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Last week I attended the TRB Transportation Planning Applications Conference in Portland, OR. To those familiar with the TRB Annual Meeting, TRBAppcon (as it’s called) is a smaller and less formal event with a greater emphasis on showcasing practical techniques and approaches to transportation planning.

In keeping with the conference’s emphasis on real-life applications, I kept a list of some of the most useful data sources and analysis/visualization tools presented at the conference:

Naturally the exchange of ideas at TRBAppcon is a two-way street and EDR Group offered its own experience and techniques to the conference participants. In my podium presentation Transportation & the Economy: Drawing Conclusions Instead of Drawing Blanks, I presented an overview of our approach to freight planning using readily available economic tools and data such as:

Beyond learning about data and analytical tools, TRBAppcon also offered engaging policy debates. In that vein, one major highlight of the conference for me was the “Great Debate.” During lunch on Tuesday, four speakers from the public and private sectors debated the proposition “Ride-hail services such as Uber and Lyft are beneficial to society.” What ensued was a lively conversation with strong audience engagement and compelling points on both sides of the argument. Attendees were asked to vote on the proposition after the debate, with the majority of planners in the room ultimately disagreeing with the statement. While the content of the debate was of great interest to me as a shared mobility researcher, what I enjoyed most was seeing planners engage in such a fun, lively context – something I highly recommend for future conferences and events!