’s going to be years.  I mean, we still won’t have the entire workforce, you know, whether—you know, if they’ve decided to go back.  I mean, they may not be fully back in and set up until, you know, middle of next year, at this point.  So it’s going to take time as people then, you know, take their baby steps into commuting back to work and make the adjustments based off of “Well, I’ve been doing it now.”  You know, we may get a good number of people who they drive in at first and quickly realize it’s not for them.  I’ve had friends who’ve made that decision, where even earlier on in the pandemic, where commuting into Boston from its outer suburbs and, after a month, were like, you know, “This is—it drove—I never wanted to do it before, and it hasn’t gotten any better now,” and they switched back to public transit.  And, you know, they were nervous, but they—it was fine.  You know, and that’s—

Cohen: Yeah.

Straus: It’s just getting people to feel comfortable in the situations.  And that’s where transit agencies are going to be needing to reduce as many barriers as possible to get people back into those modes as soon as possible.

Cohen: Yeah, well, I mean, it almost seems like, you know, kind of that worst-case scenario that you talked about there is almost the opposite of induced demand in the sense that it’s like, you know, you’ve got less people working, but there’s more traffic because more people are driving alone.

Straus: Yeah.

Cohen: Then folks are going to get in there, and it’s like, “This is horrible.  I’m not going to do this anymore.  I’ve got to find these other alternatives.”  And they then find public transit.  I mean, it—

Straus: In some places, parking supply was built to handle this pre-pandemic level of workforce, so one of the other worries is it’s not as much a challenge in downtown areas, but it’s kind of those edge communities and inner-suburb communities, where, you know, in office parks, where parking may have been tight or getting tight, but after the pandemic there’s probably going to be a surplus of parking in some of these areas, which is just going to—you know, even if they were paying—you know, charging for parking, you know, will probably face competition from lowered parking costs in some communities that will entice people back into, you know, into driving.  So that’s one of the other, you know, challenges that we’ll be facing.

Cohen: I may have talked about this in the podcast before, but, you know, our office is located right across from the regional bus hub in Durham, North Carolina.  And, you know, so it makes it easy to take the bus from downtown Raleigh or downtown Durham to get to our office.  All that said, we’re still kind of located in a suburban location between Durham and Raleigh; we’re like in the physical middle.  And our office, despite being across from the bus hub, is surrounded by parking.

Straus: Yeah.

Cohen: And it—the thing that always blew my mind about that is that there’s so much parking.  Like, I’ve never seen the parking lot anywhere close to, you know, capacity.  It’s just it’s really, really—it boggles the mind—

Straus: Yeah.

Cohen: —to see that.  And of course, you know, our approach that we’re taking is kind of a choose-your-own-adventure approach to coming back to the office, where kind of if you feel comfortable coming to the office, you can come to the office; if you feel more comfortable doing hybrid, if you feel more comfortable doing—so I expect that we’re going to have, you know, even less people physically in the office going forward.  And I think, you know, we’re certainly an employer that is kind of similar, I’m sure, to a lot of the folks that your members work with.

Straus: Yep.  And that’s something that, you know, our members, you know, kind of as they look at programming and services to their employer base or property owners, you know, providing that expertise and understanding of how do they shift from this emergency telework situation that they developed to creating more formal, you know, telework programs that are really supporting the, you know, the operations of the organization and providing, you know, value back to the employer and to the employees and, you know, putting in place solid, you know, policies and structures of how to do that and be successful at it.  Because that’s—you know, one of the things we saw early on, you know, was everyone shifted, but, you know, people were inventing as they were going.

Cohen: Right.

Straus: And, you know, that is an opportunity for TDM programs to think how can they provide that assistance, guidance, and support to organizations that are now having significant, you know, remote workforces.

Cohen: Other than the pandemic, I’m curious what you think is going to be or is currently the biggest barrier to adoption of more of these TDM principles.  So, I mean, you know, some of the ones that kind of jump to my head: employer adoption, incentives by government, just employees themselves and their interest or knowledge.  I’m curious what you think is kind of the biggest barrier to more adoption of these transportation demand management principles.

