I was part of the decidedly smaller group of people who participated in the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting in Washington, DC earlier this month. While only about one-third of a typical year’s 15,000 attendees were present, it was nonetheless a worthwhile and educational experience.
Tuesday morning at the TRB Annual Meeting, I attended a session entitled "Adoption of Emerging Mobility Services and Other Disruptive Technologies: An International Perspective". The presentations included discussion on technologies in use in cities in Latin America and Africa to organize the informal transportation options to reduce inefficiencies and some of the regulatory challenges.
At the TRB Annual Meeting, three of the four presentations in the Wednesday morning session entitled “Transportation Equity Analysis” discussed the challenges of reaching socioeconomically disadvantaged populations in light of recent suburbanization of poverty.
Tuesday afternoon here at the TRB Annual Meeting, I found myself in the subcommittee meeting on Health and Transportation. As much of my work prior to joining EBP was in the field of Health Economics, I am eager to become familiar with research at the intersection of health and transportation.
On Monday, January 13th at the TRB Annual Meeting, I attended a session entitled "Greener in More Ways: Economically Sustainable Funding and Financing Opportunities." In truth, this session seemed to have two main topics: funding for sustainability and sustainable funding. Through five very different presentations, this session highlighted some of the tensions faced by transportation professionals as they balance both financial and environmental goals.
This morning I attended a session entitled "What's It Worth to You? Incorporating Tranportation Asset Value." The session addressed the methods for determining, monitoring, and updating the value of transportation assets to support ongoing reporting and investment planning. It's a topic I find inherently interesting because I think we don't spend enough time asking ourselves to describe the value of our complex and extensive transportation systems--whether from the perspective of the replacement value for existing physical infrastructure, or from the viewpoint of the role such infrastructure supports the basic functioning of society and the economy.
This year at the Transportation and Economic Development Committee at TRB, I had the benefit of hearing a presentation by Binjam Reja of the World Bank about the One Belt One Road Initiative. For those, like me, who haven't been plugged into the intersection of international development, geopolitics, and transportation -- the "B&R" is a massive infrastructure iniative launched by China with the intent of strengthening both land and maritime connection between China and other major Eurasian economies. The corridor-based multimodal framework for investment in infrastructure is intended to improve connectivity among 65 countries, 4.4 billion people and about 40 percent of global GDP. There is substantial funding behind this still emerging effort: