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01/05/2012

ITS America Annual Meeting - setting the scene

[ Zoom ]
Gloria Jeff
Gloria J. Jeff, District of Columbia Department of Transportation, and one of the co-chairs of the 2012 Annual Meeting Organizing Committee
Gloria J. Jeff, District of Columbia Department of Transportation, and one of the co-chairs of the 2012 Annual Meeting Organizing Committee, sets the scene on what will be this year’s most important event for the ITS industry.

The theme for the 2012 Annual Meeting, “Smart Transportation: A Future We Can Afford” really helps give context to the goals for this year’s meeting. The economy continues to be on the forefront as budgets shrink and organizations are forced to do more with less. At the same time, Congress is slowly progressing towards a reauthorization bill but the issue of funding remains. The hard truth is that there will be fundamental changes in the way infrastructure is funded and deployed.  

The message that will be reinforced by speakers like Xerox Chairman Ursula Barnes, is that ITS is a cost-effective way to bring valuable solutions to states, municipal governments, and non government transportation providers —and a way to address the mobility and performance measure goals of any reauthorization bill that gets passed. From traveller information systems to emergency response and traffic management, states are using ITS to manage their systems, reduce congestion and provide value to motorists for less.

There couldn’t be a more crucial time for us to showcase how important ITS is as an integral component of transportation systems and planning. The program and activities of the Annual Meeting will focus on the affordability of ITS and how integrating advanced technology into transportation planning, operations and policy can yield tremendous benefits.  

Capitalizing on World Congress Success

The 18th World Congress last October was successful on several fronts and we certainly want to capitalize on that success and continue the momentum. The consensus of the major policy makers and industry officials in attendance was that intelligent transportation systems will be the key to improving travel efficiency and safety, as well as improving the economy. The prevailing theme articulated by speakers like Secretary LaHood, House T&I Chairman John Mica, Florida Governor Rick Scott and Executive Chairman of Ford Bill is that intelligent transportation is the “next generation for technology and safety.”  Orlando was also successful in raising the profile of ITS as a driver of the economy and a job generator. At the Annual Meeting we want to keep conversation going with a focus on transportation policy — particularly since Congress will still have to work on reauthorization.  
The World Congress capitalized on the growing interest from the investment community in ITS and saw the debut of the first Investor Matching event.  Investment firms like  Kleiner Perkins and Fontinalis Partners and others participated in the World Congress and got to witness first hand all of the innovation that is happening in our industry.  So has we planned on programming additional investor activities like the Investor Roundtable well as sessions on finance. We also had successful targeted sector days for students and incident management and emergency responders. We want to expand upon the offerings for these groups by providing additional sessions and activities for them.     

Attracting the Public Sector

The Organizing Committee understands the challenges associated with the public sector and have worked to shape the program so that the public sector can experience the value of attending this type of meeting. The DC based location is a unique setting convenient for any number of public agencies. Being in DC gives attendees access to lawmakers and policy makers in a way that no other meeting does.  The Congressional Fact Finding sessions give attendees a unique opportunity to meet with their legislator and provide important testimony to Congress. In addition, the technology demonstrations and technical tours will give attendees a first-hand look at successful ITS deployments in the DC, Maryland and Virginia region. The Exhibit Hall in Orlando was an exciting place and the center of a lot of the action.   We are expecting the same level of activity and energy on the floor with even more integration between the exhibits, sessions and technology demonstrations. The 150,000 square foot hall will feature the latest and emerging technologies from businesses representing private sector companies, public agencies and research institutions.  

Reaching New Markets

A lot of our outreach for World Congress paid off and we had new interest in the tolling, transit and parking industries. We recognize that these are growing sectors that are leading the way with ITS research, planning and deployment. Our program committee has built out tracks of sessions that should address the specific needs of these segments.  Parking, in particular, is a new sector that is rife with ITS and we are excited to bring them into the mix in May. And in response to the increased interest by the media in ITS related news, there will be a media panel featuring national transportation reporters from ABC news, Politico, and the Washington Post who will talk about the current reauthorization story, how transportation is covered in the news and how to get your story told in a 24 hour news environment.  

Just For State Chapters

State Chapter members and leaders should make sure to attend the following activities being planned especially for you:

State Chapter Strengthening Workshop and State Chapter Networking Reception, Sunday, May 20 from 2:00-7:00pm

Delegates representing ITS America’s 27 regional chapters from around the country will arrive in Washington, DC ahead of the 2012 Annual Meeting to attend the annual State Chapter Strengthening Workshop. This year’s three-hour workshop will feature expert presentations and discussion on important topics such as advocating ITS at the state level, how to effectively engage local universities and young professionals in chapter activities, innovative fundraising and scholarship ideas, and best practices for providing regional training and education sessions to members. Attendees will be a mix of public and private sector ITS professionals. The $50 registration fee for this event includes a working lunch.

The ITS America State Chapters Council is excited to announce the first ever State Chapters Reception at the ITS America 2012 Annual Meeting and Exposition. This invitation-only reception will be held in the atrium of the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center.  Perhaps no topic has resonated as soundly or as often with the ITS America Board of Directors as the need to more actively engage and serve its State Chapters.  ITS America will make this Sunday reception an annual event as it represents a truly unique opportunity for the dedicated leadership of ITS America’s 27 State Chapters to meet and network with the national Board of Directors, senior ITS America staff and other distinguished leaders in transportation. Food and beverages will be provided.

For more information and to view the Program, visit the Annual Meeting website at www.itsa.org/annualmeeting.

See you in just a few week’s time!
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