Young Professionals in Transportation http://yptransportation.org
Volume 5, Issue 1 Spring 2013
In this issue: •
Young Professional Transportation Innovators Win TRB’s Inaugural Six Minute Pitch................................... 1
Your Ticket is Your Phone: YPT Boston learns about Mobile Innovation at the MBTA.................................. 6
Bryce McNitt Editor’s Column............................... 7
Exploring America by Bike: My Trip Down the Mississippi.......................... 7
A New Era: The Consumerization of Demand Management.................... 10
Chair’s Column: YPT Chicago............................. 13
Chicago Region’s CREATE Program Marks Ten Years of Success...........................14
Chicago Streets for Cycling Plan.................................. 17
YPT National Chair’s Column............................. 18
Member Spotlight: Stephanie Camay.............. 18
Connected Vehicles – Overview.......................... 21
Creating an adaptive outreach strategy: Lessons from the Chinatown Curbside Management Study.......... 23
YPT Photo Album.............. 27
Young Professional Transportation Innovators Win TRB’s Inaugural Six Minute Pitch On Time Arrival, a firm that developed an eponymous mobile application to help travelers arrive at the airport on time, every time, won the inaugural Six Minute Pitch: Transportation Innovation and Entrepreneur’s Challenge, a session held at the January 2013 Transportation Research Board’s 92nd Annual Meeting. On Time Arrival was co-founded by two young transportation professionals: Robert Rodden, P.E. and Susan Paulus, P.E., LEED GA. This article provides an overview of the Six Minute Pitch, On Time Arrival, and Robert and Susan. The overview of On Time Arrival itself was adapted from Mobility Lab’s February 2012 review of the app, with their permission. Susan and Robert provided answers to the questions in their profiles.
Instead of presenting his idea to a professional conference, I jokingly suggested that he enter it into a startup funding competition. At that moment the proverbial “light bulb” went off in my head – would it be neat if there was a startup competition for transportation innovations at transportation’s largest annual event, the TRB Annual Meeting? It was from this passing idea that the Six Minute Pitch came to be.
By Shana R. Johnson, AICP Senior Transportation Planner, Foursquare Integrated Transportation Planning Shana is a Senior Transportation Planner at Foursquare Integrated Transportation Planning (ITP), where her focus is on public transportation, transportation demand management, and the transportation-land use relationship. Shana was the progenitor and lead organizer of the Six Minute Pitch TRB session. She is the former Editor of Mobility Matters, and a former member of the YPT National Board of Directors. The Six Minute Pitch Last summer, as my Foursquare ITP collogue David Miller and I discussed potential session submissions to the YPT-AASHTO Annual Meeting Competition, David came up with an idea that sounded more like a potential business than a conference session presentation.
Shana Johnson introducing the Six Minute Pitch at the 92nd TRB Annual Meeting. Photo Credit: Lisa Berardi Marflak http://instagram.com/p/Ug9iEpRE6Q/
I ran the idea for the Six Minute Pitch by Jason Conley, then with ridesharing firm Avego, and he shared the idea with Sean O’Sullivan, Co-founder of Avego and the pioneering GIS firm MapInfo, and the Managing Director of SOSventures, a venture capital and investment management firm. Sean is also a panelist on the Irish television show, Dragon’s Den, which like its American counterpart Shark’s Tank allows aspiring entrepreneurs to present their business ideas to experienced entrepreneurs and investors. Sean is also a regular participant in the TRB Annual Meeting, and he was immediately highly supportive and very enthusiastic
M obility Matters about the idea of bringing an entrepreneurship and innovation challenge to TRB.
ing things I’m sure that co-founders Robert Rodden and Susan Paulus will bring to the transportation industry in the future. Earlier this month the Wall Street Journal reported that SOSVentures was among the firms that made a $1.1 million dollar investment in panelist Ryan Rzepecki’s Social Bicycles.
With help from Sean and Jason, I created a synopsis of the Six Minute Pitch session concept that won the support of TRB’s Young Member’s Council (then chaired by AASHTO’s Joung Lee) as one of their sponsored sessions! With the help of YMC, Sean, Jason, and the incredible Stephanie Camay (profiled in this issue of Mobility Matters), we quickly organized the parameters for the Six Minute Pitch competition, including that each pitch could only last six minutes and that our panelists could only “vote” for two of the presentations that they liked. Jason, Stephanie, and I then solicited and evaluated applications to present in the session. In addition to Sean we also recruited Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner (and former entrepreneur) Gabe Klein, as well as young professional entrepreneurs Ryan Rzepecki of Social Bicycles, Jeff Chernick of RideAmigos, and Kate Chanba of Carticulate Maps to serve on our panel of distinguished transportation innovators evaluating the pitches. It was really exciting for me to see this innovative session come together, but I could hardly have hoped for the attendance and enthusiasm we had at the Six Minute Pitch session. TRB assigned our session to the Omni Shoreham’s Regency Ballroom, one of the largest rooms available in the conference, and nearly every single seat in the room was occupied during the Six Minute Pitch. Although the session included four presentations and ran right to time, our presenters Robert Rodden of On Time Arrival, as well as Nahom Beyene of the University of Pittsburgh, Latissha Clark of Texas Southern University, and Davidson Ward of the Coalition for Sustainable Rail, all came prepared with excellent and engaging presentations that kept our audience’s full attention throughout. All of our Six Minute Pitch presenters managed to pitch their innovative transportation business concepts in under six minutes!
Attendees sit at rapt attention during the Six Minute Pitch Photo Credit: Megan Makoid
I sincerely appreciate the TRB and the Young Member’s Council for selecting the Six Minute Pitch for inclusion in the Annual Meeting, and I am so grateful for the support of my fellow session organizers Jason Conley and Stephanie Camay, as well as all of our panelists and presenters. What is On Time Arrival? On-Time Arrival is a system that provides air travelers with an estimated time of arrival (ETA) at a flight’s gate given their current location and the current conditions between the traveler and their flight’s gate. Essentially, it’s a way to ensure that you get to the airport on time, every time. The idea for On Time Arrival occurred to Robert when he was wanted to find a solution to help his co-workers. His boss is the type of experienced traveler who likes to arrive at the airport just in time to walk onto the plane as they are closing the door, always risking that he will miss a flight. One of his other coworkers is a nervous traveler who likes to be at the gate with plenty of time to spare so that he never risks missing a flight. With On-Time Arrival, his boss can know for certain how close he’s actually cutting it and his coworker might be less stressed when he has to travel with their boss.
The pitch Robert made for On Time Arrival intrigued the panelists not only as an idea with value in the business to consumer market place, but as having potential for being able to provide valuable data to businesses in the business to business marketplace. Robert’s polished delivery, beautiful Prezi, and the detailed On Time Arrival business plan convinced all of the panelists to support On Time Arrival. You can view a recorded version of the On Time Arrival pitch on YouTube. It has been very gratifying for me to see how the connections and interactions fostered by participation in the Six Minute Pitch have led to good things for our participants. On Time Arrival has been featured in The Atlantic Cities and the Mobility Lab blog, and I look forward to seeing how On Time Arrival develops and keeping up with all of the amaz-
When they heard of TRB’s Six Minute Pitch competition, Robert shared the idea with Susie because she’s more focused on the people moving side of transportation engineering.
M obility Matters She had heard of the BlueTOAD device which was used to calculate real time travel delays through a work zone and alternative route. Utilizing similar technology Susan Paulus, P.E., LEED GA, and Robert Rodden, P.E. at the airport allows the On-Time Arrival system to be a viable solution to the question of when to head to the airport. The On Time Arrival technology works through Bluetooth sensing devices strategically placed at the airport to isolate the various paths an individual might take between the airport entrance and each terminal (e.g., parking a car, returning a rental car, getting dropped off, etc.). By isolating each path and anonymously detecting MAC addresses of the devices carried by individuals and recording the time they pass a device, On Time Arrival can calculate the amount of time it takes for any such path. If the parking lot at the airport is pretty full and it will take 15 more minutes to find a spot, On Time Arrival can see that in the data. The system also will be capable of determining the delay at each TSA security checkpoint in real-time. The technology is quite a bit more complicated and much filtering will be necessary (e.g., to account for if you have priority access through security), and Robert and Susan are still working on these details.
applications of such a pedestrian-based system, such as amusement parks, where it would be possible to have an app that shows where you are and the wait time for the rides. Based on feedback from the Six Minute Pitch panel, they’ve chosen to re-brand their firm and its focus, and On Time Arrival is now Δt Data, and you can follow the firm’s development on their website at: http://deltatdata.com/. Meet Robert and Susan! Robert Rodden is a professional engineer and the Director of Technical Service and Product Development for the American Concrete Pavement Association, having held the position for 6 years. While working Robert Rodden, P.E. on his BS and MS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Robert started a web development company, which equipped him with the skillset needed to develop online tools such as the National Concrete Overlay Explorer [overlays.acpa.org] and the ACPA Application Library [apps.acpa.org].
On Time Arrival has both consumer and business-to-business applications. It will greatly reduce stress On Time Arrival Logo for travelers because the On-Time Arrival app prevents getting to the airport too early, causing one to sit around and wait, or missing a flight because of misestimated traffic or security delays. The patent-pending On-Time Arrival system will also provide TSA with real-time data for their My TSA app, which currently uses crowdsourced data. TSA and airport operators can also use the data to optimize operations. The system will provide airport operators metrics on TSA operations, and how they relate to in-airport delays, as well as data on internal forms of transit. Another feature of the system will be monitors at airport security checkpoints to inform air travelers of the delay at that checkpoint and other nearby checkpoints within the same terminal.
Susan Paulus, P.E., LEED GA
Susan Paulus is a professional consulting Traffic Engineer at Lakeside Engineers in Wisconsin. She has a MS degree from Texas A&M University and a BBA and BS from UW-Milwaukee and is actively involved with ITE, TRB Committees, and WTS.
