November updates!

1. Next Webinar Dec. 10th: Future Directions for Multimodal Research and Practice
Join us for the next webinar in our series – Multimodality in Major Cities: Urban Success Stories. This webinar will focus on the most recent technological developments that facilitate multimodal transportation. The webinar will provide knowledge on current research advancements in urban multimodal transportation, and the challenges of overcoming the gap between research and practice.

Date: Wednesday, December 9, from 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm (Eastern Time)
Register in advance:


  • Kristine Williams, Center for Urban Transportation Research at University of South Florida
  • Darby Watson, Seattle Department of Transportation
  • John Gordon, Metro
  • Tiffany Chu, Remix

Note that this webinar is sponsored by TRB, so there is a fee for non-TRB Sponsor or non-TRB Sustaining Affiliate employees. You must register in advance.

2. Committee Conference Call, Dec. 14th
Monday, December 14, 3-4pm ET
Join us for an update on committee activities and preparations for the Annual Meeting. Agenda and call-in number will be posted soon.

3. Annual Meeting Sessions Posted to Website
The Interactive Program is now available! We have posted the list of sessions our committee is sponsoring or co-sponsoring to the website – see the link at in the top bar! We hope you will be joining us for many of our sessions. And a head’s up that the committee meeting will be on Wednesday, January 13 at 2:30pm.

Webinar Sept. 16th!

Join the TRB Transportation Issues in Major Cities Committee for a webinar on

Multimodality in Major Cities: Urban Success Stories

Wednesday, September 16, from 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm (Eastern Time)
Register here:


  • Chris Pangilinan, New York City Transit
  • Rob Viola, New York Department of Transportation
  • Colin Quinn-Hurst, City of Salt Lake
  • Katherine Gregor, City of Austin
This webinar will provide information about urban multimodal projects and the successes and challenges these projects faced with implementation. This speakers will discuss lessons learned from these urban multimodal projects and practices of multimodal implementation. This webinar is part of the committee’s 2015 Webinar Series: Multimodality in Urban Context.

Note that this webinar is sponsored by TRB, so there is a fee for non-TRB Sponsor or non-TRB Sustaining Affiliate employees. You must register in advance

Webinar June 26th!

Join the TRB Transportation Issues in Major Cities Committee and the National Association of City Transportation Officials for a free webinar on

Measuring Multimodal Transportation

Data Driven, Multimodal Approach for Urban Streets Performance Measurement


Friday, June 26, from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm (Eastern Time)
Register here:

Speakers: Jamie Parks (City of Oakland), Eric Hanss (City of Chicago), Shaunna Burbidge (Active Planning)

This is the second webinar in the series of webinars on multimodal transportation planned for this year, cosponsored by the TRB Committee on Transportation Issues in Major Cities (ABE30) and the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO). As the first webinar, held in April, provided the introduction to multimodal trends in major cities, the second webinar is focused on performance measurement practices. Webinar speakers will bring insights on operations, safety and public health outcomes of multimodal transportation solutions. The goal of the webinar is to inform practitioners about the existing tools and research in development, which they may use as multimodal transportation performance indicators.

This webinar is part of the 2015 Webinar Series: Multimodality in Urban Context.

2 upcoming committee events

Multimodal Trends in Transportation Webinar
Tuesday, April 7, 12 noon – 1pm ET

This is the first in a webinar series the committee is doing in order to create a space for experts from industry, government, and academia can disucss potential advancements in multimodal transportation. The first webinar will focus on major issues in urban multimodal transportation, including the definition of multimodal transportation, performance metrics suitable to measure the success of multimodal projects, successful urban projects and implementation challenges, most recent research in technology and urban freight, and the potential for bridging the gap towards practical application. See the attached flyer and please share widely!

Speakers: Sylvain Haon (UITP), Jamie Parks (City of Oakland), Paul Supawanich (Nelson\Nygaard), Allison Conway & Candace Brakewood (City University of New York)

Register here:

Committee Meeting
Thursday, April 16, 3-4pm ET

Join us for an update on committee activities and an extended discussion of our planned calls for papers and workshop proposals. We will be sending around proposed ideas in advance of the call. The agenda is posted in Committee Documents.

