After a noteworthy year in which the world’s largest transportation research conference was moved online, the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting will be back to its traditional in-person meeting format. The 101st Annual Meeting (and the 100th in-person meeting) will be held in Washington, D.C. from January 9-13, 2022 with a theme of “Innovating an Equitable, Resilient, Sustainable, and Safe Transportation System.”

Aerial Shot of TRB Attendees Walking Through Lobby

Photo from the 2020 Annual Meeting.

What Will the 2022 TRB Annual Meeting Be Like?

The 2022 meeting is expected to look much like TRBs past, with the addition of health and safety guidelines that can be viewed here. In addition to requiring masks and requiring that all attendees be fully vaccinated, TRB has increased room sizes to allow for more distancing (which means there will be fewer sessions). The conference will also have shorter hours and fewer receptions, as many hotels and local venues are not allowing gatherings at this time.

Ann Brach, Director of Technical Activities at TRB, explained that the decision to return to a fully in-person meeting was driven by two factors.

“First, the feedback that we got about the 2021 virtual meeting was that people were grateful to have some kind of TRB Annual Meeting that year, but that it didn’t really give them what they needed and wanted from the TRB Annual Meeting,” said Ann. “The feedback we got really brought home how important it is for people to see each other, meet new people, and have opportunities for unplanned interactions.”

The decision was also driven by financial factors.

“TRB incurs costs all year to prepare for the Annual Meeting, costs that are the same regardless of the format of the meeting. Converting to a virtual meeting only added to the cost,” explained Ann. “However, fewer people paid registration fees for the virtual meeting and those fees were reduced by at least 50% from normal in-person fees. So, in a nutshell, the inadequacy of a virtual meeting for attendees and the infeasibility of making it work financially ruled out another virtual meeting for 2022.”

Networking at TRB 2022

Networking is always a highlight of this gargantuan gathering of transportation professionals, and the return to in-person brings back opportunities to build connections that were limited in the virtual format. When asked how TRB 2022 attendees can maximize networking opportunities, Ann offered two suggestions.

“First, I would remind people that we are still having the Exhibit Hall reception on Sunday night,” she said. “The hall is plenty big enough for people to social distance and still network and see the exhibits. The receptions in smaller spaces are the ones we are skipping for this year.

“Also, we have lengthened the breaks between sessions to 1 hour (to allow for cleaning between sessions). These longer breaks can be great opportunities to continue discussions outside of the session rooms in the more open spaces of the venues.”

Planning Your TRB 2022 Schedule

TRB is a whirlwind, typically offering thousands of posters, presentations, and committee meetings to more than 10,000 attendees in a single week (though we will likely see fewer attendees in 2022). When Kittelson staff are preparing to attend for the first time, we typically recommend a few practices:

1. Pair up with a mentor who has attended the conference before and can help you prepare.

2. Be proactive about researching the many available presentations, posters, and committee sessions TRB offers. The online program is thorough and searchable, so spend some time looking for the topics that interest you in order to develop a customized schedule.

3. Make sure your schedule includes enough breathing room so that you are at your best for the things you do attend. You simply cannot participate in everything, so pick a few areas of focus and coordinate with colleagues to fill out the picture for you.

Topics of Interest at TRB 2022

Speaking of topics: what will be front and center at TRB 2022? We asked some of our staff who will be attending. While there’s no way to narrow down all of TRB’s key topics into a concise list, here are some common responses we got, and a sampling of sessions where these topics will be explored.

Infrastructure Bill

The recent passage of the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill will make its way into discussions all across TRB, but there will also be a few dedicated lectern sessions on this topic.


Electrification in Transportation

The passage of the infrastructure bill has further fueled our profession’s interest in electrification. Sessions will address funding for electrification projects, advancements in electrification, and challenges that remain as states seek to meet EV and ZEV mandates.


Poster Sessions:

Automated Vehicles

In addition to hearing the latest on connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technology, we’ll likely see a heightened focus around how CAVs detect and interact with other modes, such as walking, biking, and micro-mobility.


Poster Sessions:

What We’ve Learned From COVID-19

It’s no surprise that the pandemic will continue to be a major discussion topic. We’re seeing a lineup of sessions that emphasize articulating what we’ve learned nearly two years in: what can we apply now as we continue to navigate COVID-19, and what lessons should we keep in mind for the future?


Poster Sessions:

Sustainability and Resiliency

With resiliency in the face of climate change top of mind for cities across the globe, the following sessions are just a handful out of many that will reflect this focus.


Poster Sessions:


We hope to see infrastructure bill discussions go hand in hand with equity as our profession seeks to learn from history in approaching new transportation investments. The number of equity-focused projects included in the latest NCHRP program speaks to this focus at the federal level, and it will certainly be reflected in the 2022 TRB lineup.



Poster Sessions:

7th Edition of the Highway Capacity Manual

TRB made the decision to officially release HCM 7.0 in time for the TRB 2022 Annual Meeting. HCM 7.0 will incorporate significant additions or expansions to computational procedures (you can read about them here). TRB 2022 will offer a few opportunities to learn about HCM 7.0.


Poster Session:

Performance-Based and Context-Sensitive Design

We expect to see plenty of discussion around context classification, performance metrics, and other context-sensitive design considerations that are shaping the next edition of the Green Book. Here are just a few:


Committee Meeting:


Poster Sessions:

See You at TRB 2022!

In addition to participating in workshops, committee meetings, lecterns, and poster sessions, Kittelson staff love to use our time at TRB to meet with students and anyone interested in career or internship opportunities. In addition to attending Kittelson-led committee meetings and presentations (full schedule coming soon), attendees can always connect with us impromptu or reach out beforehand via our website.

We look forward to seeing you at TRB 2022! For more event details, visit the TRB Annual Meeting website.