What interested you in a career in transportation? Robert My grandfather was an industrial engineer for McDonnell Douglas and my father was a civil engineering consultant who focused on environmental engineering. The two of them were the primary reason I decided to become an engineer. In my first few years in the University of Illinois’ Civil and Environmental Engineering program, my primary focus bounced around between construction materials engineering and environmental engineering. While I did take a few transportation engineering courses in college, my passion was more on the materials side of civil engineering and my side business and projects related to web development. When I took my position with ACPA after graduating, I found myself in a more transportation-focused career path than I had previously imagined. Even still, I have always had a fascination with transportation, especially the freedom and opportunity afforded by it. In fact, I have been collecting
Robert and Susan are currently planning to apply to several incubator/accelerator programs that are focused on jumpstarting technology startups and connecting the startups with potential investors. They are also considering other
M obility Matters trajectory, where I have an idea that is outside of the scope of what my company does so to pursue it I must necessarily become an entrepreneur. I will say, though, that my first entrepreneurial experience was great and I loved being my own boss and running that business so I’m hoping that this also is a great experience. Susie Not necessarily. In college, I obtained a business degree because I wanted to open my own engineering firm. I never thought I would need to apply the skills I learned for a competition at TRB, which has lead Robert, Dan Allen (our primary developer), and I to work on starting our own company. But, I guess throughout the years I have had a few business ideas which I had developed but I just never took it to the next step as we are doing now.
Robert presenting at a conference.
antique maps for about four years now because it interests me to see how cities and our understanding of geography evolved over the last couple hundred years. Susie When I started college, I knew I wanted to be in a mathematical field. After my first semester, I knew I wanted to be an engineer. I loved the idea of being able to take a given problem and engineer a solution to it. Transportation (or civil) engineering appealed to me mostly so I could help better society and work on projects that have a broad range of impacts. After working on mostly roadway (and vehicular) projects since I started my journey in college, I have a renewed focus on alternative modes of transportation. Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? Robert
Susie presenting at TRB in 2009, when she was an Eisenhower Fellow
No. I’ve always been a creator of things (rather than just a consumer) and sometimes that necessitates an entrepreneurial spirit to make your ideas a reality. I grew up on Legos and playing in a wood shop. If I wasn’t building something it was usually because I was busy taking something else apart to see how it works (or I guess “worked” for the things I couldn’t re-assemble). The entrepreneur bug didn’t hit me until about my junior year of college when I started my website business. Out of necessity, once I had a couple other people working with me on such projects, I had to create an actual business. Those of us involved in that start-up decided that, while it was a great experience and an excellent source of income for a college student, we were better off making a living by obtaining professional engineering positions rather than competing in the web-development space. This current adventure isn’t too far from that same
How did you prepare for the pitch? Where you nervous when you were making your pitch? Any particulars on the Six Minute Pitch experience you’d like to share? Robert The pitch itself was absolutely nerve-racking, not just because of the strict 6-minute restriction but also because of the exceptionally intimidating panel of experts/entrepreneurs. Walking to the lectern, I had one of those “remember to breath” moments. Luckily, we came well prepared with a 50+ page business plan and a well-rehearsed Prezi presentation. The presentation started off well; I could tell that I was quickly grabbing the attention of the audience. Then when something with the presentation solicited unantici-
M obility Matters pated laughs from the audience, which had been mum all afternoon to that point, I could tell that things were going great and the rest of the presentation was over (with time to spare) before I knew it. The panel had asked many greatly detailed and specific questions of the previous presenters so I had no idea what to expect from them. Apparently they liked our idea and presentation a lot and the once-intimidating panel quickly transformed into a group of advisors filled with encouraging and invaluable advice.
provided us great insight into potential competitors. We also asked each other a lot of questions that we would have not thought of otherwise. In our work leading up to the Six Minute Pitch, I didn’t think a patent was necessary, but reflecting, I am glad Robert pursued it before the presentation
Susie Well, Robert gave the presentation so I just sat back and relaxed! Given his experience giving presentations, I knew he would do an excellent job and the second he started speaking I knew we were going to do great. What advice would you have to anyone considering applying for future Six Minute Pitch sessions? Robert
Robert on-site at the World of Concrete for ACPA
Do not hesitate. There were greatly varying ideas pitched at the competition, so whatever you are dreaming up is eligible as long as it has something to do with transportation. Also, if your idea might be patentable, get started on that ASAP because patent laws in the US are changing significantly this year!
Do you have any advice for other entrepreneurially-minded young professionals in transportation? Robert I’d like to echo the idiom my current boss said to me when we first discussed the prospect of me potentially leaving my current position to pursue On-Time Arrival full-time: Nothing ventured, nothing gained. As young professionals in transportation, it is our responsibility to usher in the next generation of great ideas and innovations. Every day that passes where you didn’t act upon that charge is one less day you have to accomplish it. Susie Share your idea and collaborate with others. Robert shared his concept with me. I knew of the technology that could make it work and we proceeded with it. We worked through the details together.
Do research. Be able to defend your idea. Looking at existing patents or just doing a search can get you valuable information. After putting the business plan together, I knew we had a great idea, but I didn’t buy in to it until I knew we could defend it.
Be prepared. Robert and I created a detailed business plan before the presentation, which really helped us hone in on the concept and realize it was actually a possibility. The business plan helped us really understand the market and
Trust others. We received a huge amount of encouragement at TRB’s competition. And in turn, we have decided to pursue the idea further. I know this would not have happened without their encouragement.
Susie with Ken Voigt at the TTI reception at the 2009 ITE Annual Meeting
M obility Matters Your Ticket is Your Phone: YPT Boston learns about Mobile Innovation at the MBTA
tickets on their smartphones. Through this new approach, the MBTA is allowing customers to use their phones as ticket offices – all at a fraction of the cost of installing new vending machines and other infrastructure. This is one project that takes a new approach: it allows riders to “bring their own” infrastructure as opposed to the agency installing costly and complex infrastructure of their own.
By Candace Brakewood YPT Boston regularly hosts brown bag lunches that feature presentations from young professionals working on exciting new transportation projects in the Boston region. In August 2012, YPT Boston’s lunch presentation featured members of the Mobile Ticketing Team from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation (MBTA). In November 2012, Candace Brakewood the MBTA Mobile Ticketing Team launched a pilot program in which Commuter Rail riders can purchase tickets via their mobile phones. This innovative new program was the first system-wide launch of mobile ticketing in the USA. Background The Commuter Rail is a fixed schedule, daily service on eleven heavy rail lines serving downtown Boston via two central city stations (North and South Station). According to the American Public Transportation Association, it is the fifth largest commuter rail system in the United States.1 Fare collection is administered through a conductor-validated system: conductors walk through train cars and inspect tickets. Single and multi-ride tickets are authorized using a hole punch, and monthly passes are simply shown to the conductor as a flash pass. Passengers have the option of purchasing tickets from the conductor onboard with cash or pre-purchasing tickets at windows in stations. Other than the installation of ticket vending machines at many key stations, this fare collection system has operated in the same manner for decades. In 2006, the MBTA launched the CharlieCard smartcard system on MBTA buses and subway trains, and after the initial launch, there was interest in expanding the CharlieCard system to Commuter Rail. Due to various constraints – notably cost – this has not happened.
Jake Sion, a former member of the MBTA Mobile Ticketing Team, shows YPT Boston members the mobile ticketing application
The Pilot Program In November 2012, a one year mobile ticketing pilot program launched on all Commuter Rail lines. Ticketing applications are now available on multiple smartphone operating systems, including iPhone and Android, and riders who participate in the pilot program can purchase mobile tickets for their selected journey using a credit or debit card. Once onboard, conductors validate mobile tickets by visually inspecting the screen of the smartphone. YPT Boston At the Brown Bag Lunch presentations, YPT Boston friends and members got a walk-through of the iPhone application, and attendees asked questions and provided feedback to the Mobile Ticketing Team. The feedback from the session was very positive: YPT Boston members were excited to try out the innovative mobile ticketing application. Attendees thought mobile ticketing would help simplify their experience purchasing tickets, particularly since they are already on their smartphones when waiting for the train to arrive!
A New Approach Instead of expanding the CharlieCard system, the MBTA decided to pursue a mobile ticketing strategy for Commuter Rail in which customers purchase and use commuter rail American Public Transportation Association (APTA). 2011 Public Transportation Fact Book 62nd Edition. Washington, DC, April 2011. pp. 31. 1
M obility Matters Editor’s Column
and setting Mobility Matters up for a great year of publication. Shana made big strides in transforming the publication from a newsletter, to a publication that professionals in transportation use to find new ideas and learn more about their colleagues across the country.
By Bryce McNitt Hello, YPT! I’m happy to announce that I’ll be taking over as editor of Mobility Matters. I’m excited to engage the YPT network and gather material on trends in transportation, new ideas, and the stories of members who are making things happen.
As editor, I hope to continue Shana’s work of building Mobility Matters into a robust publication that highlights the excellent ideas and writing of the young movers and shakers in transportation. As I engage that effort, I would love to hear from you – the YPT network. If you have ideas for the magazine, or if you have an article that you want to write for publication, please contact me at email@example.com.
I want to thank Shana Johnson, Mobility Matters outgoing editor, for helping me with the transition
Exploring America by Bike: My Trip Down the Mississippi By Bryce McNitt “Wow, that was generous… and totally unexpected,” I thought as I lay in my sleeping bag atop a massage parlor bed listening to the soundtrack to Braveheart. Those thoughts, as it turned out, would be the mantra of the journey I was on: generosity, and the unexpected. I gazed about the room, at the florescent-colored blown glass dolphins adorning the wall. One arrangement of my mammalian friends framed a picture of the Dalai Lama. “Namaste my friend. Namaste indeed.”
