Whether you’re packing for Chicago or not, here’s a pre-event cheat sheet for what’s happening next week.
At RideAmigos, we have always been fans of virtual events because they are accessible for everyone and can have much less negative environmental impact. It bears mentioning that the Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT) put on some really high-quality virtual events over the last two years, and is taking steps to offset carbon emissions for this year’s in-person gatherings. Having said all that… we are SO EXCITED to see so many TDM leaders in person again!
With four days of content and networking, including some really valuable pre-conference sessions, our delegation will be splitting up to see as much as we can and taking notes to share with colleagues around the world when we get home.
ACT always pulls together an excellent lineup of speakers and this year is no exception. On Monday, the opening plenary session will feature a keynote presentation by Ryan McCarty of Culture of Good that is sure to remind us all of the purpose behind the important work of the TDM community. We’ll be listening in for inspiration and for Ryan’s practical insights into leading a movement of change before we dive into the rest of the conference programming.
In Tuesday’s plenary session, we are pleased to be sponsoring a discussion of the future of TDM in Chicagoland, featuring four amazing transportation leaders. The panel, moderated by Matthew Meservy, Director of Long Range Planning Division, at the TennesseeDepartment of Transportation, includes Erin Aleman of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), Gia Biagi of the City of Chicago’s Department of Transportation (CDOT), Jesse Elam of Cook County’s Department of Transportation and Highways, and Roberto Requejo of Elevated Chicago, an organization working at the intersection of racial equity, health, climate, and art and culture to promote frameworks for equitable transit-oriented development (ETOD) in Chicago. Chicago has always been a planner’s city, and this keynote session is sure to highlight some ambitious and forward-looking approaches to TDM for the next several decades.
If you’re looking at the program on the conference website or in the Whova app, and wishing you could clone yourself to attend two sessions at once, we see you! There is way too much great content to mention in this post, but we polled our team to learn what they’re most excited about.
This year, ACT lined up some really valuable pre-conference workshops that come with TDM-CP credit. Whether you’ve already aced your TDM-CP exam, or are just starting out in the field, these workshops before the main event are going to be well worth the additional fee.
- Diversity, Equity & Inclusion 101 and Understanding Implicit Bias (Sunday at 9:00am). This half-day workshop featuring David Sorrell, TDM-CP of University of California Berkeley, Kiki Dohman of Salem Area Mass Transit District, and Catherine Popowits of Diversity Training & Consulting, Inc. will help participants gain awareness of the unconscious bias and misunderstanding that can impede our ability to have the equitable positive impact we intend with in our work. It will also focus on strategies to improve communication and inclusion for a diverse range of stakeholders. Work on this is never done, and we can’t think of a better way to reset your perspective ahead of the next three days of learning!
- Shifting Traveler Behaviors with Motivational Interviewing (Sunday at 9:00am). Another excellent pre-conference workshop going on at the same time is focused on motivational interviewing strategies and their applications for TDM. Anton Cox of Capital Area Council of Governments and Kate Harrington of Movability Austin will discuss the technique and the science behind it. The team at Movability Austin has long been teaching and using these skills as part of their outreach, and these two Austin-area TDM leaders will help participants learn to use them too.
If you’re just getting to town on Sunday morning, you can still catch an expert-led workshop on grant writing or a session to prepare emerging leaders for larger roles in ACT chapter and council leadership; both in the afternoon.
The main course of TDM content really gets started after the opening plenary on Monday. If you’re attending with a group, do what we did and make a shared list of all the sessions your team wants to attend, and put names by each one to ensure it’s all covered. After an event like this, we always debrief with the whole team and have each attendee share important takeaways so everyone can benefit.
Here are a few sessions on our must-see list:
- How TMAs Generate Value-add with Non-Traditional Groups (Monday at 1:30pm). Chris Bongorno, Allison Simmons, Michelle Reynolds, and Julia Wean are experts who lead and consult with TMAs around the country. In this unique session, they’ll discuss how TMAs they work with are developing partnerships and programs to serve hard-to-reach populations and address non-traditional TDM needs and add value for their communities.
