What do you get when dozens of transportation professionals, technologists, and others interested in improving urban transportation networks all in one room at UCLA on a Saturday morning? The answer is Los Angeles’ very first TransportationCamp.
While there were no bonfires or arts and crafts, Saturday’s event was different than your usual gathering of transportation professionals. The atmosphere was deliberately casual for the event, billed as an “unconference.”
What does that mean? For one, it means that those who were attending chose the topics that were discussed during the day-long event.
“You don’t have to bring the answers; you just have to bring the questions… and great things will happen,” Juan Matute, associate director of the UCLA Lewis Center and the Institute of Transportation Studies, told the crowd.
Since it was started in March 2011 in New York by OpenPlans (Streetsblog’s founding nonprofit), TransportationCamp events have cropped up all over the country. Transportation Camps are scheduled in New York next month and Washington, D.C. in January.
“This is where [the future of] L.A. transportation is happening,” Matute told the crowd.
Unlike a traditional conference, each session was less a lecture and more a conversation, usually led by the person who suggested the topic earlier in the day.
— Maria Sipin (@ahealthydesign) October 3, 2015
The format gave people a chance to talk to other conference attendees — including Ashley Hand, LADOT’s transportation technology strategy fellow; Peter Marx, L.A. Mayor’s chief innovative technology officer; and Joshua Schank, Metro’s new chief innovation officer — about the topics most of interest to them. You can read Marx’s impressions of the day here.
Over the course of the day, attendees participated in and facilitated about two dozen different discussions. Topics included autonomous vehicles, measuring “Great Streets,” L.A. County bike-share, identifying and mobilizing Vision Zero stakeholders, the link between land use and quality transit, and a chance to meet Metro’s new innovation officer, among many other things.
A complete list of sessions with links to notes taken during them can be found here, but below are some of our takeaways from TransportationCamp L.A.