Although right now you may be assuming this tale is that of a young man’s dolphin themed journey toward the discovery of yoga, it is in fact entirely unrelated to that worthy pursuit. Instead this is a story about the cycling journey I undertook shortly after finishing up my undergraduate degree in Minnesota, a 1,500 mile journey beginning in Minneapolis, following the Mississippi River, and ending at the Gulf of Mexico. So how did I wind up alone in a massage parlor dreaming of Mel Gibson in a plaid skirt? Well, I’ll return to that, but first let me tell you a little more about what I did, how I did it, and why I did it.
ride from Minneapolis to St. Louis, “Le Tour de Louis” as we called it. March is still winter in Minnesota, it did not end well. Yet both of these trips had been short, no more than three days, and I was hungry for something long enough so that I could totally immerse myself in the experience. I planned out a route down the Mississippi. Bike trips are surprisingly easy to prepare for. That they are not is easily the biggest misconception people hold about this sort of undertaking. You do not have to be a superman or superwoman, and you do not have to spend thousands of dollars on high-end equipment. All you need is a steel frame bike, a rack, some bags to carry your gear, a tent, a sleeping bag, a change of clothes, bike tools, small camping stove, and lots and lots of rice and beans. To prepare yourself you can start going for ten mile rides a few times a week as your departure date approaches. The weekend before you leave, load up all your
After completing my History degree at the University of Minnesota, I took a year to work, travel, and check out graduate degree programs. One thing on my check list was a bike tour. This wasn’t something totally new to me. I’d biked everywhere I went during college, and attempted a couple of shorter tours with a friend during my last year of school. One attempt was an ill-fated spring break
M obility Matters gear and go do 30 miles – you can work out all the kinks with your gear on that ride, and hello, you’re ready to go! The process described above is essentially the same I undertook. I bought an old Italian steel frame bike from a thrift store for $100 and some gear from a local bike shop. I rode my bike to work every day so I was in okay condition. When the day came to begin, I loaded my bike up, wheeled it out the front door, and started pedaling. 20 days later I was standing knee deep in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico trying to evade jelly fish. That journey would come to be a life-defining moment for me, but for unexpected reasons. Far from being a young person’s simple feat of strength, the ride became a journey through the open, giving hearts of the American Midwest and Deep South. At every corner I was met with unsolicited generosity. Everywhere along my path people approached me to offer their homes, their food, and their stories. What I sought was adventure, but what I found would be a better education than the four years of college I had just completed.
inside to grab her phone book and for the next several minutes we called all four motels in town. Booked up, each and every one. Strange. “Oh well,” I said. “Thanks, I think I’ll pedal down the road and see if I can find a campground.” She sized me up. “You don’t see like such a bad guy,” she said. Was it the spandex that gave me away? “Well listen, I’m closing up shop here in about 10 minutes, why don’t you just take my shop for the night and lock yourself out in the morning.”
What I learned was that beneath the veneer of the images and stereotypes we assign to large groups of “people” in various places, there are people. Each of them sophisticated, often idiosyncratic, with unique hopes and dreams and beliefs. And most of them very, very generous. Ask for nothing and you’ll be offered the world. Approach with open ears and an open heart and a person will tell you their life story. These are a couple of lessons I learned, but what experiences led me to these lessons? That brings us back to skirt-clad Mel Gibson and the Dalai Lama.
“Uhh.. sure,” I said. “Are you sure?!” “Sure I’m sure,” she returned. “I run a massage parlor. You can sleep on the bed and help yourself to some herbal teas.” She didn’t even mention the Braveheart CD, which was really the sweetener in the whole deal. Five minutes later she had given me the key to her business, gotten into her car, and driven home. I don’t know if she even told me her name. I never saw her again. That night, while relaxing with Mel, Dalai, and the blown glass dolphins, I wrote her a note thanking her profusely. Little did I know, nearly every day of my journey would go this way.
It was the first day of my trip, sometime in late September. I had a late start and had only traveled about 45 miles south of Minneapolis to Hastings, MN, situated at the fork of the St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers. As I approached the town the weather started to turn. To the west I could see a wall of clouds speeding my way that looked very ugly, like one of those Midwestern storms that turns summer into fall in one cathartic explosion of wind, rain, and lightning. Although I had the gear to camp, I had no appetite for a night of cold and wet, and had no idea where to find a campsite quickly anyway. I sped into town and as the storm was beginning to drive summer out of the air for the rest of the year, I took refuge under the marquee of a movie theater that had been converted into an office complex. Within a few minutes a woman came out to check on me.
A few days and 400 miles later, in Dallas City, Illinois, I met Doris and Jesse, soybean farmers and avid bikers. They invited me to their house and also invited a friend, George. Very soon there was a dinner of steak and mashed potatoes on the table and everyone was sharing bike adventure stories. George was in his late 60s or early 70s and had been a railroad worker and heavy drinker most of his life. Upon retiring he decided he had better find a hobby or otherwise die of boredom and too much beer. Jesse and Doris turned him on to biking and he was quickly hooked. George had crossed the continental United States each year since his first ride, at least four times from what I could gather.
“You ok?” she asked. I’m sure she thought I was crazy. “Yeah,” I said. “I was going to camp tonight but now I’m thinking I might as well find a cheap motel.” She went
M obility Matters Most of my nights I would spend camped out in a state park, journaling the day, and cooking a big pot of rice, beans, and tuna. One night at a campground in central Missouri, about 340 miles from Doris, Jesse, and George, I was in my tent when I heard an old vehicle rumble up next to me and stop. Out walked Rod, and his teenage daughter Elise. Rod was incredibly eccentric, and his daughter appeared to be very conscious of this fact. She looked at him partly with concern for his strange behavior, and partly with adoration. Her mother had passed away. Rod and Elise had just come from a 10 day feast in Branson. The feast, he explained, was the annual gathering of a little-known religion that he described as a mix of Judaism and Christianity. For ten days every year they gather together to eat and play music. That’s all they do. Fantastic, I thought. Rod asked if I was hungry and offered me a Wonderbread and turkey sandwich. He then asked if I’d like to hear some music. Of course, I said, and he pulled out his fiddle. It had been dusk when they arrived, and now it was black as midnight. I couldn’t see a thing. I sat there silently, munching on my Wonderbread sandwich, listening to his whimsical hymns for a long time.
A few hours later I was cannonballing off of the diving board of Donna and Gary’s pool. Gary turned out to be a physician, a fairly wealthy one by the look of their large and opulent home. Later that night I sat on their kitchen counter drinking a Lone Star. I thought about all that had been offered to me on my trip, whether it was a bed in a massage parlor, a delicious steak dinner, a Wonderbread sandwich and a live fiddle performance, or free reign of a sizable mansion. I had begun my trip fully prepared to be self-sustaining for the duration. Instead I was offered food and water on a daily basis. I was offered beds to sleep in, prayed for, encouraged, and perhaps most surprisingly, sometimes thanked. People opened up to me and shared their hopes and fears, and their laughter. Two days later I was standing in the Gulf of Mexico at Gulfport, Mississippi. I’d set out twenty days earlier on a mission to prove myself on a bicycle. What I found in the end was so much more.
From Missouri I took a ferry across the Mississippi into Kentucky, then followed the river all the way to Memphis, Tennessee. At Memphis I said goodbye to the river and headed toward Oxford, Mississippi, the home of my favorite author, William Faulkner. I only spent the afternoon in Oxford, touring Faulkner’s house, and walking around the central square. I ducked my head into the offices of the Oxford Eagle, one of the few small town daily newspapers left in the country. I spoke with the editor and told him what I was up to and how my experience had been. He took my picture and asked me a few questions. To my amazement, the next day I was on the front page! During the trip I had occasionally contacted people through a cycling website for places to stay. On the last stage of the trip, through central Mississippi, I contacted a family in the town of Kosciusko. Ironically the couple was in the midst of their own cycling trip, dedicated to raising awareness of diabetes. I thanked the lady I was talking to, I think her name was Donna, and told her to enjoy the ride with her husband. “Well come on now hon,” she said, “we can’t just let ya sleep out there in the cold! Why don’t you just take the house, we’ll have our housekeeper let you in.” “Uhhh…” I said. Then, catching myself, “Wow, thank you! I mean, are you sure? That’s so generous. I don’t know what to say.” “You just make yourself at home and help yourself to what’s in the fridge, ok hon?”
M obility Matters A New Era: The Consumerization of Demand Management
enterprise productivity tools made their way from the business environment into our homes. This new wave is the employee-driven IT revolution. Consumer applications such as Skype, Dropbox, and Google Docs are good examples of products that have made their way into the enterprise. Check out this Google site which lists all of the industry-specific implementations of their consumer applications. These applications are quickly becoming popular with business as the products develop over time to become “enterprise ready”.
By Colin Mooney, Avego Colin Mooney is Director of Enterprise Client Services at Avego (www.avego.com), a global provider of software and professional services for improving the efficiency of passenger transportation, where he is responsible for user adoption and customer success on enterprise programs. He was recently recognized as one Colin Mooney of the “TOP 40 Under 40” TDM professionals in the world 2012 by the Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT).
In the consumer market, a product company will produce a generic feature set which will develop over time to meet market requirements based on user feedback and functional demands. In the enterprise world, there are some additional requirement categories that must be satisfied:
Imagine having the power of a Transportation Demand Management (TDM) ridematching system in the palm of your hand. You need a ride home, so you take out your phone, and are presented with multi-modal options: bus timetables, vanpools routes, and carpools all in one place. You can connect with co-workers and neighbors seamlessly through private groups and public social networks. You can mix planned and real-time commute options to create your own transportation network which is as flexible as your work schedule.
Security & Control: Closed communities, secured access, protected data, device management, and organizational hierarchies (system roles & responsibilities).
Enterprise Integration: Single sign-on, extension & integration options (API’s), enterprise directory integration, hosted databases.
Performance & Reliability: Speed, scalability, business SLA’s (e.g. 99.9% uptime).
