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Recap: Traffic21 10-Year Anniversary Symposium

On November 7 – 8, 2019, the Traffic21 Institute celebrated its Ten Year Anniversary with a two-day Symposium at Carnegie Mellon University.  The symposium brought together expert panelists, keynote speakers and participants from industry, academia and government to discuss emerging transportation technology and deployment.

Day One:  Kick Off Lunch

The symposium kicked off with a lunch that featured remarks from PA Congressman Mike Doyle, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, City of Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Carnegie Mellon University President, Farnam Jahanianand keynote speaker US Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao.

During her keynote remarks, Secretary Chao thanked Traffic21 for the innovative work done and continuing to be done through the institute and its three University Transportation Centers.  She also highlighted the role of Traffic21 in a recently awarded USDOT $8.4 million grant to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Carnegie Mellon to continue research into transportation technologies.


Also during the lunch Rick Stafford, the founder of Traffic21, discussed the history of institute with David Roger, the president of Hillman Family Foundation, and Al Biehler, Former PennDOT Secretary of Transportation.  They  talked about how Traffic21 is at the forefront of determining the direction of technology policy and continues to be a leader on issues of urban design, the future of autonomous vehicles and how to use intelligent transportation systems to increase equity.

Smart Transportation Plenary

The afternoon Plenary Sessions kicked off with thought leaders speaking on “Innovations in Smart Transportation.”  The session was moderated by Rebecca Brewster, President and CEO, American Transportation Research Institute and included:

    • Justine Kaznica, Chair of Emerging Technologies Practice for Babst Calland
    • Paul Skoutelas, President and CEO, American Public Transportation Association
    • Robin Chase, Co-Founder of Zipcar, Veniam and NUMo

The panelists described a wide range of topics in transportation including drones, autonomous vehicles, and the future of multi-modal transportation and opportunities for technology for impacting public transportation.

– Review Presentations from “Innovations in Smart Transportation”

Smart Cities Plenary

The second plenary session entitled “The Evolution of Smart Communities” focused on civic tech and innovation, the interplay between technology, people and policy, partnerships and future outlook. Karen Lightman, Executive Director, Metro21: Smart Cities Institute, moderated the panel and was joined by:

    • John Brzozowski, CTO & Video President, MachineQ
    • Kimberly Lucas, Civic Research Director, City of Boston
    • Oliver Steining, VP of Business Development & Corporate Strategy, Robert Bosch
    • Harriet Tregoning, Director, NUMo

The panel described how Smart Cities 1.0 focused on a “connected infrastructure” vision, upgrading infrastructure and using sensing technology and data analytics to manage urban assets but as the notion evolved into Smart Cities 2.0, we are now focused on community, using wisdom from residents and bringing together people from all sectors to build a connected ecosystem that works for people.

– Review Presentations from “The Evolution of Smart Communities”


Day Two:  Ten Year Anniversary Symposium

Day 2 kicked off with Raj Rajkumar, Director of Mobility21 University Transportation Center highlighting the importance of the Traffic21 deployment partner consortium that started in 2013 and that the number of consortium members has grown to over 100. This annual symposium event is an opportunity for those partners to come with real-world problems to see the cutting-edge research that faculty and their teams are working on at Carnegie Mellon University.  Then together researchers and partners come up with new research development projects that can collaborate on and then deploy solutions to real world problems.

Deploying Transportation Technology Plenary

The second day’s plenary session brought together a dynamic panel to discuss “Deploying Transportation Technology.” Moderated by Katharine Kelleman, President, Port Authority of Allegheny County, panelists included:

    • Ashley Hand, Co-founder, CityFI
    • Martin O’Malley, Senior Fellow and Advisory Council Chair, MetroLab Network
    • Cem Saraydar, Director of the Electrical Control Systems Research Lab, General Motors
    • Ben Schmidt, CEO, RoadBotics

The panel described the current pressure cities are on to adapt, but struggling to keep up with how to respond and regulate new tech and the need to prepare now for human-centered cities for all people. Through better governing, technology and transparency, cities can deploy transportation technology to innovate mobility for all.

– Review Presentations from “Deploying Transportation Technology Plenary”


Research Showcase

The second day of the symposium wrapped up with 14 Carnegie Mellon University researchers and students showcasing their cutting-edge technology and success stories that started as projects in Traffic21 and developed into companies in Pittsburgh – bringing hundreds of jobs to the city and helping to grow the local economy.  The showcase provided CMU faculty the opportunity to connect with individuals from the community, industry and government to continue building connections and partnerships.


The Next Ten Years

At this Ten Year Anniversary, Traffic21 announced it is embracing a formidable new challenge: Innovating Mobility for All.

Traffic21 will leverage its strengths in technology, policy and partnerships to ensure that we lead in Innovating Mobility for All. Mobility technologies must be deployed safely and cost effectively, respect individual privacy and improve equity, especially for people with disabilities, senior citizens, rural communities, and people of all economic and social means. Through the support of faculty, students, staff and our public and private partners, Traffic21 is prepared to succeed in this new challenge.

We invite you to join us for the ride.  

Ten Year Timeline Video

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