2011 GIS in Public Transportation Conference

Local, State, Federal and private transportation professionals from around the world gathered in Saint Petersburg, Florida for the GIS in Public Transportation Conference sponsored by the National Center for Transit Research (NCTR) and the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA).  Conference attendees from various areas of public transportation Geographic Information Systems (GIS) industry heard ideas and research from some of the nation’s most renowned GIS experts.

The GIS in Public Transportation Conference offered participants access to more than 40 workshop presentations on topics including GIS asset management, program management, access to jobs, applications, data, multimodal planning, census data, bus stops, bus rapid transit, modeling and forecasting.

URISA and NCTR are hosting this conference together for the second time. Representatives hope the joint effort will build on a working relationship between URISA members, GIS professionals and GIS vendors.

This joint effort “really synergizes this niche community of GIS public transportation professionals and allows for a one of a kind, networking and educational opportunity,” Conference Co-Chair, Ms. Amber Reep, said.

The goal, she said, “to draw in experts from around the world by leveraging our relationships with those in the industry and the partnership between URISA and NCTR.”

About half of the attendees are from Florida, and the other half came to Saint Petersburg from California, Oregon, Ohio, Tennessee, Maryland, New Hampshire, Missouri, Maine, Washington, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, Colorado as well as Denmark and Canada.

Mr. Adie Tomer, Senior Research Analyst, Metropolitan Policy Program, Brooking Institute, Washington DC, was the keynote speaker at the welcome and opening session. Mr. Tomer’s keynote address on “Missed Opportunity: Transit and Jobs in Metropolitan America,” focused on the a recent, one of a kind research study completed by the Brookings Institute which was set on the backdrop of rising gas prices, growing suburban poverty, continued sprawl and uneven transit availability in cities and suburb areas.  The research study showed how transit systems link workers to jobs in metropolitan America.  The analysis covered 371 transit agencies in the 100 largest US metro areas, and provides information that can inform critical policy and investment decisions at a time of scarce public and private resources.

Several initiatives also were unveiled over the course of conference including an OpenTripPlanner(OTP) presentation on an international effort to create a flagship open source platform for multimodal trip planning and analysis, presented by David Emory and Ken Webb, OpenPlans Transportation.

Mr. Martin Catala, GIS Manager at the Center for Urban Transportation Manager and Conference Co-Chair, presented at the closing session and facilitated discussions on the “Future of the GIS Clearinghouse.” Mr. Catala explained that the clearinghouse serves as a repository of information, research, studies and information sharing and also described that the future of the clearinghouse may also include webinars and other online training programs and opportunities.

While the conference was packed with presentation sessions, Ms. Wendy Nelson, Executive Director of URISA said, “Exhibitors (vendors/sponsors) have been pleased with the quality of the attendees participating in the conference” and also explained that the exhibitors were provided with great opportunities to have lengthy, intense and in depth discussions with conference participants.   Ms. Nelson expressed appreciation to the conference exhibitors ESRI, GEO Management, Caliper, Trapeze and Data Transfer Solutions for their support.

People who are unable to attend can follow the conference online. The keynote addresses and the other breakout session presentations will be available online http://www.transitgis.org.

For more information about the GIS in Public Transportation Conference, please contact Martin Catala at catala@cutr.usf.edu or Amber Reep at reep@cutr.usf.edu.

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