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Recapping the Future of Commuting Summit in Pittsburgh

Posted: 04/28/2022
Category: General News

This week we had the pleasure of welcoming over 100 TDM professionals from across North America to our Future of Commuting Summit in Pittsburgh. We kicked off the day with breakfast, networking and some laughs with old friends and colleagues, catching up in-person for the first time for many in almost two years. ACT’s Executive Director, David Straus, gave the opening welcome along with Board President, Connie McGee, then introduce Lisa Kay Schweyer (Carnegie Mellon University) who moderated our first panel “Transforming the Steel City” with Kim Lucas (City of Pittsburgh), Chris Watts (Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership), Vincent Valdes (Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission), and David Huffaker (Port Authority). During the panel, we took a closer look at the placemaking and commuter focused projects that are occurring around Pittsburgh and how exactly they’re improving Pittsburgh for its citizens. We heard interesting points regarding what Pittsburgh needs to do in the future and what bold decisions are in front of its people.

After our first event, we saw a human poll during Andrew Glass Hastings’ (Transwest) and Jessica Alba’s (Stanford University) “Human Mobility Spectrogram.” During this participatory exercise attendees were asked to agree or disagree with statements regarding the future of TDM and move to the corresponding side of the room. We explored some of the most pressing issues in TDM today and were able to share and compare opinions in a judgement free zone with our colleagues.

Next Tony Hudgins (Actionfigure) moderated “Commuting to Work After the Pandemic - An Employers’ Perspective,” with panelists Brendon Harrington (Google), Cate Irvin (Oakland BID), Danielle Glaser (LinkedIn), Don Charley (UPMC) and Frank Mongioi, Jr. (ICF). During this panel we looked at hybrid work and how it was changing the landscape of transportation for employers and what transportation options would be provided in the future.

In the afternoon, we broke into facilitated discussion groups, which touched on a variety of topics from the role of technology in TDM to improving social equity to the future of ACT’s policy platform. There were a total of 9 discussion tables and 3 rounds of discussion giving individuals the ability to participate in their top three tables. The amazing thing about this exercise was that every round created a new take on the discussion question at the table. No two conversations were alike, and the background of the discussion members steered the conversation in a new direction every time.

To close out the information and conversation packed day, table leaders recapped their table discussions, and we ended the day with a well-earned networking reception - but that wasn’t all. The next day, we rejoined Chris Watts and his team for a walking tour of downtown Pittsburgh. During this tour we were reminded of the first panel discussion as we took a closer look at recently completed, in progress, and planned sites for multimodal infrastructure laid out in Pittsburgh’s recently released Downtown Mobility Plan. We further sparked conversation regarding what the future of downtowns across the world will look like using the hard work of the city of Pittsburgh as a catalyst. We loved being able to finally welcome everyone back in person and we look forward to seeing you all in Chicago!

See more photos on ACT's Instagram account.

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