The 94 annual meeting of TRB was held in Washington 11-14 January 2015 and the “Transforming the Transportation” Conference of World Bank and EMBARQ 15-16 January 2015.
The TRB conference is the big event (involving more than 11.000 researchers, professionals and technicians coming also from many no-US countries) organized every year by the Transportation Research Board of the US National Academics on the different aspects and solutions of the overall transportation modalities.
This year TRB2015 the location was the big Washington Conference Center that is very practical respect the set of hotels connected by “bus network” form transferring from one hotel to the other depending on the locations of the different session and committee (It was also more easy to leave sessions and committee when these are becoming boring). I presented TRB URBAN FREIGHT committee (of which I am a member) one of the main result of our IEE ENCLOSE project: the methodology for developing a Sustainable Urban Logistics Plan (SULP) that was very appreciated by the other committee members. I participated also to the Public Transport and ITS for Public Transport committees where I very appreciated the efforts and resources currently invested by the US. I was also to PT in emerging countries where I had the confirmation that the big metropolitan areas are progressing due to a great investments in collective transport (solutions and regulations framework).
I participated also to some sessions of PT and ride sharing services. I found those very useful not only for knowing the level of diffusion of this services (i.e UBER, side car, Lift, UBERPOP, blablacar) and the related business models but also for understanding how the paratransit is evolving or is influenced by this new services/platforms/ etc. I had the feeling (or the confirmation) that Flexible Transport services Agency approach, set up last decade by MemEx (with other European partners) in different EU projects (last was INTERREG FLIPPER) is a still valid reference framework that could be expanded and consolidated by he recent ICT developments (cloud platform/open architecture, smart phone, user graphic interface, UMTS and Wifi network,) allowing/pushing real applications of this approach (as happened in the middle of 90 to the DRT service with the ICT development like GSM and PC platform).
On 16-17 January I was at the Embarq and World Bank “TT 2015” conference that faced, among the other matters specifically related to the equity and efficiency of transportation in the emerging countries, the new ride sharing solutions, the role of the so called Transport Network Companies (like UBER). Also this year, I had the feeling that passing from the high level affirmations (made in the plenary sessions) to the practical applications/services (presented in the parallel sessions) the focus to mobility solutions become a superficial and not effective (forgetting as usual the main role of PT network/services). Finally I was at the parallel session on Urban freight distribution that, is becoming relevant also for the urban areas of the emerging countries) where I had the occasion to introduce the SULP methodology. In conclusion these two events were also the occasion for consolidating the MemEx relations not only with the US research community but also with the professionals coming from the other countries that are interested to the experiences and practices developed by MemEx.