Straus: Yeah.  Well, I think there’s a few.  You know, one is definitely a viewpoint of TDM from policymakers and, you know, really starting at kind of the state DOT level and how TDM fits into an overall strategy for addressing a state’s or region’s/locality’s transportation challenges.  And, you know, we’re predominately driven within our planning processes to focus on, you know, roadway expansion and, you know, in more progressive areas, public transit expansion.  But there are very few states that really look towards, you know, the TDM—look at their challenges through a TDM lens of creating, you know, a interconnected network and, you know, an efficient system that taps into a multitude of solutions as well as messaging and, you know, focusing on the user to address them.

And, you know, Washington DOT is a great example of a state that really looks to TDM as the solution to—you know, for some of its major transportation challenges.  And, you know, so that lack of adoption and focus from states is a challenge, and so we’ve been trying to address that on the federal side by looking at—this last year we actually introduced a piece of legislation called the MORE through TDM Act, and one of its key principles was requiring states to integrate TDM into their long-range transportation planning process.  Like, as you look at your long-term solutions and, you know, the challenges that are out there as a state, you should be incorporating TDM as a strategy to address those.  And perhaps even, you know, what we would love to see, a go-to early strategy.

Cohen: Right.

Straus: You know, we had an example where Nashville—you know, a few years ago, they attempted to pass a multibillion-dollar ballot initiative to address—

Cohen: It was 6 to 8 billion, I think.

Straus: Yeah.  And it failed.  And we actually acted just—you know, by happenstance we were scheduled to be in Nashville for a TDM forum event, and just a few weeks after that measure failed.  And we actually coordinated with the local—you know, the city and the chambers down there and some major employers, to do a charette on, you know, how can TDM fill the gap.  It’s going to be of, you know, eight to 10 years before they can go back to really ask for that type of money again.  You know, and they recognized that TDM was a solution they needed to adopt in order to get them from today to that point in time.

You know, that things were—you know, TDM is a bit lower cost.  It’s more people-focused.  It’s less infrastructure.  But it’s not anti-infrastructure.  It’s how do we better use that existing infrastructure we already have in place and maximize it, you know, through, you know, the use of carpooling and vanpooling and, you know, rideshare and, you know, biking and walking.  So that’s an area where we hope to see some more guidance from the federal side to, you know, really encourage more states to adopt and implement TDM and integrate it within their, you know, their existing planning processes.

You know, other barriers that are there; you know, there’s generally a lack of coordination that takes place from agencies, especially with the private sector to public sector, and that’s an area where TDM is—you know, can be very successful.  When you start to break down these silos and bring in the private sector voices into the conversations about, you know, where are they growing, what are their hours of operations, what are your commuters needing, where are they located, how do we better, you know, implement our transportation services to, you know, better serve your workforces, and, you know, what are the things that you as a private employer can bring to the table to help make that happen.  You know, here’s some—you know, can we get you to provide transit benefits so that we’re, you know, feeding people into the public transit system that will then take them to your shuttle that will connect that last mile of service, and, you know, can we make, you know, and improve the campuses that you’re building by making them better connected to the communities around them, so people feel comfortable biking and walking into their work sites, versus them being these walled-in fortresses that are inaccessible, you know, except by car?

So there’s just that collaboration and coordination piece that needs to take place.  And, you know, again, I’ll point to a place like Washington State DOT, where they’ve got a, you know, a statewide technical committee that helps them bring in some of those private-sector voices.  

Cohen: Right.

Straus: And, you know, that’s another piece we were hoping to kind of see required through that MORE legislation.

Cohen: Yeah, I really like what you talked about with Nashville there, with that charette, because it almost feels like an 80/20 thing.  Right?  Where it’s like maybe TDM can’t get you the same thing as like $6 to $8 billion worth of infrastructure could, but it can be a hell of a lot quicker, and, you know, we might get you, you know, 80% of the way there, you know, if we could really invest in some of these things.  I really like that.  I think that’s a really interesting way to kind of frame the work y’all are doing.

Straus: Yeah, I mean, one of the things we often get, you know, when we meet with folks on the Hill, you know—I won’t say the branch of the government or, you know, which party they represent.  But, you know, they feel that we’re anti-car, anti-road, you know, and we’re not.  You know, we’re about how do we make this roadway that we’ve got in place work better.  You know, is—you know, if when you look at it from a pure economics standpoint, it’s, you know, why do we feel that a single person in a single car is the most effective use of this expensive piece of infrastructure that we have built?