The Cheat Sheet for Reviewing TRB Papers

As August rolls in, the Transportation Research Board’s paper review season begins. Over the next few months TRB staff and committees will pull into high gear to review over three thousand papers to determine suitability for presentation and publishing. For many of us involved with TRB, paper reviews can seem like a time-consuming chore, however reviews are central to TRB’s mission. Here’s some tips to guide you as a paper reviewer:

The 8 Cardinal Rule of Paper Review

Reviewing TRB manuscripts begins with eight simple rules. These rules help ensure that the review process upholds TRB’s ethical and research standards:

  1.  Determine whether you are qualified to review a paper. Only review a paper if you know enough on a particular topic to successfully review the paper. Don’t be intimidated by the title; give the paper a quick scan to determine if it’s within your area of expertise.
  2.  Objectively review a paper for merit and don’t make the review personal. The paper reviewer should be focused on reviewing a paper for originality, accuracy, and interest to TRB and its committees. Reviews should keep their comments professional and constructive.
  3. Avoid conflicts of interest. Notify your paper review coordinator if there is any conflict of interest in reviewing a particular paper. As TRB uses a single-blind review process, authors are not anonymous. If you feel that you would have any personal bias, recuse yourself from the review process.
  4.  Keep paper manuscripts confidential. Manuscripts are confidential documents and as such you should avoid discussing the manuscripts or its findings with others.
  5.   Support your judgment. Review managers and the paper authors should be able to understand your basis for criticism.
  6. Call out similarities between this document and other published or unpublished work. TRB strives to publish and present original research. Note any instances where the manuscript has been published elsewhere or submitted to a concurrent journal
  7.  Don’t use or disclose any unpublished information without the consent of the author(s).  Receive permission from the author(s) and properly attribute the paper if you intend to disclose any information, findings, or interpretations from the manuscript.
  8.  Call out any instances of plagiarism. Notify the review manager if you have evidence of plagiarism or falsification of results.

The Paper Review Process:

The paper review process gets going on August 1st, the due date all TRB manuscripts. Committee paper review coordinators take these papers and assign them to at least three reviewers. Once comments are returned, the committee leadership, paper review coordination and TRB staff work together to determine which papers should be accepted for presentation and publication. As the paper reviewer, you will be asked to make separate publication and presentation recommendations.

How to Recognize a Good Paper

One of the great things about TRB is the sheer diversity of research submitted every year, ranging from public policy synthesis to scientific research and analysis. Because papers are so different, there is no one universally accepted benchmark for determining whether a manuscript meets TRB standards. TRB recommends that reviewers focus on four areas:

·         Composition: Is the paper well written and easy to follow?

·         Accuracy: Are the conclusions of the paper valid, is the methodology sound, and are the findings of the paper well defended?

·         Originality: Is the paper adding something to our field’s body of research or state of practice?

·         Interest to the TRB Community: Is the paper relevant to the committee’s mission and TRB’s mission overall?

Other Things to Note

At our July meeting, a few additional pointers for reviewers were discussed. First, don’t wait until the last minute to review papers! While the sun and sand might beckon, waiting until after Labor Day to review your paper will surely stress our hard-working paper review coordinators. For those more senior paper reviewers, if you distribute a paper to your staff to read and then consolidate the review comments, please make note of who made what comments so you can go back with questions/clarifications. When reviewing papers, don’t wordsmith the paper; focus instead on the four factors discussed above: composition, accuracy, originality, and relevance to the TRB community.

Finally, enjoy the paper review process! Being a reviewer allows you to learn about cutting edge research in our field; I have been consistently impressed by the quality and insight of the research submitted to TRB.

Want to Know More?

TRB has a number of great resources for us paper reviewers. TRB’s more detailed reviewer instructions can be found here:

TRB also has a number of tutorials on reviewing papers, including two webinars on August 4th and August 21st. For more information visit:

Committee Call Follow-Up

Following up on our committee call on July 8th, there are several action items. For the details of the call, see the minutes, posted in the committee documents.

1. Paper review survey! It is paper review season and our paper review coordinators, Eric Sundquist and Christine Yager, need to know who wants to review. We would appreciate everyone (even if you reviewed in past years) taking the 5 minutes or less to complete the following survey related to paper reviewing this year. Please respond no later than July 18th. For those that sign up to review papers this year, you will be hearing from Eric and Christine in the coming weeks.Survey here.

2. TRB papers are due August 1 if you are submitting for the Annual Meeting. The submission site is here. We hope to see lots of papers that respond to our paper calls, hint, hint.

3. TRB has asked us to invite a non-traditional stakeholder to speak at our committee or a session. A non-traditional stakeholder is someone who does work of interest to our committee but who represents an employer type, discipline, or sector important to our committee, but not historically involved in TRB activities or TRB meetings on a regular basis (TRB broadly, not just our committee). Send Ema Yamamoto ideas of non-traditional stakeholders by August 15.

4. TRB is having several tutorials for the Annual Meeting between now and December on topics including paper review and surviving the Annual Meeting. These webinars provide background information, practical advice, a walk through the TRB software, and plenty of time for questions. The schedule is posted on the website and recorded webinars may also be found on this site.

ABE30 Calls for Papers

Our committee has posted four Calls for Papers. The calls and paper submission instructions can be found on the TRB website at the links below and on our website ( Paper submission is open from June 1 to August 1. Papers submitted in response to these calls will be reviewed by our members and friends and used to shape the sessions we sponsor at the upcoming 2015 Annual Meeting.