On top of the tools adoption trend is the phenomenon of employees pushing their organizations to use their smartphone and tablet devices in the workplace. This is known as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). This IT architecture calls for a shift in the delivery of applications from thick client tools (think Microsoft Office) to thin client web applications (Google Apps, Facebook, LinkedIn, Dropbox). The recent release of the Windows 8 operating system is expected to accelerate this BYOD trend as it is positioned as a strong enterprise-ready platform with support from the likes of Dell on non-consumer devices, ready for the mobile workforce (Tablets in the enterprise).
Sounds great! The big challenge is to effectively incorporate these characteristics into product offerings to provide features that link commuters to the services that best suit their needs. One of those “needs” is to deliver the services on a mobile platform that fits with our increasingly “on-themove” lifestyles. Consumerization of IT The consumer IT market is growing at a lightning pace, particularly through mobile applications. Service providers in business and social markets are responding to this revolution by adapting their product offerings to meet the demand of the mobile consumer.
The Emergence of TDM 2.0 2012 saw the first examples of consumerization in the taxi industry. We saw a growth in market disruption through new mobile offerings. Companies such as Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar have challenged the traditional taxi business in the cities they operate in by connecting riders directly with commercial drivers. They have been successful at generating awareness and attention through providing a real-time mobile service that is simple to use. These companies have thrived in delivering scalable mobile solutions to which their users have responded positively.
Consumerization is the emerging trend where new information technology appears first in the consumer market, and then spreads into business and government organizations. The emergence of consumer markets as the primary driver of information technology innovation is a major IT industry shift - away from the dominance of large business and government organizations during the early decades of computer usage and development. Think of how the PC and
M obility Matters Whilst it is not all smooth sailing for these innovators (Lyft and SideCar received cease and desist orders from the California Public Utilities Commission), they have shown that smartphones are not just for social networks and gaming, but are quickly becoming a channel for “lifestyle” services such as transportation.
Facebook and Twitter. Millions of consumers share and post links to content through these social platforms effectively doing your marketing for you. Consider incorporating socialization into your platforms to help end-users “push” links to their commute schedules to others in their social and professional networks. This is how your solution or service will go viral.
In 2013, we will see a growth in “enterprise” TDM adoption of mobile applications for engaging active users in commuter communities. All transport modes can benefit from the social interaction advantages that Web 2.0 technologies and smartphones provide. The services will be more than simple delivery of scheduled information; they will connect commuters to each other in real time.
(A) Authorship – Everyone becomes an expert. Rating / Reviewing / Commenting / Tweeting / Blog Posting / Forum Participation have all become popular in Web 2.0, as everyone has a voice. TMAs need to get involved in the online conversation and build a valuable service with which commuters will associate. Lots of organizations are already doing this and reaping the benefits of building that reputation as a valuable service provider in their region. Check out PACE Rideshare’s Twitter feed as an example.
Ridematching software is not new. Many state Departments of Transportation (DOTs), Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), and Transportation Management Associations (TMAs) have used enterprise software to manage their ridematching and vanpool programs for years. These programs exhibit the flavor of an online ridematching system serving the commuting population in their region. Online rideshare tools have enabled better distribution of what were post-it notes on a bulletin board or static listings on an email list.
(T) Tagging – This is the contextual organization of information on the web. For example, had this been a blog posting, the tags would include: TDM, Consumerization, Web2.0, YPT, SaaS, Mobile etc. This provides new contextual paths to information such as “Tag Clouds”. Such methods have been used by consumer services like Twitter to enable them to tell us what is “trending”. Think about how you can use hash-tags for consumers to feedback directly to your agency... “#I-95 #gridlock” !!!
However, there are still many programs that for various reasons (program size / organizational capacity, funding requirements, etc.) still operate static postings of rideshare listings or manually facilitate the matching of commuters looking to carpool / vanpool. This is where “Enterprise” TDM needs to think more like a consumer business and “mobilize” this data. Take the recent bridge and tunnel restrictions into Manhattan during the aftermath of Sandy for example. Wouldn’t it have been great if we (the industry) had a real-time solution for all those commuters who could not drive into the city in smaller groups than 3!
(E) Extensions – Plug-ins / Open API’s / Inter-Connectivity have become the new IT architecture norms. Think of Facebook applications, or Sign-In with Google, LinkedIn, Facebook accounts. This method of user on-boarding allows for quick sign up, allowing the user to continue their engagement with your service in a frictionless manner. (S) Signaling – Notifications and Syndication. Email & SMS are not the only ways to connect with commuters. Smartphones are providing new channels to connect with them in realtime, with information that is directly relevant to them, in the palm of their hands. Push notifications are commonly used by smartphone applications to alert users to the activity that is most relevant to them.
In the future we will be ready. A new era will see these databases transform into truly valuable service platforms by making them multimodal, real time mobile transportation platforms. How will this be achieved? Through the adoption of the Web 2.0 characteristics, known as “SLATES”:
These “SLATES” characteristics are baked into the social Internet our commuters interact with every day. Commuters are spending more and more time engaging with their applications on mobile devices, so transportation service providers need to develop a presence on those devices. These service providers need to provide everyday usefulness to commuters so that they use and refer the services to others virally.
(S) Searching – Google changed how we interact with information on the web. Kayak.com, Priceline.com, Expedia.com and others subsequently brought this to the transportation / hospitality industries for consumers. TMAs should aim for the same effectiveness; your site should be “just like Kayak.” Visitors to your site and users of your mobile platform need to be easily self-served with quality options in order for these services to scale and achieve their intended objectives.
(L) Linking – Connecting / linking related information together. This is becoming more relevant with social tools like
Mobile rideshare and commute services are inevitable. Smartphone adoption has reached the tipping point; they
M obility Matters
are no longer a minority or “new” idea. As YPT professionals, we should look to complement the existing manual and web services with innovative smart mobile services which will serve the market demands of Generation Y commuters going forward. This innovation should be present, whether it is passengers looking to get real-time transit information or to get matched (either pre-arranged or in real-time) to a carpool or vanpool. For such car and vanpoolers, the experience ought to be one of distributed slugging, without the need to be physically at or near a slug line… “I am at point A, and I need to get to point B, let’s share the ride!”
ing SOV trips and mitigating community environmental impacts). Consumer vs. Enterprise At Avego, we are incubating the consumerization phenomenon on two fronts. In the consumer space, we are improving our mobile products by testing them in the consumer market. This happens through constant contact with our end users and keeping an open feedback loop with them to find the optimum mix of features that provide them with the best possible product. We iterate improvements through regular releases of features that improve the experience for our customers.
Let’s look at the numbers (data from comScore January 2013): •
129.4 million people in the U.S. own a smartphone in January 2013 (which is 55% of all mobile users, up from 45% in September 2012 and 35% in May 2011)
66% of those aged 18 – 29 in the U.S. own a smartphone
59% of those aged 30 – 49 in the U.S. own a smartphone
More Americans are buying smartphones to take advantage of applications and other smart features compared to traditional cell phones.
Global smartphone shipments will exceed “featurephone” shipments for the first time this year; 2013.
In the enterprise space, we are taking those consumer products and applying them to solve enterprise problems. The idea behind this is that our enterprise customers can ride the consumerization wave with us, without having to “request for proposal” (RFP) or specify bespoke, expensive, short-life solutions. We provide additional services that complement the underlying consumer products; these services fulfill the needs of our customers that consumer products don’t meet on their own. These services include enterprise reporting, marketing and outreach, planning, and analysis. We are currently operating enterprise real-time ridesharing pilots in 6 locations:
Imagine the quantum leap in perceived value by commuters through the delivery of multimodal transit options right into the palm of their hands. The great thing is that the goals for the commuter are still the same: •
Save money (by sharing the ride or riding fixed-transit).
Save time (by being matched with other commuters to access HOV lanes or dedicated rideshare parking).
Save the environment (access to incentives for reduc-
Sonoma County, CA
Marin County, CA
Contra Costa, CA
Santa Barbara, CA
Northern Virginia (Military BRAC Program)
M obility Matters We use these pilots as key proving grounds to test theories on what works best. We are lucky to have enthusiastic, engaged partner agencies that share our vision. Throughout 2013 we will learn many lessons in these and other programs, which will enable us to effectively integrate our products with the rideshare communities of our enterprise customers. We will also look to merge vanpool and carpool users across the country together for the first time, enabling the spare seats in both modes to be advertised in real-time to improve the seat-utilization efficiencies in our customers’ programs. This is what motivates us as a company, solving complex problems with simple, effective solutions!
their market spaces. The consumer wants speed, accuracy and convenience in their interaction with transportation services. It’s what they have become used to in their daily lives through other products, and as young transportation professionals, we can be the leaders in this industry shift! In closing I’d like to share a video of the “SF.citi” initiative (San Francisco Citizens Initiative for Technology and Innovation) that is currently attracting lots of attention in the Bay Area. This is really what the consumer wave can bring to cities across America. Watch out for the simplistic solutions they propose for common issues such as real-time passenger information, public WIFI Internet access, hailing a taxi in a busy metropolitan area, and providing city workers with accurate field data.
Watch this consumerization trend carefully, learn from consumer product companies as they test, fail and re-test in
Special Section: Chicago Chair’s Column:YPT Chicago
YPT Chicago continued this format with speaker Gabe Klein, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation, on July 24. Over 40 local transportation professionals attended, Discussing transportation issues with Commissioner representing a wide Gabe Klein over a beer array of universities, private companies, public sector agencies, and non-profit organizations. Additional casual happy hours were hosted in May and December.
By: Erik Cempel, Cambridge Systematics, YPT Chicago Chair Erik Cempel is a Senior Associate and Midwest Regional Manager for Transportation Planning and Management at Cambridge Systematics. He is one of the founders of YPT Chicago, serves on the board of the ITE Illinois Section, and is an active participant in the Chicago Engineers’ Foundation. Erik holds a Master of Engineering Erik Cempel degree in Transportation Systems from Cornell University, with a minor in Urban Planning.
