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Equity, Infrastructure, and Electrification: Our Takeaways from TRB 2022

Transportation professionals from around the world recently gathered for the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. Here are the biggest takeaways that will color our perspective on transportation and mobility issues in 2022 and beyond.
TRB 2022 WGI

Thousands of transportation professionals from around the world converged on Washington D.C. this January for the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting. More than 3000+ presentations in nearly 350+ sessions and workshops addressed topics of interest, all focused on the theme of “Innovating an Equitable, Resilient, Sustainable, and Safe Transportation System.”

WGI Takes Part

WGI participated in this year’s conference by sending one of its own, Sultan Ali, Ph.D., to present his research on Transit Signal Priority (TSP).

TRB 2022
WGI’s Sultan Ali, Ph.D. presented his research on Transit Signal Priority (TSP) at TRB 2022.

Based on two transit corridors in Florida—SW 8th Street in Miami and Mayport Road in Jacksonville—Sultan’s study focused on the transferability of calibrated parameters for mobility performance in a microscopic simulation environment. The study findings generated interesting conversations about the application and benefits of TSP.

Themes and Takeaways for 2022

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s conference was quieter than the usual TRB. There were fewer attendees, and many of the poster boards were empty as some of the presenters couldn’t make it to the conference, especially those from overseas. Despite these challenges, the committee meetings were well-attended and produced engaging discussions and networking opportunities.

Some trends emerged amongst the session topics, many of which focused on technology, the effects of the pandemic, and recent legislation. Here are our five biggest takeaways from TRB 2022—all of which will color our perspective on transportation and mobility issues throughout the coming year.

  1. Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act: This Act made its way into discussions across the conference and ignited dialogue about potential opportunities ahead in our profession, such as in bridge investment and climate change. State DOTs are partnering to deliver the public benefits of the Act, and there is a need to train the workforce to understand and execute these goals.
  2. Post-Pandemic Deurbanization: Extended work-from-home options are causing deurbanization in many large cities—shifting more vehicle trips to the suburbs. The question is, do we have the infrastructure to support these new traffic pattern changes?
  3. Slow Streets: The concept of Slow Streets was championed during the pandemic to reduce vehicle traffic on city streets throughout the country, providing more space for people to walk, run, and bike safely. The success of these programs shows the potential of promoting non-motorized trips, i.e., pedestrians, bicyclists, wheelchairs, scooters, skateboards, or other forms of micro-mobility. The Slow Streets may also help in achieving the Vision Zero objective.
  4. Equity: The equity theme came through firmly in several insightful panel discussions. At the Bicycle Transportation Committee meeting, panelists noted the need to shift power and resources to the people experiencing problems at the local level. They are best suited to deliver equitable solutions. At the State DOT roundtable, speakers also emphasized the need to partner with local communities and hire more diverse staff internally.
  5. Electrification: Presently, there are only about 45,000 publicly available charging stations in the U.S. The current government goal is to increase charging stations to 500,000. The future of Electric Vehicles (EVs) looks bright. However, there is a need for collaboration between the transportation and the energy industry domestically and internationally to overcome challenges related to EV charging stations.

Connect With Our Team

Did you attend the 2022 TRB conference? What stood out to you? Contact us today and let’s have a conversation.

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