Having just spent the last few days in Austin, Texas, USA, preparing for the Joint ITE International and Texas District Annual Meeting and Exhibit (#ITEAustin2019), I experienced a city that is being transformed by transportation and at the same time is transforming its transportation system. I had the opportunity to meet with transportation leaders from the City of Austin, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), and the Capital Area Transit Authority. Each has a strong, coordinated vision for the city, the region, and the state.
Traveling throughout downtown Austin you cannot help but be impressed by the vibrancy of the city. The sounds of live music are everywhere, and yes, there is plenty of famous Texas BBQ, but also dozens of food trucks and a wide array of outstanding restaurants. Connecting it all—transportation, and not just cars—transit, bike share, and scooters are all important elements of this modern, growing transportation network. If you want to experience Mobility as a Service in action, come to Austin next summer and hop on a scooter—you will not be alone, they are everywhere!
ITE is fortunate to have a strong Texas District and outstanding Sections. They are all well-represented on our Local Arrangements Committee (LAC) headed by Rob Belarmino of HNTB and Brian Van DeWalle with the City of Austin with support from Dale Picha with TxDOT and a member of the International Board of Direction. The LAC will help us ensure we get to see leading edge transportation projects, hear from local leaders, and incorporate Texas District traditions into our meeting. We will also celebrate the 65th anniversary of the establishment of what is now the Texas District.
While we were in Austin, we also had the opportunity to meet with industry leaders from across Texas who provide a wide array of transportation products and services. Their ideas and support will help ensure that our exhibit hall showcases the best of the best and includes products and services available both regionally and nationally.
#ITEAustin2019 will integrate the Annual National Rural ITS (NRITS) conference into our agenda. The 2018 NRITS conference was recently hosted by ITE in Fort McDowell,
Arizona, USA, in partnership with ITS Arizona. This was a very successful meeting with more than 400 participants and 50 exhibiting organizations. The issues facing our rural
areas and small communities are different than in our larger cities but equally important. Rural safety, weather, access to health care, and providing transportation services to an
aging population are all significant challenges, and technology does offer promise in each of these areas. #ITEAustin2019 will offer a “two-for (or is it a three-for?)” by holding the
NRITS meeting as a “meeting within a meeting.”
Austin, Texas will be the place to be for the Joint ITE International and Texas District Annual Meeting and Exhibit and the National Rural ITS Conference, July 21–24, 2019. Get it on your calendar now. Check your email and visit www.ite.org for more information on the program and hotel registration. Exhibitors and sponsors can contact
Pam Goodell (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information. Sales are open and our exhibit hall is filling fast. I hope to see you there.