2015 TRB Annual Meeting | January 11-15, 2015

TRB’s 2015 Annual Meeting is rapidly approaching and we are looking forward to seeing you all there!  If you are planning to attend and you are a member or friend of ABE30, please fill out our quick survey so that we can get a quick sense of where / when we can expect to see you.  

Take a look at the full slate, including descriptions of workshop, poster, paper, and podium sessions that ABE30 is sponsoring and co-sponsoring this year by clicking here, a summarized table of sessions is as follows (and can be found in an easy-to-print version here):

Day / Time Title / Description Location
Sunday 9:00AM- 12:00PM Workshop 105 | The Art of Urban Street Performance Metrics

Jamie Parks, City of Oakland, presiding

Convention Center, 152B
Sunday 1:30PM- 4:30PM Workshop 161 | Funding and Financing Vital Corridors: A Workshop on the What, Why, How, and Who of Value Capture Methods

Sharada R. Vadali, Texas A&M Transportation Institute, Sasha Page, IMG/Rebel, Ema Yamamoto, City of Philadelphia, presiding

Convention Center, 140B
Monday 8:00AM- 9:45AM Session 228 | Goods Movement in Vibrant Urban Communities

Frederick C. Dock, City of Pasadena, presiding

Convention Center, 147A
Monday 10:15AM- 12:00PM Session 257 | City Transportation Officials: First Year on the Job

Rina Cutler, City of Philadelphia, presiding

Convention Center, 151B
Monday 2:00PM- 3:45PM Session 371 | Not Your Mother’s Parking Meter: Parking in the 21st Century

Gretchen A. M. Johnson, Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates, presiding

Convention Center, Hall E
Monday 5:45PM- 7:15PM Transportation Issues in Major U.S. Cities Committee Meeting

Rina Cutler, City of Philadelphia, presiding

Marriott Marquis, Liberty M (M4)
Tuesday 8:30AM- 10:15AM Session 527 | Understanding the Gender Gap in Urban Biking, Part 1 (Part 2, 735)

Ema Yamamoto, City of Philadelphia, presiding

Convention Center, Hall E
Tuesday 8:30AM- 10:15AM Session 528 | Transportation Issues and Solutions in Major Cities

Jennifer Buison, Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation, presiding

Convention Center, Hall E
Tuesday 10:15AM- 12:00PM Session 548

Livable Arterials: Urban Elixir or Oxymoron?

Madeline Brozen, University of California, Los Angeles, presiding

Convention Center, 151B
Tuesday 4:15PM- 6:00PM Session 729

Advanced Research and Practices in Urban Freight Transportation

Qian Wang, State University of New York, Buffalo, presiding

Convention Center, Hall E
Tuesday 4:15PM- 6:00PM Session 730 | Urban Freight Parking Research: To Curb or Not To Curb

Jesse Koehler, TransLink

Convention Center, Hall E
Tuesday 7:30PM- 9:30PM Session 735 | Understanding the Gender Gap in Urban Biking, Part 2 (Part 1, Session 527)

Fionnuala Quinn, Alta Planning + Design, presiding

Convention Center, 151B
Thursday 8:00AM- 12:00PM Workshop 867 | The Urgent Need for Improved Pedestrian Infrastructure and Options: Issues, Solutions, and Gaps

Ilona Kastenhofer, Virginia Center for Transportation Innovation and Research, presiding

Convention Center, 101
We especially hope that we will see you at the ABE30 Committee Meeting!  The agenda is jam-packed with presentation and updates, check it out:
Monday, January 12, 5:45pm – 7:15
Marriott Marquis, Liberty M (M4)
1. Welcome & Introductions | Rina Cutler, ABE30 Committe Chair
2. NACTO Update | Linda Bailey, NACTO
3. TRB Update | Monica Starnes, TRB
4. Special Remarks | Kathryn A. Wolfe, Politico
5. Sub-Committee Reports |
a. Strategic Plan
b. Paper Review
c. Research
d. Annual Meeting Organizers
e. Communications
6. Research Presentations |
a. How Big Travel Can Help Big Cities – Steve Buckley, City of Toronto
b. Small Travel Data Collection for Big Cities – Stephanie Dock, DDOT
c. How LOS Contravenes Smart Growth, and California’s Transition to VMT – Chris Ganson, California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research
7. Open Floor for Announcements | All
In addition, to all of the sessions and our committee meeting, there are a few receptions as well that we would like to highlight —

Sunday, January 11, 2:30pm – 4:00pm
Convention Center
Whether you’re a first-time attendee, or are a long-time veteran of the TRB Annual Meeting, you are invited to come and learn how to make the most of your time at the meeting. Offered are a brief overview of TRB, tips on navigating the Meeting and on networking during the meeting, the role TRB can play in career development, and how to become involved in TRB activities and committees. Refreshments are provided, and it is an opportunity for attendees to meet each other and TRB leaders from similar areas of interest.
Sunday, January 11, 5:30pm – 7:00pm
The Independence Ballroom, Marriott Marquis
WTS, in conjunction with the TRB’s Committee on Women’s Issues in Transportation, is hosting its annual winter reception during the Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting. WTS Members: Complimentary Admission, Non-Members: $30
Sunday, January 11, 9:00pm – 10:30pm
Convention Center
Co-hosted by the TRB Young Members Council (YMC) and Young Professionals in Transportation (YPT), this networking reception is open to all young professionals and supporters to discuss career development and to meet peers from around the country. Light refreshments will be served.
Monday, January 12, 6:00pm – 7:15pm
Convention Center
The Deen Distinguished Lectureship award recognizes the career contributions and achievements of an individual in areas covered by the Transportation Research Board’s Technical Activities Division. Honorees present overviews of their technical areas, covering the evolution, status, and prospects for the future.

