Jill Ingrassia, incoming chair of ITS America
, on the exciting and challenging road ahead Q You have been a member of the Board of ITS America since 2008. What, for you, have been the top few standout achievements in that time? A
Hosting the 2014 ITS World Congress
in Detroit is a clear standout. The meeting was a great convergence of the right people, in the right place, at the right time. The newsworthy events at the World Congress created energy and excitement about ITS America and the future of the industry. It was a great success on all fronts.
Establishment of the Leadership Circle is also a significant achievement. It’s our own incubator for thought leadership on key challenges and opportunities in the industry and a way to promote and enhance the use of technology to solve transportation problems.
The Leadership Circle is tackling questions related to big data in transportation, V2I deployment, freight mobility, and the impact of connected, autonomous and electric vehicles to name a few. The Leadership Circle has brought new members to the organisation who are interested in playing an active role in shaping these discussions.
During my time on the Board, I have also seen increased engagement and visibility by ITS America in Washington.
The U.S. Department of Transportation Vehicle-to-Vehicle/DSRC announcement and upcoming rulemaking are significant developments, and I think ITS America played an important role in helping to make that happen. Q What do you see as the main challenges that ITS America faces over the next year or two? A
I think figuring out the spectrum sharing issue will be among the most important industry challenges in the near-term. We’re on the verge of making connected cars a reality and realising the tremendous safety and mobility benefits that will come from it. We need to proceed in a cautious but collaborative manner to hopefully get to a win-win solution.
For the organisation, I think maintaining and building on the momentum generated over the last year is critical. There are plenty of big issues on which ITS America is well positioned to provide leadership: 5.9 GHz spectrum, V2V rulemaking, V2I deployment coalition, transportation authorisation and funding, connected vehicle pilots, as well as all the work underway by the Leadership Circle. I also think we need to continue to attract new members reflective of this dynamic and evolving industry and ensure we continue to provide value for all. Q What do you hope to achieve during your term as Chair of ITS America’s Board? A
It’s an exciting time for the industry and the organisation, and I’d like to be part of telling the story about ITS America and the industry in a compelling way and to a broader audience. We need to get beyond preaching to the choir, to raise awareness of the many benefits coming from transportation technology innovations.
I think the organisation is well positioned to do that with our new President and CEO, Regina Hopper. Communication is her forte and she will bring some new ideas to the table about how ITS America can engage more effectively. I’m excited to work with her, the ITSA staff and Board to keep moving the organisation forward.
A key first step for us, post Annual Meeting, will be to zero in on where we want the organisation to be in the next year or two and work to ensure the mechanisms are in place to get there. Jill Ingrassia is Managing Director of AAA’s Government Relations and Traffic Safety Advocacy department, directing federal and state government relations and traffic safety advocacy, policy and programs for the 40-plus AAA club federation.
She manages a staff of policy and public health professionals and oversees the development and implementation of public policy strategy of concern to AAA members and AAA business operations, including mobility and transportation safety, energy, and consumer automotive.
During her 18-year tenure with AAA, Jill has worked on advocacy and policy initiatives to help improve safety for the road’s most vulnerable users — children, teens and older drivers.
She has represented AAA on a number of coalitions with national transportation and safety organisations, including serving as a Board member of ITS America since 2008, membership on the Transportation Safety Advancement Group and 2008 Chairman of The Road Gang, an affiliation of transportation professionals.