If you have never been, and if you are into transportation, it is almost a magical experience. Each day provides hundreds of different poster and lectern presentations to choose from, vendor exhibits to explore, followed by countless receptions put on by different schools and organizations. Besides the official events, there are numerous ‘semi-official’ events that allow you to spend your entire evening bouncing around D.C., getting to know new people and catching up with old friends. Then it all starts again the next morning.
With so many choices of different events to attend, in addition to also setting aside some time for sightseeing, people often leave the conference having experiencing more than they planned for, while still feeling as if they missed out on certain opportunities. No matter how hard you try, you cannot see it all.
Don’t take my word for it, instead read below to see what some of the PSU students had to say about their personal experiences - from presenting to sightseeing, and everything in between.
TRB for me was, as always, a stimulating and enriching experience. I listened to leading scholars in my areas of research, as well as encountering several completely new topics for me. I particularly enjoyed the politically-oriented sessions that discussed the development and implementation of MAP-21, the new federal surface transportation act. This included a sit-down discussion that many of the PSU students were able to have with Polly Trottenberg and senior staff at the U.S. DOT (facilitated by Dr. Robert Bertini).
|Alex Bigazzi Showcasing His Work|
I had a podium presentation Evolving the Institute for Transportation Engineers' Trip Generation Handbook that went well. In it, I presented research from Dr. Kelly Clifton, Kristina Currans, and myself where we propose modifications to the data collection methods for ITE trip generation to be more inclusive of all travel modes and urban context.
|L to R: Patrick Singleton, Dr. Kelly Clifton, Tomás Morrissey, Christopher Muhs, Chloe Ritter, and Kristina Currans|
Mark Person and I rode the National Mall using Capital Bikeshare at midnight on Wednesday night. It was a great time to see the monuments, as they were all lit up and there were no crowds. It was also interesting to see all the preparations going on for the inauguration. Below is a photo of the new MLK monument, with our bikes in the foreground.
For me, the most valuable experiences at TRB are attending subcommittee/committee meetings and poster presentation sessions. At subcommittee meetings, you learn about cutting-edge research, interact with knowledgeable leaders, and participate in advancing the work of your specific interest areas. For example, I met a number of people from around the world working on similar issues while at the inaugural meeting of the Pedestrian Modeling and Simulation Subcommittee. Poster sessions are also an excellent opportunity to learn about a wide range of transportation scholarship and have in-depth one-on-one conversations with researchers, while exploring at your own pace.
|Patrick Singleton Presenting His Work|
This is my fifth time attending TRB, and I have enjoyed it every time. Although presenting what I have done with my research, getting feedback from others, and learning what others have done are always the key role of attending TRB, I found that I paid more attention to networking with other professionals than sightseeing at Washington D.C. as I did the first few times.
A poster that I co-authored with Courtney Slavin this year, A Statistical Study of the Impacts of SCATS Adaptive Traffic Signal Control on Traffic and Transit Performance, has drawn a great deal of attention. People are interested in the impact of SCATS on transit performance.
|Courtney Slavin (Left) and Wei Feng|
This was my second year attending TRB, and I can tell it only gets better and better. This year I particularly enjoyed assisting STEP in arranging two different group visits for PSU students (+ friends) with important people/groups in town. We started the week of TRB off strong with a group visit to Earl Blumenauer’s office on Capitol Hill, and ended TRB on a high note by visiting the offices of the USDOT to talk politics and transportation with many like-minded wonderful people.
Between these group visits that were not officially part of TRB, I thoroughly enjoyed the poster and lectern sessions that I attended, especially the Innovations in City Transportation session that featured Gabe Klein from Chicago and Janette Sadik-Khan from New York City. In my opinion, these are two of the greatest current leaders in our nation in regards to making our roadways safe and comfortable for a variety of users, not just people driving cars.
|Kirk Paulsen (Right) (Photo Credit: OTREC)|
Sara Morrissey and Sarah Bronstein
Two PSU alums, Sarah Bronstein (MURP ’12) and Sara Morrissey (MURP ’12), were able to attend this year’s TRB Annual Meeting to give a lectern presentation titled The Adoption of Complete Streets Policies in Disadvantaged Communities: Lessons from US Case Studies. The presentation was based on research conducted with Dr. Kelly Clifton for Active Living Research, a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Although Morrissey has presented posters before at TRB, this was both her and Bronstein’s first podium session at a conference of this size. The podium session was well received as the presentation included references to Portlandia, as well as color coordinated slides with photographs. Morrissey and Clifton also co-authored a new study with Chris Muhs, Kristina Currans, Tomás Morrissey, Chloe Ritter (MURP ’12) and Colin Roughton (MURP ’12) titled Consumer Behavior and Travel Choices: A Focus on Cyclists and Pedestrians, which was presented at a poster session.
|Sara Morrissey (Left) and Sarah Bronstein|
[Remember, if you would like to hear more about these and other PSU students' TRB experiences in person and/or to learn more about the research that they presented on at TRB, please consider attending the 'TRB Aftershock' event hosted by STEP this evening (January 29th) at Lucky Lab (1945 NW Quimby Street) from 5-7pm. Anyone in the community is welcome to attend, details of the event can be found on the Facebook Event Page]