In addition, the Chapter hosted the “Brew Line” pub crawl along the Blue Line L in September. The event featured four bars of very different character in four different neighborhoods easily accessed along the Blue Line on a Saturday afternoon.
It was once said that even on the way to heaven you had to change trains in Chicago. Chicago has always been the nation’s transportation hub for the mode of the day: ships, then rail, then air. Since the city is also a center for transportation education and home to a vibrant transportation professionals scene, Chicago is the perfect place to launch a new YPT regional chapter.
Inspired by the events of other chapters, YPT Chicago recently added technical tours to its repertoire. Amtrak staff provided YPT members a free behind-the-scenes tour of Daniel Burnham’s Union Station, including a look at the new control center that oversees all Amtrak passenger train operations from the Appalachians in the east to California in the west, and from Canada to the north and New Orleans to the south. This tour was so popular – reaching capacity in just two days – that YPT Chicago will be offering it again later in the year.
YPT Chicago held its inaugural event on March 27, 2012, with guest speaker John Norquist, the former Mayor of Milwaukee and the current President of Congress for the New Urbanism. John talked about his experience in office and his national role in promoting sustainable transportation policy. Following his brief presentation, attendees gathered for an informal cocktail hour, allowing young professionals to chat in a casual environment with a leader in the field.
M obility Matters
View of Chicago Union Station’s Great Hall from above
YPT members have recently stepped up to support the Chicago Engineers’ Foundation outreach to Chicago high schools. Our members will be helping to make students aware of scholarship opportunities for engineering students and to tell them about career paths in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.
Considering Chicago’s role in the national transportation system, it’s not surprising that YPT members and friends are involved with many transformational projects. Carl Sandburg dubbed Chicago as a “player with railroads and the nation’s freight handler,” but with massive rail congestion and aging infrastructure, could the moniker be danger? Below, Audrey Wennink discusses the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) program, a revolutionary partnership aimed at maintaining the region’s status as the busiest freight hub in the nation. Mark de la Vergne and Mike Amsden write about Chicago’s renaissance as a city for all modes. The new Streets for Cycling Plan 2020 guides Chicago towards being the most bike-friendly big city in America. If you live or work in Northeast Illinois, or are just passing through, you’re always welcome to attend an event or join YPT-Chicago! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and like us at www.facebook.com/YPTChicago.
These events continue to be successful due to the hard work of our leadership team of Caitlin Ghoshal, Brenda Christopher, Sam Van Hecke, Dean Constantinou, and Jared Voto; Charlie Monte Verde, Randy Simes, and Sharon Lowhim have recently joined the effort.
Chicago Region’s CREATE Program Marks Ten Years of Success
well as delays at key highway-rail crossings, the program is already realizing significant regional and national benefits. The CREATE partners include the Illinois Department of Transportation; Chicago Department of Transportation; Metra commuter rail; Amtrak; six of the largest North American freight railroads:
By Audrey Wennink, Cambridge Systematics Audrey Wennink is a Senior Associate at Cambridge Systematics, a transportation planning consulting firm. She has provided ongoing technical support to the Chicago Department of Transportation on CREATE Audrey Wennink since 2007. She also led development of twoTIGER applications for CREATE, which resulted in securing $110.4 M for the program. She holds a Master of Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois-Chicago.
Canadian National (CN),
Canadian Pacific (CP),
Norfolk Southern (NS),
Union Pacific (UP);
and switching railroads:
One of the first public-private partnerships in the nation, The Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program (CREATE) celebrates 10 years of progress in 2013 since it was announced in 2003. Aimed at addressing existing and future freight and passenger rail congestion as
Belt Railway Company of Chicago (BRC), and
Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad (IHB).
The Program encompasses the rationalization, reconstruction, and upgrade of four passenger and freight rail corridors in Chicago, as shown in Figure 1:
M obility Matters
M obility Matters 1. 1) Belt Railway East West Connector (red); 2. 2) UP/CSX/NS Western Avenue Corridor (purple); 3. 3) CSX/Indiana Harbor Beltway Corridor (blue); and 4. 4) Metra Passenger Corridors (yellow). The CREATE Program consists of 70 projects, including: •
25 road/rail grade separations
6 passenger/freight rail grade separations
36 railroad projects to improve rail infrastructure and upgrade technologies
Viaduct improvement program
Grade crossing safety enhancements
Rail operations and visibility improvements
Upgraded signal system in Blue Island Yard
In 2012, CREATE secured its single largest funding advance with $211 million from State of Illinois Capital Bill, $155 million from the CREATE Partner Railroads, and $10.4 million in Federal TIGER IV funding. This funding will enable all railway infrastructure components of CREATE’s Belt, Western Avenue, and East-West Corridors to be completed, with the exception of the mega-project to reconfigure Belt Junction. Called the 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project, the Belt Junction improvements consist of four projects linked environmentally: P2 and P3 rail-rail flyovers, GS 19 grade crossing separation, and the EW2 rail connection. In addition, these funds will enable design and construction of one highway-rail grade crossing separation (G6) and improve 11 viaducts in the City of Chicago.
Each day, 1,300 trains – 800 passenger and 500 freight – pass through the region. Nowhere else in North America does this quantity of rail traffic converge in a single region, creating a level of freight congestion that impacts the movement of goods nationally. CREATE is relieving delays to traffic at highway-rail grade crossings that threaten the economic vitality of the greater Chicago region and negatively impact air quality. The program is also improving the reliability, speed, and safety of rail passenger service (Metra and Amtrak) regularly affected by freight congestion. In the ten years since CREATE was announced, it has achieved tremendous progress, with 16 projects completed, 12 under construction, 7 in final design, and 14 under environmental review, as shown in Figure 1. Approximately $1 billion in funding for the estimated $3 billion program has been secured.
With the commitment and dedication of many, CREATE is a real success story; the partnership is as strong as it was in 2003 and the program is generating real results for the region and nation. For more information about CREATE see www.createprogram.org.
Rail operations in the Chicago Terminal, defined as the area inside the EJ&E Railroad about 40 miles outside the city center, are noticeably improved. The 48 hours it took for intermodal or general freight trains to pass through Chicago before CREATE have been reduced by more than half a day to an average of 32 hours. For unit trains, which are built of a single commodity, the time to traverse Chicago has been reduced from 20 to 15 hours. The gains achieved at individual project locations have been dramatic. For example, at Blue Island Yard in the community of Blue Island south of Chicago, signal systems and track connections were installed, and hand-thrown switches were eliminated (project B15). These improvements resulted in increasing freight train speeds from 10 mph to a maximum of 30mph and reducing the time to traverse the area from an average of an hour to as little as six minutes.
M obility Matters Chicago Streets for Cycling Plan
streets. When complete, Chicago will have hundreds of miles of barrier and buffer protected bike lanes, traditional bike lanes, neighborhood greenways, and additional innovative treatments that will create safer streets for bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists.
By: Mike Amsden, TY Lin International/Chicago Department of Transportation & Mark de la Vergne, Sam Schwartz Engineering Mike Amsden, AICP is a Senior Planner at T.Y. Lin International serving primarily as Project Manager for the City of Chicago Department of Transportation’s Bicycle Program. Mike is currently Project Manager for two major CDOT Mark de la Vergne & Mike Amsden Initiatives – Chicago’s Protected Bike Lane Initiative and the Streets for Cycling Plan 2020. Mike has been with T.Y. Lin International for seven (7) years and has a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
The proposed bike network consists of three smaller systems: Neighborhood Bike Routes that utilize residential streets, Crosstown Bike Routes that use collector and arterial roadways, and Spoke Routes that connect all corners of the City to Chicago’s iconic Loop. When the network is complete, all Chicagoans will be within 1⁄2 mile of a bicycle facility. The Plan will increase the number and quality of bikeways where ridership is already high as well as build a strong backbone of infrastructure where ridership is currently low. The Streets for Cycling Plan 2020 also identifies over 100 miles of barrier and buffer protected bike lanes to be installed by 2015. This was accomplished by analyzing existing traffic volumes, roadway width, parking and loading activities, and motor vehicle speeds. By the end of 2013, Chicago is on pace to have the most protected bike lanes in the US.
Mark de la Vergne is a Project Manager with Sam Schwartz Engineering and leads the firm’s planning efforts in Chicago. In addition to the Streets for Cycling Plan, Mark also served as the Project Manager for Chicago’s Pedestrian Plan and Siting and Outreach for Chicago’s Bike Share system.
This Plan was developed through a partnership between CDOT and the citizens of Chicago. Chicago is a city of neighborhoods, and the people that know each neighborhood best are those that bike, walk, and drive them on a daily basis. In addition to eight traditional public meetings, more detailed input was received from nine Community Advisory Groups that were established to represent different regions of Chicago. Each group met voluntarily on a monthly basis and provided input on what streets in their neighborhood would be best for on-street bikeways.
100 Miles Of Protected Bike Lanes. In Four Years. To many, this goal seemed unattainable, but Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel had a vision for making Chicago the best big city for bicycling. Bicycling will play a critical role in Chicago’s economic future as it helps current and future residents traverse the City and attract new employers. Making bicycling safer and more convenient will increase bicycling activity, having positive impacts on the quality of life for the people of Chicago.
In addition to releasing the Plan, CDOT installed a considerable number of on-street bikeways in 2012. This included over 39 miles of new and restriped bikeways, including 27 miles of barrier and buffer protected bike lanes. 2012 also saw the first protected bike lane in Chicago’s Loop, a twoway protected bike lane on Dearborn Street between Polk Street and Kinzie Street. Since May 2011, CDOT has installed 30 miles of protected bike lanes.
In 2012, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) released the Streets for Cycling Plan 2020. The Plan sets forth a bold blueprint to implement Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s vision of a world-class bike network throughout Chicago. The Plan identifies a 645-mile network of innovative bikeways that will allow all Chicagoans, from eight years old to eighty and beyond, to feel safe and comfortable bicycling on city
The full plan can be found on CDOT’s website at www.cityofchicago.org/transportation.
M obility Matters YPT National Chair’s Column
local DC events and issues, but also manage a nationallygrowing organization. At the end of the year, during YPT’s annual election period, we will split the DC and national boards into two separate groups. The DC metropolitan area will benefit in having board members who can focus on events of local interest and importance, and members nationwide will have a board who can work solely on the administrative side, expanding the organization’s reach and stature.
By Katherine Kortum, TRB In the last few months, YPT has seen a turnover in the board after its annual elections. While we miss those who are no longer on the board, our new board members (and the continuing ones!) are already working hard to continue the YPT tradition of making each year better than the last. Our new board members include a new Katherine Kortum Mobility Matters editor, Bryce McNitt. He is taking over the position from Shana Johnson, who has been our editor for many issues, making Mobility Matters into the strong publication it is today. Please join me in saying a sad farewell to Shana but welcoming Bryce to the helm of our quarterly magazine.
YPT also recently organized another successful reception at the annual Transportation Research Board meeting. In combination with the Younger Members Council of TRB, we welcomed more than 400 young transportation professionals and dozens of experienced transportation professionals, who were on hand to answer questions and create connections for the up-and-coming generation of leaders. In addition to the large reception for all transportation-inclined conference attendees, YPT also held a leadership seminar for its chapter leaders from around the country, many of whom met each other in person for the first time. Creating these connections both between both young and experienced professionals and also among the younger generation is YPT’s strength. We look forward to working with our expanding membership base and number of chapters to continue to propel young professionals into the leadership positions of the future.
2013 is a significant year for YPT. Since its inception, the organization has been based out of Washington DC, with the DC-area board acting as both local and national leaders. The number of chapters has been increasing at an incredible pace over the last few years, and there are now active YPT chapters in twelve cities beyond DC. As a result, the DC board has been stretched thin as they not only coordinate
Member Spotlight: Stephanie Camay
tion. To this day, I can clearly visualize the announcement for an upcoming urban planning course and recall the moment of clarity. After my interview, I visited my advisor again, and changed my major to Urban & Regional Planning.
Stephanie Camay, Lead Planner Parsons Brinkerhoff
After obtaining my undergraduate degree, I had plans to move to New York City. I applied to several jobs, and was beginning to schedule interviews. My job search came to a halt, however, with the tragic events on September 11th. I was living with my parents at the time, and coincidentally, a local planning position opened up. I applied, and landed the job. Over the next three years, I worked for the City of Jamestown’s Department of Development preparing and administering the city’s grants, designating funding and economic development opportunities, and conducting environmental reviews for local projects.
Tell us about your career to-date? How did you get interested in the transportation industry? My interest in planning began during my undergraduate studies. I was pursuing a degree in dietetics at Miami University, but after the first few semesters, feeling unsure about my choice of major. During my sophomore year, I enrolled in an architecture course to fulfill an elective requirement. As I sat through the lectures, I became fascinated with the relationship between society and its spatial form. I met with my advisor to discuss changing my major. Miami University, however, had a four year design studio for architecture, which would mean repeating my first few semesters. Feeling additional uncertainty, I applied for Miami’s abroad program in Luxembourg. The interview was in the Geography Department, and I as waited for my appointment with the selection committee, a poster hanging on the wall caught my atten-
In 2004, I relocated to the New York metropolitan area and took a job with URS Corporation. My responsibilities included preparing environmental reviews, land use applications, and other permitting activities for large-scale water quality improvement projects. Around this time, my fascination with transportation began. As a planner, I already realized
M obility Matters the critical integration of land use and transportation, but working and living in the New York region further solidified this relationship. New York City’s transportation system is a complex system of infrastructure, including a transit network that is the lifeblood of the city and its economy. Recognizing the reliance on public transportation, especially during events such as the 2005 Transit Strike, I yearned to learn more about transportation systems. In January 2006, I enrolled in a Masters program at Hunter College, focusing on transportation.
expand the practitioner’s toolbox, private sector clients are also recognizing that communicating with a defined public is critical. This shift in planning to a more inclusive process relates to the concepts of collaborative planning and consensus building, designed to promote a more democratic process for decision-making. I was also involved in public outreach efforts while employed as a Transportation Planner for URS Corporation. In this role, I worked on various task orders through an on-call contract with New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT). These task orders work towards New York City’s vision of improved mobility, safer streets, and reduced impact on global climate, resulting in improved quality of life. Specifically, I worked on developing a marketing strategy for expanding an off-hours delivery program parking, a parking and curbside management study to promote economic vitality and safety in Manhattan’s Chinatown, an alternative analysis to explore transit access to LaGuardia Airport, and a streetcar feasibility study in Red Hook, Brooklyn.
What is your current role at Parsons Brinckerhoff? What types of projects do you work on and what is your role? In late March, I transitioned to a new position at Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB), in the Planning & Environment Group. My primary responsibility is project coordination for the NEC FUTURE, a Receiving recognition for coordinating TRB’s long-term investment John and Jane Public Communications program for improving Competition. https://sites.Google.Com/site/ and growing the Northtrbcommitteeada60/jjpcompetition east Corridor (NEC) rail service to accommodate projected 2040 rail ridership. The 457-mile NEC extends from Boston’s South Station in the north, through New York’s Pennsylvania Station in the center, to Washington D.C.’s Union Station in the south, serving multiple markets (commuter, intercity, freight) as one of the most heavily traveled rail corridors in the world. The sheer magnitude of this comprehensive planning effort makes it a very exciting project!
Can you tell us about one of your favorite projects? What made it fun for you?
In addition to project coordination, I am assisting with the public outreach efforts. Engaging stakeholders from eight states and the District of Columbia requires the use of various outreach tools, including public meetings, workshops, webinars, and briefings for agencies and interested organizations. Most recently, a ‘Pop-up Tour’ was held along the corridor. Representatives of the project visited rail stations along the Northeast Corridor to inform the public about NEC FUTURE and seek rider input. My new position at PB presents an opportunity for me to get involved with communications, in addition to planning. PB’s National Communications / Public Involvement group views communication as more than a tool for presenting information. Innovation, understanding, and creativity are integral for connecting to audiences and executing effective, productive communication. As new tools, like social media,
NYCDOT’s Chinatown Curbside Management Study was one of my favorite projects for several reasons. This was my first opportunity to manage a project. Interestingly, when I was originally assigned to the project, I was excited about the chance to learn project management skills, but not necessarily the project scope – parking and curbside management. I had been working on mostly transit projects, and parking seemed somewhat less exciting. But as I became immersed with the project, I realized that it was about far more than parking. Its premise was managing the curb for pedestrians, bicycles, transit, and passenger and commercial vehicles. Curbside management plays a critical role in cities like New York, with its limited supply of curbside space. Bike lanes, transit-ways, and pedestrian plazas are all great quality of life improvements; however, they further constrain the curb. Determining how to balance the many users, particularly in an area like Manhattan’s Chinatown, where the neighborhood’s rich cultural heritage creates considerable pedestrian and vehicular traffic, became a fascinating challenge. Moreover, this project had a large public outreach component that was continually adapted to provide increased engagement to the predominantly non-English speaking community. Public input was a complement to data, which resulted in a better project that is sensitive to the community’s concerns while maintaining its technical integrity. The public outreach techniques varied depending on the phase of the project, decisions at hand, interested players, and suc-
M obility Matters cesses or failures of previous approaches. We also remained flexible throughout the study. When one public outreach tool proved to be less successful, our efforts focused on other tools. This interactive and transparent process was critical to the study’s success. (For more information on this project, please see the article on page 18.)
joined the New York Programs Committee, and took on the role of Committee Co-chair. In this capacity, I organized the chapter’s annual and quarterly programs, as well as smaller technical tours and professional development-type events. In 2011, I participated as an apprentice in the WTS-GNY Mentoring Program, where I learned valuable insight from my mentor and developed ongoing relationships with her, as well as fellow apprentices. I joined the WTS-GNY board in 2012 as the chapter secretary, responsible for recording the chapter board meetings, generating chapter communications, including the website, monthly news updates, and other publications, and ensuring the chapter remains current with its communication strategy.
What’s been your involvement in YPT, as well as other industry organizations (WTS, TRB)? What do you gain from your involvement in YPT that is unique from other organizations?
Lastly (and certainly not least!), after attending the very first YPT-NYC event, I knew I wanted to get more involved. I had that opportunity in 2011, when I took on the role of developing a chapter website and managing YPT-NYC’s social media outlets. I later joined the board as the Vice-Chair of Administration. While TRB allows me to pursue research opportunities and network on a national level, and WTS is dedicated to the professional advancement of women in transportation, YPT provides fellowship opportunities with young professionals. All three professional organizations have been influential in shaping my career.
The first professional organization I became involved with was the Transportation Research Board (TRB). I attended my first TRB event, a mid-year meeting in Chicago, in July 2007. I left feeling incredibly inspired, both with TRB’s mission, to provide leadership in transportation innovation and progress through research and information exchange, and its ability to build a remarkable network of transportation professionals. I began researching more details about TRB, specifically, how to become a member of a standing committee. I remember thinking, “I hope that I can serve on a TRB committee someday,” setting this aspiration as a career goal. Over five years later, I have achieved my initial goal, and my involvement with TRB has become more than I could have ever imagined! Assisting registration at the WTS Greater New York Chapter 2011 Annual Gala
How did you get to where you are today? Where do you see yourself in 10 years? I am where I am today because of the opportunities I have been given and the great support I have received throughout my career. There are so many leaders that have influenced me, and I know many YPT members and friends are also mentored by industry leaders. Professional organizations, such as YPT, have been a catalyst to this transfer of knowledge and expertise. In ten years, I hope to be a leader in the industry and provide that same mentorship to young professionals. As Benjamin Franklin stated, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
I am a member of three standing committees: Ferry Transportation Committee, Visualization in Transportation Committee, and Public Involvement in Transportation Committee, as well as the Communications Coordinators Council and Young Members Council, Planning and Environment Subcommittee. While serving on these committees I have worked alongside some truly brilliant professionals, write research statements and calls for papers, authoring and reviewing papers, organizing sessions, workshops, and webinars, developing and maintaining committee websites, and implementing communication tools. At the most recent Annual Meeting, I was presented with the inaugural Outstanding Young Member Award, which is an honor that cannot be easily expressed in words. Not only does being recognized for work that I enjoy so much make this award extraordinarily special, but it is also meaningful for what it represents: TRB’s recognition that young professionals are the future of the transportation industry. In addition to TRB, I became involved with the Women’s Transportation Seminar – Greater New York Chapter (WTS-GNY) after attending my first chapter event in 2008. Soon after, I
M obility Matters Connected Vehicles – Overview
devices and infrastructure to reduce collisions. DSRC is the only short-range wireless alternative today that provides a dedicated, highly reliable, secure and private connectivity. Vehicle safety applications that use vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications need secure (i.e., hack proof) wireless interface dependability in extreme weather conditions and short time delays; all of which are facilitated by DSRC.