- Shaping ACT’s Policy Platform for the Future of TDM (Monday at 1:30pm). We’re looking forward to this presentation of ACT’s Public Policy Committee’s 2022 Policy Cornerstones. This is a pivotal time for investment in TDM and shared transportation and ACT has a key role to play. Presenters include Jessica Alba, TDM-CP, Stanford University’s Director of Policy & TDM, along with Rob Henry, TDM-CP of GVF, Andrew Glass Hastings of TransWest, and Dion Beuckman of Commute with Enterprise.
- Employer-based TDM in a hybrid world (Monday at 3:15). Employers have powerful influence over employee commute choices, and research backs the idea that commuters that receive employer support are more likely to make sustainable transportation choices. Learn from leaders of the Denver region’s successful TDM programs how to launch a successful, employer-driven trip reduction program. Panelists include Nisha Mokshagundam and Kalie Fallon of the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG), and Sheryl Machado and Evan Gatseos, from Denver South TMA.
- TDM-CP Information Session (Monday at 3:15pm ) Have you thought about working toward a Transportation Demand Management Certified Professional (TDM-CP) certification? Heather Salem, Aaron Buckley, and Jamila Owens (who have all earned the letters) explain the certification, its potential benefits for your career, and the process candidates follow to prepare and take the exam.
- The Secret to Moving Employees to Shared Transit (Tuesday at 10:30am). The commute has become even more complicated for employees returning to campus after a long stretch of working remotely. The panelists leading transportation programs of three large employers in the San Francisco Bay Area will discuss how their organizations are rising to the occasion to manage the commute experience, leverage public transportation options, and incentivize employees to get out of single occupancy vehicles. With each enterprise offering a broad range of programs, this session will focus on the ways they incorporate on-demand technology to improve access. Krista Glotzbach of Via will moderate a discussion with panelists, Danielle Glaser, Global Transportation Manager at LinkedIn, Mandy Basile, Senior Transportation Program Manager at Genentech, and Sabrina Ruiz, Regional Transportation Program Manager at Google. Global Transportation Program Manager
- Water Transit Is Making Waves In TDM (Tuesday at 10:30am) A boat is the best way to get to some workplaces! Where bridges are also an option, they might be filling up with traffic again. In this session, panelists will show you how their commuter ferry services create additional ways for commuters to move efficiently. Are you missing an opportunity to make use of water transportation to your campus or community? Panelists include Heather Salem, TDM-CP of Genentech in South San Francisco, Patrick Sullivan, TDM-CP of Seaport TMA in Boston, and Andrew Sargis of Chicago Water Taxi.
- How to Establish and Implement a TDM Ordinance (Tuesday at 10:30am). Washington D.C. area TDM leaders Samantha Huff (Foursquare ITP), Mariana Budimir (District Department of Transportation), and Michael Watts (DOES/Office of Wage-Hour) share invaluable experience with establishing the DC Commuter Benefits Law and the DC Parking Cashout Law, also known as the Transportation Benefits Equity Amendment Act of 2020. The presentation will cover goal setting, implementation, outreach and marketing strategies, and how to effectively monitor compliance with reductions of single-occupant vehicle travel to employer sites.
Before we see who takes home the ACT National Awards for 2022 on Wednesday morning, we’re excited to host almost 200 TDM leaders at the return of the RideAmigos Closing Night Party on Tuesday evening. This year (perhaps inspired by the theme of water transit?) we’ll be celebrating a successful conference on Chicago’s Emerald Lady. This event will be oversubscribed – at the time we’re writing this we already have a waitlist and we’re working with the cruise operator to increase capacity – so we hope to see everyone who signed up!
For those of you heading to Chicago, travel safely! We would love to connect while we’re there – contact us to set up a time or find us in the expo (we’ll be at Booth 102).