Applications of “Big Data” in Addressing Urban Transportation Issues
Never before have transportation agencies had access to the amount of data available today and at low cost. Each day, terabytes of data are automatically collected on numerous transportation systems including freeways, arterial streets, and transit vehicles. Additionally, manual data collection can shed light on freight movement, safety, and other critical areas. We are soliciting papers that highlight innovative ways cities are using their data including, but not restricted to, the following subject areas:

  • Improving the planning process for new infrastructure or new transit routes
  • Setting goals and measuring progress in strategic planning
  • Using real-time data in traffic and transit operations
  • Improving safety, especially of non-motorized modes
  • Public communication and transparency

Goods Movement in Active Urban Communities co-sponsored with ANF10-Pedestrians, ANF20-Bicycle Transportation, and AT025-Urban Freight Transportation
Previously, in many cities, wide motor-vehicle focused roadway designs and sprawling development patterns separated residential and freight activities and truck and non-motorized movements. However, emerging infill and mixed-use developments and multimodal urban streets now generate ever-increasing interactions between non-motorized travelers and commercial vehicles. The modes must compete for access to limited urban road and curb space, leading to delays, accidents, and expensive parking and moving violations.

While disparate vehicle sizes make commercial vehicles and non-motorized modes very incompatible from a safety perspective, these modes are also codependent; travelers without a personal vehicle must rely on access to goods from local businesses or via direct-to-home deliveries. New approaches to safely accommodate last-mile goods movements on densely developed, multi-use urban streets are essential to support the quality of life and economic vitality of these communities.

We are seeking papers that investigate this issue, focusing in areas including but not limited to:

  • Characterizing residential and commercial freight demands in mixed-use areas;
  • Identifying freight industry accessibility challenges in livable communities;
  • Examining policy and curb regulation approaches to accommodate multimodal activities;
  • Examining policy and city logistics approaches to reduce freight externalities for non-motorized travelers;
  • Examining the compatibility of innovative non-motorized urban street infrastructure for commercial vehicle movements.

Livable Arterials: An Oxymoron or Urban Elixir? co-sponsored with ANB20-Safety Data, Analysis and Evaluation, ANF10-Pedestrians, and ANF20-Bicycle Transportation
The AASHTO functional classification system specifies that arterials should provide for high mobility and low access. Arterials in urban contexts often fail to fit nicely into this categorization because they provide for both high mobility and high access. This paper call is looking for research that seeks to better understand this mismatch – and the positive and negative implications of violating the standard functional classification system – with respect to issues such as road safety, multimodal transportation, urban vitality, economic development, and livability. Papers demonstrating the use of evolving and new data sources for safety and mobility to empirically demonstrate these tradeoffs are encouraged.

Understanding the Gender Gap in Urban Bicycling co-sponsored with ABE70-Women’s Issues in Transportation and ANF20-Bicycle Transportation
Many cities in the United States have seen an exponential growth in bicycling over the last decade. That being said, most of the growth has occurred among men as the share of bicycle trips taken by women in the US fell from 33% to 24%, and bike mode share by women remained at 0.5%. For men, bike mode share rose from 1.2% to 1.6%. As cities and urban areas across the U.S. begin to focus their efforts on increasing bicycle mode share, it is important that they address the gender gap in bicycling, enabling the bicycle mode share growth to be present and accessible to a diverse population.

We are seeking papers that investigate this issue, focusing on areas including, but not limited to:

  • Identifying the underlying issues that contribute to the current gender gap in urban biking;
  • Examining programs and factors which can reduce the current gender gap in urban biking;
  • Review of international and domestic municipal policies and programs put in place to reduce the gender gap and whether they have proven successful;
  • Using and exploring available bicycling data to create a more nuanced picture with regards to gender and urban biking;
  • Exploring sources of bias in bicycle data collection and surveys.

Please share these calls with anyone who might be interested. Submitting a paper in response to a call is a great way to get involved in the committee and contribute to advancing the state of the practice in our field.

New Major Cities Blog!

We’re launching a new blog for the Major Cities Committee! We know a lot is going on in the world of urban transportation research and we want to make sure our members and friends can see and share what is of interest to this committee. The blog will also serve as the basis for a monthly newsletter – we’ll send a monthly email out with a summary of recent posts and other committee announcements. Keep an eye on the website and add the blog to your RSS feed!

The blog is run by the Communications Subcommittee. If you want to join the subcommittee or just point our bloggers to something interesting, contact Stephanie Dock.

What do you want to see this coming year?

Talk about a great time at the 2014 TRB Annual Meeting!!  We all hope you had a great time.  While the 2014 Annual Meeting is behind us, we are now in the process of planning for ABE30’s coming year.  As such, please take a second to fill out this survey by COB 2/14/2014 — it will help us to get to know you better, as well as guide our committee for this coming year.  Thanks