As the country prepared for another month of sheltering in place to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. transportation industry leaders gathered as a virtual crowd on Wednesday, April 1 for the fifth annual CommuteCon, featuring keynote speaker Professor Susan Shaheen of UC Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center. The event was hosted by RideAmigos, aSanta Monica-based commuter mobility technology company.
Especially in these times, transportation is one of many sectors facing uncertainty about the future. Always an online gathering, this year the CommuteCon conference came at a time when more people than ever are using technology to connect virtually, and online learning opportunities have taken on a new level of importance.
The theme for CommuteCon 2020 was “The Science of Smart Commuting.” Several of the presentations focused on applications of behavioral science to influence and optimize commuter mobility. Leading academics, planners and designers discussed science in practice from Chicago to Durham to Tulsa.
Others highlighted emerging research and technology. In the first keynote of the day, Shaheen discussed the role technology is having on shaping consumer behavior and expectations - including potential long-term impacts of COVID-19 on commute patterns.
The conference also brought forward other topics of concern to the industry. Tamika Butler, Esq. of Toole Design encouraged the audience to examine the question of equity in transportation. Andrew Duvall, Ph.D. of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory looked further at the equity issue in a specifically rural context.
Other speakers shared results of innovative projects such as the Los Angeles Metro micromobilty pilot, LinkedIn’s ambitious commitment to sustainable commuter mobility, Waze’s public partnerships, and a sweeping report on the state of the American commute based on survey data from across the United States from San Francisco-based carpool company, Scoop.
Closing the conference was Timothy Papandreou, an industry influencer whose resume includes roles like Chief Innovation Officer at San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency and strategic partnerships for autonomous vehicle leader GoogleX/Waymo. Papandreou provided his unique insights from private, public and community experience to highlight the trends and the policy and technology focus areas that will ensure safer, more equitable, and sustainable outcomes.
“Events that bring together industry thought leaders are important opportunities to learn, and share stories, successes and challenges,” said Jeffrey Chernick, co-founder of RideAmigos. “We conceived CommuteCon five years ago to make this kind of learning accessible to everyone in our field, whether or not they have a travel budget. This year, in the face of physical distancing and uncertainty across the industry, the virtual gathering is everyone’s way of staying connected to our shared purpose.”
First launched in 2015, CommuteCon has grown into one of the most important transportation and commuter mobility events in the world. It represents a live, collaborative exchange of ideas, bringing established Transportation Demand Management (TDM) leaders together with leading researchers, and rising innovators to discuss trends, opportunities, and emerging technologies.
In 2019, the event set a record with more than 800 participants from across the United States and around the world. This year over 1,500 people were signed up as of two days before the conference. They represented a geographically diverse group of federal, state and local government agencies, large employers, mobility providers and technology companies, commercial real estate, and universities. The event was free and only required advance registration.
Hosted and organized by RideAmigos, this year CommuteCon was presented in partnership with Scoop (http://www.takescoop.com), and with support from the Association for Commuter Transportation (http://www.actweb.org), Waze (http://www.waze.com), and the Coalition for Smarter Transportation (http://www.smartertransportation.org).
More information about the event, and recordings from previous conferences are available at http://www.commutecon.com.
CommuteCon is a free annual online conference that unites members of the commuter management and transportation demand management (TDM) community. Its objective is to bring those in search of smart and sustainable commuting solutions together to participate in a robust and inspiring exchange of ideas. Each year, we welcome hundreds of TDM leaders and stakeholders from around the world. Beyond benefiting from the advanced insights of the conference’s all-star lineup of expert speakers, participants also enjoy excellent opportunities to build broader networks of thought partners while furthering their strategic skills.
RideAmigos is the leading cloud-based commuter engagement hub that brings together fragmented mobility solutions with proven principles of behavioral change programs. Our platform and programs empower large employers, universities and government agencies to influence smarter commuter behavior that reduces congestion, parking demand and environmental impact while creating healthier, happier communities.