I’m currently in Washington, DC for the 91st Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board. Needless to say, there’s a lot happening this week worth reflecting on, but I thought I’d try to write up some quick daily summaries of my experiences here and expound on them in more detail when I return to Portland.
This year, I’m honored to be participating as an Eisenhower Fellow, and the first of the Eisenhower research showcases took place Sunday morning to highlight some of the cutting-edge doctoral research that my fellow Fellows are performing. I was extremely impressed with the both the quality of the research itself and also the presentation skills of the folks conducting it, and frankly it intimidates me a bit in anticipation of my own presentation at Tuesday’s showcase. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as I think it will inspire me to practice away the parts where I’ve wrestled with words when giving this presentation previously.
In the early afternoon, I attended a fascinating workshop that featured city officials from five different cities across the country presenting brief synopses of innovative bicycle treatments and facilities that have been recently put into service. That was a very encouraging session; a lot of cities that previously were difficult to bike in are becoming very bikable now, and I hope I get to ride in them someday. A big takeaway was that performance metrics are hard to come by, but it seems to be the case that better facilities encourage more cycling. While we might have expected this, it’s still good to know that good work from transportation engineers helps bring about the desired result.
I finished off Sunday by touring the exhibit hall and attending Kittelson and Associates’ reception. Kittelson has a big presence in Portland so it was a must-see event for us Portland Staters, and the exhibits are a must-see for everybody. PTV, a Portland-based company that manufactures simulation software called VISSIM, had my favorite exhibit with a gnarly three dimensional model of Portland’s transit mall. My old friends at the University of Iowa were a close second, bringing a fully functional driving simulator into the hall. The Kittelson reception, as all receptions, was extremely valuable for meeting people, having short conversations learning about the work that folks are doing, and the like.
Onward to Day 2, where my participation in the meeting begins with a Poster Session Monday morning…