I mean, transportation is the one area, really, that hasn’t gone through a massive “how do we, you know, use economies of scale and, you know, increase efficiency” scenarios.  You know, you look at Amazon.  You know, we’ve mastered how do we order and deliver products to people in no time.  You know, it’s like but transportation we seem to can’t get by the fact that, you know, it’s there for us to be used, and we should be, you know, using it to its fullest, and perhaps the best use of that is, you know, more buses, more—you know, little bit of sidewalk and bike lanes to, you know, squeeze some additional folks in that can use those modes.  And can we put more people into each vehicle that’s out there on the roadway?  Which will make it easier for, you know, the truck driver who can’t carpool with someone and is delivering—

Cohen: Right.

Straus: —you know, goods to the store to be able to get to where they need to go.  You know, it’s—

Cohen: Yeah.

Straus: It all feeds together.

Cohen: Yeah, no, you’re a hundred percent right, and certainly from, you know, if there’s someone that has a mobility need that requires them to drive or requires them to take their own vehicle, if—the more we can get everyone else opt in to a system that is more equitable there, the easier it is going to be for them.  So I do think you’re right.  And I like looking at that from an economic standpoint too, because you’re right; it’s almost like there’s unlocking more throughput on the same amount of roadway without spending really material different dollars, to me feels like magic.

Straus: Yeah.

Cohen: Right?  Like, let’s make that happen.  Right?  I mean, that—

Straus: Seems like a no-brainer.  That just seems challenging for us to grasp at times.

Cohen: Yeah.  That—when I have these, like, no-brainer-type realizations, and then I think about the current state of things and say, “Why is this so hard?” that’s when I start to beat my head against the wall, but where can folks—if folks want to learn more about the work you’re doing with the Association for Commuter Transportation, where can they learn more about that?

Straus: Well, the easiest place is always our website, actweb.org.  And there you’ll find lots of information on, you know, the organization and, you know, some of our policy efforts and initiatives, as well as information on events that we have coming up.  And really, it’s the events that are the best place to, you know, come to and be introduced to TDM.  If you’re already in it, hopefully you’re attending them.  But if not, you know, to meet the other people.

You know, I see ACT as really one of the great communities out there of professionals that are collaboratively working together and supporting each other, and going and attending our conferences is really a fabulous way to see what we do, as well as to—you know, I’m not the greatest salesman when it comes to why join ACT.  It’s usually our members that are the best pitch there, because they believe it, and they see the value in what we do and, you know, get the help from each other.

Cohen: That’s for sure.  I’ve certainly enjoyed the events.  I’ve gone to some of the conference.  And I’ve been to some of the—I forget what you call them, the kind of in between, the forums, maybe.

Straus: Yeah.

Cohen: That you—the one you did in Columbus a few years ago was really great.

Straus: Yeah.  Those were our Emerging Mobility Summits, which are now—

Cohen: Yes.

Straus: —morphing into—and it was actually a decision we did before the pandemic started, which was to refocus on the future of commuting, which was great timing.  Our first one had to go virtual this last year, but we will have another one.  We don’t yet know if it’ll be virtual or in person in the spring.  It’s supposed to be back in Pittsburgh, so we’ll—

Cohen: All right.

Straus: —see what happens with that.  But our international conference, our next one is next summer, the last week of July, first week of August, in Chicago, a great city to be going to from a TDM perspective and—

Cohen: For sure.  Well, thank you so much, David.  I appreciate you taking the time and introducing us a little bit into the work you’re doing with the Association for Commuter Transportation and transportation demand management and how you’re navigating through what’s going on with the pandemic and the future of commuting.  Thank you so much.

Straus: Excellent.  Thank you so much.  It’s been great, Josh.

F: Thanks for listening.  If you like what you hear, head to Apple Podcasts and subscribe, rate, and review this podcast.  You can find out more at TransLoc.com or follow Josh Cohen on Twitter at @CohenJP.  Be sure to join us next week for another episode of The Movement.  

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