By Andy Palanisamy, Principal Transportation Management Specialist, Citizant, Inc. Andy Palanisamy (aka @Transportgooru) is a Principal Transportation Management Specialist at Citizant, Inc., engaged in various program activities in support of the USDOT ITS Joint Program Office for the past decade. He is also a blogger and a founder of the popular online portal www.transportgooru.com. Andy is also a well-known among his peers for his skills in using social media technologies for communicating key transportation issues.
The Connected Vehicle Program intends to develop applications under the following three areas: safety, mobility and environment. The safety goals are addressed by via V2V Communications for Safety, V2I Communications for Safety and Connected Vehicle Safety for Rail. These safety applications are designed to increase situational awareness of the vehicle/driver and reduce or eliminate crashes through vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) data transmission that supports driver advisories, driver warnings, and vehicle and/or infrastructure controls. Let’s imagine that you are in a car (or a truck/bus) approaching a signalized intersection showing green for your direction of travel, and that line of sight obstructions don’t allow for visibility of crosstraffic. In such a scenario there is no way for you to know that there is a speeding driver on the perpendicular street, heading towards the intersection to beat the light before it turned red (90degrees to your left or right). Often such scenarios result in T-bone collisions, causing major harm to the occupant and to the vehicles. In such a scenario, the Connected Vehicles would be able to “see” each other by communicating via the DSRC radios, providing alerts (visual, audible, and haptic) to the drivers about the impending collision and help them take action to avert the collision. With over 32,000 deaths (2010) on our roads and billions of dollars in property damage, it is expected that connected vehicle technology could help in preventing 82% of the crash scenarios with unimpaired drivers.
Editor’s Note: This article generously adapts content from the ITS JPO Website and from their latest Strategic Plan Update (2012). Introduction Today, we are standing at the edge of a wireless connectivity revolution in consumer technology. The abundance of telecommunications technologies (cellular, cable, satellites, etc) and the proliferation of gadgets (cellular phones, computers, etc) allow us to stay connected to each other despite the geospatial boundaries. This scenario naturally begs the question for us transportation professionals – what’s the impact of this revolution on the transportation sector? Among the many promising surface transportation research efforts involving wireless connectivity is the Connected Vehicle program, currently underway at the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Connected Vehicle program leverages the transformative capabilities of wireless technology to advance transportation safety, mobility, and environmental sustainability. This multimodal initiative started in 2008 with an extensive outreach and stakeholder input gathering process. It intends to provide a safe, interoperable networked wireless communications between vehicles, the infrastructure, and personal communications devices we carry. The connected vehicle program’s long-term goals include the collection of vehicular and environmental status data by millions of passenger and commercial vehicles. This multimodal program is led by the ITS Joint Program Office (ITS JPO) of the USDOT’s Research & Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) in cooperation with partners from the automotive industry, research and academic institutions.
Connected vehicle program aims to tackle the mobility challenges through data-intensive applications such as Real-Time Data Capture and Management (DCM) and Dynamic Mobility Applications (DMA). To put this in perspective, traffic congestion drained $121 billion from the U.S. economy during 2011 — more than $818 for every U.S. traveler, according to the 2012 Urban Mobility Report from Texas Transportation Institute. Americans waste 5.5 billion hours in traffic every year or nearly one full work (or vacation) week for every traveler. Even a small dent on these figures could be significant towards improving the way the Americans travel.
So, how does it work? The technology underpinning in the connected vehicle program is the 5.9 Giga Hertz Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC), a two-way wireless communications capability that permits very high data transmission critical in communications-based active safety applications with low latency. DSRC was developed with a primary goal of enabling technologies that support safety applications and communication between vehicle-based
Another important goal of the connected vehicle program is to mitigate the environmental impact of the transportation network. Environmental applications developed through the Applications for the Environment: Real-Time Synthesis (AERIS) program will both generate and capture environmentally
M obility Matters relevant real-time transportation data, which can be used by the public and system operators alike to support and facilitate “green” transportation choices like avoiding congested routes, taking alternate routes, opting for public transit, or rescheduling trips. Data generated from connected vehicle systems can also provide operators (and transportation planners, yay!) with detailed, real-time information on vehicle location, speed, and other operating conditions. This data can be used to improve system operation. On-board equipment may also advise vehicle owners on how to optimize the vehicle’s operation and maintenance for maximum fuel efficiency.
automotive industry, the European standards-setting body, European Telecommunication Standards Institute (ETSI), and the Car2Car European automotive industry transportation environment. In addition to the ongoing technical testing and development, the USDOT is also engaged in the research and analysis of the policy and institutional challenges associated with technology transfer, adoption, implementation, and use of connected vehicles. The policy team has identified three overarching, critical issues that impact public acceptance and transfer of the new technologies into use: a financially sustainable strategy for implementation, operations, and maintenance; a robust security system that preserves privacy at the highest levels; and a governance model that provides a voice to stakeholders. The connected vehicle program is also keen on the development of technical and institutional models for a security system whose goals are to provide security in a highly mobile environment while leveraging existing organizational and operational entities and processes.
Current Status So what’s the current status of this project? The USDOT and its partners are actively engaged in the technical research for the V2V/V2I safety technologies and applications to create prototypes for testing and demonstration. As part of this effort, the research team has established the Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot as a means of demonstrating the readiness of DSRC-based connected vehicle safety applications for nationwide deployment. Through this program, the USDOT will test connected vehicle safety applications in real-world driving scenarios in order to determine their effectiveness at reducing crashes and to ensure that the devices are safe and do not unnecessarily distract motorists or cause unintended consequences.
Conclusion So what happens next? Results of the Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot will support the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) analysis of how safe and how transformative these technologies are, and will support agency decisions in 2013 for light vehicles and 2014 for heavy vehicles (trucks) regarding the optimal path toward nationwide adoption. At this time, I’d also like to point out an equally interesting and important development that has garnered a lot of attention of late - introduction of driverless cars. Google, Toyota, and many other automobile manufacturers across the globe are investing a lot of time and money in research, building and testing vehicles that are capable of autonomous driving. As tempting as it may sound, these autonomous vehicles are still in the early stages of research and many obstacles remain along the way before they can be ready for the public to buy. But in the near future, you can definitely expect to see a truly connected car arrive at an automobile dealership next to you.
A key objective of the Safety Pilot Program (www.safetypilot.us) is to evaluate everyday drivers’ reactions, both in a controlled environment through driver clinics and on actual roadways with other vehicles through the real-world model deployment. To date, an initial 24 cars have been built and tested through six Safety Pilot Driver Clinics, held in 2011, in Brooklyn, Michigan; Brainerd, Minnesota; Orlando, Florida; Blacksburg, Virginia; Fort Worth, Texas; and Alameda, California, during which 690 everyday drivers participated, generating over 20,000 miles of performance data. Progress is being made to prepare for the Safety Pilot Model Deployment, which was awarded to the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) and partners and will include up to 3,000 vehicles for testing, including three integrated trucks, sixteen retrofitted commercial vehicles, and three buses.
Please visit the ITS Joint Program Office Website to learn more about the connected vehicle program and other exciting research efforts currently underway.
The connected vehicle program has also developed a core system concept. Using input from a series of user workshops across the nation, a first, high-level Concept of Operations and Architecture have been developed. The USDOT has also participated in the development of standards critical to the connected vehicle. An additional accomplishment in the standards area is the recent international harmonization efforts that have resulted in a consortium among the U.S.
(Endnotes) 1. DSRC Fact Sheet 2. RITA: Connected Vehicle Research 3. RITA: ITS JPO Newsletter April ‘12 4. RITA: ITS Strategic Plan 2010-2014
M obility Matters Creating an adaptive outreach strategy: Lessons from the Chinatown Curbside Management Study
What is the appropriate way to balance technical and nontechnical approaches, so that a plan has both analytical rigor and addresses the community’s perceived problems? At NYC DOT, we have embraced a neighborhood-based transportation study approach as a way to answer this question. This approach, which emphasizes involving community members in all aspects of the planning process, is based on:
By Nathan Gray, Senior Project Manager, New York City Department of Transportation and Stephanie Camay, Lead Planner, Parsons Brinkerhoff
Nathan Gray is a senior project manager for the Community Initiatives group at the New York City Department of Transportation. He is responsible for managing neighborhood-based transportation projects throughout the city. He holds a Master of Urban Planning and Master of Public Policy from the University of Michigan.
A community-driven process, including the identification of issues, decisions about the needs of different streets, and the development of treatments; and
The development of treatments that can be implemented quickly and at a relatively low cost, monitored, and adjusted as necessary.
We used this approach very effectively in Jackson Heights, Queens, during the two-year Jackson Heights Neighborhood Transportation Plan process. This effort served as the model for the Chinatown Curbside Management Study (CCMS), which is the focus of this article. What is important about this study is how we began using an outreach model based on our work in another neighborhood, but quickly adapted our approach based on the neighborhood’s unique conditions and created an inclusive process that address long-standing community concerns.
