Expanded Transportation and Communities Summit lays groundwork for the future

The 2016 Transportation and Communities Summit featured three slots of breakout sessions on topics such as performance measures for livable communities.

The 2016 Transportation and Communities Summit set off on a different path from previous summits and brought new energy into discussion of the future of transportation. Around 285 people attended the summit, held Sept. 8-9 at Portland State University, an increase from last year. 

First-time attendees made up a sizable percentage of conference-goers. Of those responding to a post-summit survey, more than 40 percent had never attended a summit before.

Responding to feedback from previous attendees, TREC organizers added a day of workshops before the main summit day. The workshops allowed attendees to dive deeper into specific transportation topics and interact with moderators and other participants to address real-world problems.

The lively poster session also served its goal of fostering conversations between practitioners, academics and students. Attendees consistently rate networking as one of the most valuable aspects of the summit, and the poster session—with more than twice the posters of previous summits—helped make those interactions more productive.

Topical breakout sessions form the backbone of the summit, showcasing the best thinking around issues from researchers and practitioners. Previous summits offered two breakout slots with four sessions each, meaning a single attendee could only attend a quarter of the sessions offered. The 2016 summit, by contrast, offered three breakout slots with three sessions each, allowing attendees to catch a third of the sessions.

Those filling out post-conference surveys responded well: 76 percent ranked the breakout sessions as the most valuable part of the summit program.

Questions posed by TREC Director Jennifer Dill in her welcome remarks, and addressed throughout the day, focused attention on the future of transportation. That focus resonated with attendees. "It was great to have an event where we could all lift our eyes above the fray of daily work and think about the future direction of transportation," one wrote.

"It's important for us to see where we're going in order to prioritize our work today."

As part of TREC's commitment to support professional development in transportation fields, the wealth of summit materials will remain available on our website. That includes videos and slides from presentations along with poster files.

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