More than 13,000 transportation professionals from around the world will gather at the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., January 13”“17, 2019. Kittelson will join them with a delegation of 45 team members, ranging from first-year employees to seasoned staff members.

It's like drinking from a firehose. There's so much going on and so much to learn, which is partly why Kittelson has such a large presence at the conference.

- Bastian Schroeder, PhD, Principal Engineer

The TRB 2019 meeting theme, “Transportation for a Smart, Sustainable, and Equitable Future,” resonates strongly with our work and focus. Kittelson staff will support and participate in programs regarding transportation and land use, transportation and public health, transportation and equity, and safety.

Brandon Nevers, Kittelson Senior Principal Engineer and COO, also looks forward to reuniting with people he sees only once a year. “TRB is a time to reconnect with colleagues professionally and personally. It’s oftentimes the only time of the year I see fellow transportation professionals from other organizations in person. It feels like a reunion,” he says.

Kittelson's Abby Morgan at the TRB Annual Meeting
Kittelson presenters at TRB
Left: Kittelson’s Abby Morgan reunites with her past professor (and International ITE past president) Shawn Leight. Right: Kittelson staff and research partner accepting a “virtual” TRB best paper award.

Catch Kittelson at TRB 2019

TRB is a whirlwind. Among the 4,000 sessions held throughout the week, you can catch Kittelson staff attending, presenting and presiding over workshops, presentations, poster sessions and committee meetings. Here are just a few sessions to look out for.

Sunday January 13th, 1:30 PM — 4:30 PM

What makes big data “big” is not the amount of data, but the predictive analytic techniques built upon it. The development of machine learning methods has allowed us to build better predictive models that can take full advantage of the opportunities presented by access to large and diverse data sets.

Past TRB workshops on big data have focused on data storage and traditional statistics; this one will emphasize the connection between big data and machine learning. Several speakers from the TRB Committee on Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Computational Methods (ABJ70) will present an overview of machine learning essentials (supervised and unsupervised learning as well as deep learning), necessary mathematical and statistical background, and applications to building predictive models in transportation. This will include an overview of TRB’s forthcoming ABJ70 primer on machine learning. The workshop is intended to make the broader transportation community – practitioners, academics, and students – better aware of the opportunities offered by predictive analytic methods from machine learning. It will also include presentations from finalists in the TRB 2019 Data Competition, who will present on building predictive analytic models based on data from ridesharing operations in Xi’An, China. The workshop will be chaired by David Reinke, co-chair of the ABJ70 Subcommittee on Outreach.

Learn more here.

Sunday January 13th, 1:30 PM — 4:30 PM

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Green Book is a compilation of specifications and guidelines for geometric design – but the bigger story is it’s a reflection of the way our industry has shifted over time. Kittelson is honored to lead the visioning and roadmap of a comprehensive update to the Green Book that will take into account the realities of our multimodal world. Brian Ray will lead the visioning portion of the workshop, with Hermanus Steyn presiding.

Learn more here.

Monday January 14th, 10:15 AM — 12:00 PM

Making accurate travel time predictions is important for real-time information systems. Lilian Wu will join other industry professionals in this poster session and share about “Dynamic Prediction of Arterial Travel Time Mean and Variability.” Her paper explores the potential of the nonlinear autoregressive with exogenous inputs (NARX) model, which uses the mean travel time as well as standard deviation predictions in its calculations.

Learn more here.

Tuesday January 15th, 8:00 AM — 9:45 AM

Intersections and crosswalks often pose barriers to pedestrians with vision disabilities. Lee Rodegerdts was one of six authors of “An Intersection Database to Facilitate Access to Complex Signalized Intersections by Pedestrians with Vision Disabilities.” He’ll present this paper as part of a poster session highlighting new approaches to analysis and mapping for transportation frameworks and integrating technologies.

Learn more here.

Monday January 14th, 3:45 PM – 5:30 PM

This poster session will explore new models and methods for safety analysis and evaluation studies. During the session, Kittelson’s Anusha Musunuru and Richard Porter of VHB will present on “Applications of Measurement Error Correction Approaches in Statistical Road Safety Modeling.”

Road safety modelers frequently use average annual daily traffic (AADT) as a measure of exposure in regression models of expected crash frequency for road segments and intersections; however, errors in traffic volume estimates can have serious effects on model estimation. Anusha her team explored the impacts of measurement error in traffic volume estimates by employing regression calibration and simulation extrapolation, leading to error-corrected estimates of the effects of traffic volume on crashes. The team’s research was the first to harness the capabilities of statistical road safety modeling by accounting for measurement error in traffic volume estimates.

Learn more here.

Sunday January 13th, 9:00 AM — 12:00 PM

Bastian Schroeder is one of five speakers who will present as part of a workshop titled ‘Risky Business?: Exploring What Lies Ahead for Designing Roads for All Users.’ This combination workshop and panel discussion focuses on achieving the integration of pedestrian and bicycle facilities, including accessible features, into road projects, including those at alternative or innovative intersections. The workshop will touch on current research efforts and best practices and will identify further research needs and opportunities.

Learn more here.

We also look forward to hearing presentations from other firms and agencies, and participating in the discussions that will lead to new research questions. TRB is unlike any other conference, bringing together researchers and transportation professionals from across the world to collaborate on solutions for the biggest issues affecting today’s communities.

We want our staff to each bring back two or three ideas they can incorporate into projects to deliver innovative solutions for our clients.

- Brandon Nevers, Senior Principal Engineer, COO

We always enjoy meeting with students, and anyone interested in career or internship opportunities. In addition to attending Kittelson-led committee meetings and presentations, attendees can connect with us impromptu or reach out beforehand via our website.

Advice for First-time Attendees

Brandon and Bastian are TRB annual meeting veterans, having both attended the annual meeting for 15+ years. Here are their tips for first-time attendees:

Make a plan and find a mentor. Attending TRB can be overwhelming. Don’t wait until you arrive to make a plan. Talk to someone in your area of interest who has been to TRB to help you plan your overall experience while there.

Be brave. TRB is a rare opportunity to meet people doing amazing things in the transportation industry, it’s one of the main reasons to go. Get to know someone who’s been to a committee meeting to introduce you to others in the industry. Also, don’t hesitate to speak up during presentations and sessions; find the value you bring and share that with others.

Follow through. Take notes so you can follow-up with people you speak with and meet. Attendees often make connections then forget to follow through on requests. This event welcomes these types of exchanges, so make sure to follow through after the meeting.

Go outside. The event venue has four underground levels and it’s easy to get stuck in “the belly of the beast.” Remember to pack those walking or running shoes and schedule time outside to ensure you get fresh air and time to reflect and decompress. It’s best to keep evenings open for networking events, so look for a short gap in the middle of the day if possible.

Be in the moment. Make the most of your time at TRB by “cleaning your plate” before the conference. Work ahead the week before if needed and clearly communicate with clients and teaming partners, so you can be fully present and focused while at TRB.

TRB Annual Meeting 2019 Event Information

You can find Kittelson’s full TRB schedule here, or visit the TRB 2019 website for event details. We look forward to seeing you!