Stephanie Camay is a Lead Planner for Parsons Brinkerhoff in New York City. She worked on the Chinatown Curbside Management Study while a Transportation Planner at URS Corporation. Stephanie’s work focuses on transportation planning, environmental analyses, and public involvement.
Project Background Chinatown’s enticing amenities draw both residents and tourists, but they also create a host of traffic and transportation issues. The neighborhood rivals Times Square as one of the most crowded pedestrian areas in the city, its narrow sidewalks struggling to handle the volume. Further complicating matters, narrow street widths and limited curbside space make efficiently managing the needs of the neighborhood’s various street users – including residents, tourists, delivery vehicles, agency vehicles, buses, and commuter vans – a challenge.
Introduction How to effectively incorporate public input and how much input to including in the planning and decision-making process can be a struggle for many planning practitioners. Particularly challenging is balancing what is revealed by technical data collection with local knowledge. Transportation planning is a complex, multi-dimensional, and technical discipline that requires expertise with processes and calculations that are often opaque and obscure to citizens. Yet, a reliance on technical analysis alone can lead practitioners to not see the forest for the trees, resulting in plans that either do not deal with the issues that a community faces or are not comprehensive. Public involvement provides an opportunity to address this issue, but it is idealized as a dynamic dialogue with citizens and government working together to develop policy solutions. Unfortunately, the actual practice can fall short of this ideal, with public involvement limited to a one-way process that informs citizens of planning efforts, but does not gather feedback, record response, or provide for significant influence in decision-making.
The CCMS was started in 2011 to address these issues. The project, which was funded through a congressional earmark from Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, had four overriding goals: 1. Increase curbside space availability to all users; 2. Reduce congestion associated with finding a parking space; 3. Improve pedestrian mobility and safety; and 4. Develop innovative short-term improvements that can be implemented quickly and measured for effectiveness.
M obility Matters At the beginning of the study, we recognized that Chinatown has been studied by numerous agencies, which has led to wide-spread frustration about being over-studied with no tangible results. So, just as important as our curbside recommendations, we wanted to develop an inclusive outreach process that brought together the neighborhood’s different constituencies and helped build trust between the Department and neighborhood stakeholders. Importantly, the project was also sponsored by two distinguished neighborhood organizations, the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) and the Asian American Federation (AAF), which gave our work an added level of credibility. Throughout the project, these respected organizations played a critical role by helping us understand the neighborhood’s dynamics and how we should refine our outreach strategy. We also hired a Dedicated Community Liaison, Asian-Americans for Equality, to help us design our outreach process and to translate during public workshops.
The project team set up in Sara Roosevelt Park during the afternoon workshop session
At the outset of the project, we intended to use a traditional public outreach strategy highlighted by a series of public workshops at key points during the study. We quickly realized that we needed to take a different approach and we adjusted our strategy to use a multi-tiered outreach approach with many different ways for the community to become involved in the planning process. We held neighborhood walkthroughs with community leaders to develop the issues to address, small meetings with neighborhood leaders to develop consensus on our approach, formed advisory committees to vet our ideas, and used a web-based transportation portal to solicit ideas and disseminate information. This article focuses on how we adjusted each of the three public workshops to better involve the community. By remaining flexible and adapting our outreach approach, we were able to get tremendous community input for our project, which augmented all of our technical data analysis.
Despite an extensive advertising effort, only 14 community members attended the morning session. Rather than writing off the rest of the workshop, we quickly adapted our approach and went to a local park to meet with community members. With the additional outreach, we were able to speak with over 80 additional people. We found that the informal workshop, in a more casual setting, encouraged people to speak more candidly. Additionally, having translators that could communicate in Chinese dialects provided an increased comfort level, allowing an open dialogue. By changing our outreach strategy, we were able to salvage the workshop. More importantly, this workshop began what was to be a different style of public involvement program, one founded on the idea that bringing the information to the people leads to more effective engagement. We learned that waiting for people to come to a public meeting would not work; we needed to go to where people gathered and work through existing community organizations if we hoped to effectively engage with people.
First Public Workshop—Adapting on the Fly Public Workshop #2—Refocusing Approach
The first workshop was intended to be an opportunity for the community to identify curbside issues within the study area. Initially, we wanted to hold a morning workshop and an afternoon workshop at a local elementary school to give community members a chance to attend at their convenience. We used a similar format quite successfully in Jackson Heights and felt this approach would also work well in Chinatown. The workshop was structured in a small group format to give people as many opportunities to speak. Translators were available for each of the three primary Chinese dialects. At each table, a facilitator gave each group a presentation outlining the study’s goals and expectations for the workshop. Following the presentation, participants identified problem areas by placing stickers on a study area map.
At the outset of the project, we planned for the second workshop’s format to mimic the first workshop: small group format within a large day-long workshop. Also, we intended for the second workshop to focus on finalizing the pilot corridors. But given that holding one large workshop did not work for the first workshop, we adjusted our approach and held a series of smaller workshops with community groups in the study area. Moreover, we felt that the workshop should focus on more than just which blockfaces to address during the study. Based upon a lengthy discussion of what worked and what didn’t during the first public workshop as well as guidance from CCBA and AAF, we adjusted the format to achieve three separate goals:
M obility Matters 1. Introduce community members to the streets that would receive improvements;
players discussed the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed improvements and voted on whether those improvements would address the issue. If the proposed improvements did not receive a majority of the votes, the proposer suggested another improvement. This approach helped stakeholders to realize that in order to reach a successful end result, all suggestions must be considered equally and trade-offs may be necessary.
2. Introduce NYCDOT’s toolbox of short-term improvements; and 3. Focus on the trade-offs associated with implementing the various solutions in the toolbox. The decision to introduce the NYCDOT’s toolbox of improvements was another example of how we adapted our public outreach approach. This change achieved two goals: it gave the public a voice in the proposed locations and treatments and it helped them to understand that every action has myriad effects on the traffic network and that trade-offs may be necessary. For example, extending the sidewalk to allow for increased pedestrian mobility and safety may require the removal or relocation of one or more parking spaces. The concept of trade-offs is traditionally a difficult subject to discuss with the public. To overcome this hurdle, we developed a board game that required players to select a solution from the toolbox of short-term improvements to address the curbside issues identified during the first public workshop.
The project team playing the board game with senior citizens at a community center
We learned from the first public workshop that we could not expect people to come to a large public workshop. With that in mind, we decided to hold a series of smaller workshops hosted by key community groups. We went to senior centers, community centers, restaurants, local business associations, and other meeting places throughout Chinatown. The locations chosen for these workshops provided a neutral, comfortable environment. Community members were already gathered at these centers, which boosted attendance. In addition, participants were more perceptive to learning about the CCMS upon realizing that the project was supported by these local organizations. As with the first public workshop, these sessions were facilitated in English, Cantonese, Mandarin, or Fujianese, depending on the preferred dialects of workshop participants. Ultimately, we spoke with over 100 people at six separate workshop sessions and learned valuable information about community issues and the most effective way to address those issues. Monopoly-style board game used during Public Workshop #2
Public Workshop #3—taking the plan to the people
The game worked Monopoly-style with players proposing one or more tools from the NYC DOT toolbox of short-term improvements, including paid commercial parking, commercial delivery windows, and sidewalk extensions, among others. After one player proposed improvements, the other
After concluding the second workshop, we used the quantitative and qualitative data to develop a draft improvement plan. After finalizing the draft improvement plan, we felt that we needed to speak with as many people as possible
M obility Matters about our proposals. With this goal in mind, we decided to take the draft improvement plan directly to the people by hosting a “mobile” workshop on the streets of Chinatown.
By the end of the week, we spoke with over 900 people. We got comments and tremendous feedback. Over 75% of the respondents gave positive feedback on the treatments and more than half of the respondents liked each of the pilot corridor treatments. Some of the comments received include: “Great plan, do it!” “Good. When do you start?” “Seems like a ‘win-win’ for everyone.”
For a full week, we fanned out through the neighborhood, specifically targeting the corridors that would receive treatments, with translators and spoke with the public about our plan’s components. We worked in pairs with an Englishspeaker and a translator doing street intercept surveys to talk with people about the plan. Each project team member wore orange traffic vests to increase their visibility and distributed 11x17 brochures that clearly identified the curbside issues and the corresponding improvement. The brochures were bilingual – with both English and Chinese text—and included mainly graphics that illustrated the problems and the proposed solutions.
Conclusion We learned very quickly on this project that remaining flexible and adaptable are the keys to a successful outreach process. Although at the beginning of this project, we decided to model our outreach efforts on what had worked well in Jackson Heights, the attendance at the first public workshop clearly showed that we needed to do something different. Our willingness to completely rethink how we would engage community members throughout the project provides an important lesson for transportation planning practitioners working to develop effective outreach models. First, take an honest assessment of what worked well and what didn’t. Previous studies have very useful information about what type of techniques work. But with that in mind, it is crucial to understand a neighborhood, its characteristics, and the players within the community. We learned right away that Chinatown’s unique character and history meant that we would have to take different approaches than what worked in Jackson Heights. Finally, it is important to remain flexible. If one outreach tool isn’t working, move on and try something new. Adhering rigidly to one outreach method wastes time and money that otherwise could go towards useful techniques.
We felt that by being out on the street we could point to the specific issues that we were hoping to address, which we could not do if we held the workshop at another location. For example, on the streets where people noted pedestrian congestion as a problem, we could clearly point to the large groups of people and narrow sidewalks Project team members speaking with a commuand highlight our nity member about the draft improvement plan proposed solution. In places with considerable commercial delivery activity, we could point to trucks crowded on the street or cars double parked and describe our plan to address the issue.
For more information on the CCMS and to keep updated as the pilot improvements are implemented, visit the project website: http://a841-tfpweb.nyc.gov/chinatown-curbsidemanagement
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