Innovation in transportation: highlights from TRB 2024

Post Date
29 January 2024
Ian Todreas
Mohamed Aguib
James McKechnie
Anthony Russo
Read Time
4 minutes
  • Transportation engineering
  • Mobility & sustainable transport solutions

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) held its 104th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., USA on January 5-9th, 2024. This event is known as the largest global gathering of transportation professionals and researchers with a focus on innovative solutions across all modes of mobility and transportation. Three of SLR’s transportation leaders, Mohamed Aguib, James McKechnie, and Anthony Russo, attended the event.

Key takeaways

Our leaders attended numerous technical sessions, participated in meetings, observed panel events, and conversed with professionals from around the world. They summarized the biggest takeaways as follows:

  • Artificial intelligence (AI)
    New and emerging AI, including market-ready applications in highway network operations, traffic signaling, maintenance assessment, report writing, generative design, and surveying technologies that enable real-time categorization of pedestrian, cycle, public transit, and motor vehicle movements were everywhere. SLR will be looking to adopt and embed the best cutting-edge practices within our services to help clients achieve even more efficiencies and make more informed choices.
  • Equity for all
    Whether planning new communities, designing new infrastructure, ensuring accessibility to services, or specifying EV infrastructure, equity is now a guiding principle. One important policy driver: Justice40. This directs 40 percent of federal funding to benefit to disadvantaged communities and impacts transit, climate change, clean energy, and efficiency and sustainability projects of all types. SLR has a longstanding commitment to social and environmental justice, and we will continue to ensure our work’s equitable outcomes through our transportation, civil engineering, and environmental project leadership.
  • Electrification
    From early morning to late evening, TRB’s EV sessions were SRO, reflecting high interest in EVs and charging infrastructure across the US and abroad. The $5B US National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program presents an unprecedented opportunity as well as significant practical challenges for states to install chargers. Our team is one step ahead: we have led the way in Europe on multiple projects, identifying, prioritizing, specifying, and designing charging infrastructure, while also assisting clients with permitting/zoning applications, traffic studies, and utility connections.
  • Grant funding assistance
    With unprecedented federal investments in clean transportation, public and private-sector players are hungry to unlock this funding for new infrastructure, transit, and EV charging projects. But they need help and support in writing successful grant funding applications and business cases. SLR routinely works with state and municipal clients in the US and internationally complete and submit successful applications that embed sustainability and equity in our communities.

What's next for transportation?

More and more, communities are demanding equal access to safe, clean, and efficient transportation options, especially in areas that have been historically underserved. While new technologies and federal funding is becoming increasingly available to meet these needs, implementation is not necessarily easy or even within the grasp of some states and municipalities.
For those agencies that are able, they will rapidly expand the use of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) platforms to enhance safety and mobility. Transportation design and planning will integrate and expand on principles embedded in complete streets, green infrastructure, and modern traffic signal and roadway design. They will also pursue to the extent possible new funding sources and EV-related technologies and services to broaden transportation access equitably with minimal environmental impacts where possible.

SLR: Solving challenges, innovating solutions

SLR is helping and will continue to help solve transportation challenges with innovative solutions. Our award-winning team of transportation planners and engineers, community engagement specialists, climate resiliency experts, energy managers, and air quality scientists bring multidisciplinary approaches to designing, planning, and implementing clean transportation solutions. We are experienced in delivering micromobility programming, sophisticated signal design, EV infrastructure and fleet transition implementation, resilient infrastructure solutions, community-led planning projects, and much, much more.

For more information on how we make sustainability happen in transportation, please get in touch.

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