This month, ITE will either be reviving our prior tradition of hosting Spring Technical Conferences or bringing you our first-ever virtual Spring Technical Conference. I guess both are true. For a number of years, ITE regularly convened conferences in the spring, often with a technical focus. They were typically held in Florida or California, USA to provide those from cooler climes the opportunity to enjoy some warmer weather. As District meetings have filled up the spring months, the Spring Technical Conference fell by the wayside.
However, the desire for learning among ITE members and the industry remains strong. One of the takeaways from our very successful virtual Annual Meeting and Exhibition last year is that our members, particularly those from the public sector, said they valued the opportunity to enhance their technical knowledge, interact with peers from across ITE, and earn PDHs, all in a virtual environment. The relatively low-cost registration fee made the meeting accessible to younger staff and those who might not have the opportunity to travel to an international meeting. With all this in mind, we have decided to create—or recreate—a new learning opportunity with this year’s Spring Technical Conference on Innovative Intersections and Streets, taking place March 23-24, 2021.
In forming the program, we tapped ITE’s technical engine—our Councils and Standing Committees—to bring forward the content for this two-day event. The program includes 10 technical sessions spread across five timeslots, with topics ranging from Speed Management to Alternative Intersections to Innovative Curbside Management—and much more. Check out the full program and register online at www.itetechconference.org, and see page 29 for more information. I would like to thank Gannet-Fleming for their support as a title sponsor and Miovision for their supporting sponsorship.
Our opening plenary session will be moderated by ITE International President Alyssa Rodriguez, P.E., PTOE (F) with a keynote presentation by Ryan Russo, director of the City of Oakland, CA, USA Department of Transportation. Ryan will talk about how he and his staff are bringing new ideas and approaches to their city, the innovative Open Streets program they advanced as a result of COVID-19, and some of the lessons they have learned about transportation equity.
Equity considerations and conversations will be woven throughout the technical sessions. As we seek to advance innovation and bring new ideas forward, we must do so in an equitable way. It is critical that we fully understand the needs of all constituencies, particularly communities of color. We cannot take a one-size-fits-all approach if we are to effectively serve all members of our communities. We must be innovative and equitable in the way we plan, engage, design, and deploy the programs, policies, and technologies that will shape the future of transportation. ITE members can help lead the way.
I hope you will join us for an engaging two days of learning and conversation. The meeting will include a networking session on the evening of March 23 where we will be using a new innovative virtual engagement tool to allow attendees to mix and mingle with one another and have informal discussions on the key topics from the conference. I look forward to seeing you there. As always, reach out to me on the ITE e-Community or on Twitter: @JPaniatiITE.