We are looking forward to seeing you all at TRB, in the mean time, please have a safe and happy holiday season!

First Time Peer Review Jitters? Advice From One Reviewer to Another.

Dear Colleagues,

You’ve made it to the big leagues – the (figurative) stack of papers sit in front of you, ready to be ‘peer-reviewed.’  You’ve done it, right?  You’re a peer?

Peer reviewing papers is one of the most important processes in the academic world.  These peers are the gatekeepers to what everyone else will consider adequate for citation.  Before any Wikipedian or college student can refer to the piece in front of you, it has to be approved… by you!

The power that is in your hand is not to be wielded lightly… the world’s collective knowledge depends on your judgment.  Accept?  Reject? Encourage to resubmit?  The fate of the piece in front of you is in your hands.

Perhaps the hyperbole above is a bit too dramatic.  Let’s put this in context.

You, with adequate funding and permission from your boss and/or parents, will be at the Transportation Research Board’s Annual Meeting.  And therefore, you’re my peer.  Always remember that even the ‘experts’ are your peers as well.

Remember that, as peers of this esteemed institution, you are qualified as the ‘peer’ in peer-reviewed.  And your opinions are important.

During my first peer review session with ASCE, I questioned myself.  Am I really qualified to judge these papers? (Yes.)  Can I really provide comment even if I’m not the expert of that material? (Yes.)  What do I tell them in the comments? (The Truth.)

First off, you’ll most likely be qualified to read something if you’ve self-selected yourself on to committees are within your realm of study.  Sometimes we get caught up in our own world, forgetting that the population at large is not the transportation folks that we interact with on a daily basis.  If you only hang out with transportation people with knowledge that sits two standard deviations and higher, like coworkers, researchers, professors, and the train nut in me, then your world is a bit… skewed from normal.

But still, check out that first paper in your stack and ask yourself, is this something that you understand?  Remember that the expert on that paper will be the author, so perfect understanding will only be as good as the words on the (metaphorical) paper.  After your initial scan, perhaps the abstract is starting to make some sense.  You’re probably qualified.

Though, if you’re into policy and cities, and you get something examining the effects of precipitation draining on rural asphalt roads, then maybe reconsider.

Given that you’ve self-qualified yourself to review this paper, perhaps you may think that you cannot provide comment, even though you’re a peer-expert.  Remember that a good paper is constructed well – composition is important.  The author is responsible for clearly communicating their contribution to the web of knowledge, and you’re not responsible for guessing what the author means.  If the author isn’t clear, then you should note that in your comments.

Does the work match the thesis they provide?  (Is there a thesis?)  Do they adequately cite other pieces, and contribute something new?  Is it relevant to the committee?  Then those are good signs that it is a good paper.

Check out Andy’s guide on TRB reviews, check out what TRB has to say about its own reviews.  Be honest, kind, and constructive in your comments.


Raymond Chan

In the Transportation / Land Use Debate, Both Sides Are Right

I like driving fast—a lot—and have come to expect that.  But, on the other hand, as a resident of a rapidly growing city, I also want fun and interesting destinations: places where I can walk around, enjoy the evening air, share a drink with friends, or [insert your favorite activity here].  There has been plenty of research over the years showing that people want both mobility AND accessibility.

I’ll apologize right now for what I just said.  In many circles, I just uttered a very dirty word (or at least idea), depending upon what your transportation view is.

Much like our nation’s partisan politics, there are two transportation views growing further and further apart from one another: that of providing meaningful mobility within a region and that of providing access within a region.  Again, drawing from our nation’s current political climate, both groups want (roughly) to achieve the same goals, but because of their views of the problem, each solution is different.  But that doesn’t mean that either is necessarily right or wrong.

What frustrates me as a transportation planner and researcher is that we feel we are forced to choose sides.  Radicals on either side of the aisle attempt to convince us that completely ignoring one mode of transportation over another will solve all of our urban transportation problems.  Isn’t this myopic view what gave us our current problems in the first place?

Reality is never as cut and dried as we try to make it appear.  Accessibility in our cities’ transportation networks—from a holistic view—has legitimately been ignored for far too long, which has caused some serious problems.  Thankfully, it appears the tide is turning; cities are beginning to see the many benefits of approaching their transportation networks as multi-modal.

We must be careful, though, not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  Whether we like it or not, cars are here to stay, and they have greatly improved the quality of our lives.  As long as this nation remains free, some people will choose to live in the suburbs and commute long distances.  This means that cities will continue to deal with traffic congestion, and there will be times when expanding a freeway will legitimately be the best option.

But for many reasons (too many for a Sunday afternoon), we as transportation planners, engineers, policy makers, and the public must do a better job of balancing the reality of today with the vision of tomorrow.  Yes, we have a serious transportation and land use problem.  But I reject the claim by either side that it has the absolute right solution (and for the record, I don’t either).

But I do think that between the two groups, we have the solution.  Imagine two fiercely independent and stubborn brothers building a puzzle.  They each hoard a collection of the pieces and see the same picture, but on their own, neither can finish the puzzle.  Only when both concede that the other has something valuable to contribute will the puzzle ever be completed.

So in a sign of solidarity, in the coming months I will be showing you my puzzle pieces: a wealth of research and experience on different ways to address both mobility and accessibility without unnecessarily widening a freeway, what it looks like to involve the public in these decisions, and creative ideas to pay for them.

But I would also like to hear your story: from what perspective do you see the problem, and what are some of the puzzle pieces you bring to the table?  What ideas, both practical and out of this world, have you thought about while sitting in traffic trying to get home to your family?