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Overview of TRB from John Larson-Friend

On January 9-13, 2022, the 101st Annual Transportation Research Board (TRB) meeting was held in Washington, D.C. I was able to attend the in-person event and had the honor of presenting both a poster and a lectern talk. I was also able to attend numerous sessions, including many related to micromobility, autonomous vehicles, and equity. It was equally exciting to meet transportation planners and engineers from all over the country and world, especially as we slowly emerge from this prolonged period of isolation and distancing, due to COVID.

Though this was my first time attending the conference, it was evident that the reduced attendance made for a quieter atmosphere compared to the TRB stories I had heard about past years. However, in that calmer setting, I felt that there was still a spirit of hope and excitement for the future of transportation, which was further buoyed by the current national transportation and infrastructure priorities, recent progress made in technologies, and the space cities creatively engaged with streets, during the pandemic.

From USDOT officials discussing President Biden’s infrastructure bill, to the future of autonomous vehicles, to how our streets might be redesigned to accommodate more modes of transportation, there was no denying that the manners in which people and goods are moved will be going through immense changes in the coming years and decades.

The convention was ebullient with the feeling of possibility, change, and progress toward a more inclusive, technologically advanced, and holistic transportation system. I am so glad that I was able to attend and contribute my own research to the mix, and that I flew home to the northwest COVID-free!


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