By Priyanka Ramasamy, USC Viterbi MSCE Transportation Engineering, 2018
On January 24, 2018, the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Irvine (ITS-Irvine) with co-sponsor the Pacific Southwest Region (PSR) University Transportation Center hosted “Graduate Colloquium on Redefining Mobility.” The nearly 80 attendees, who included faculty, practitioners, and students from UC Irvine, UCLA, and USC, gained knowledge on the current issues and future demands on mobility.
The event began with a keynote presentation by Randy Iwasaki, Executive Director at Contra Costa Transportation Authority, and was followed a panel discussion moderated by Sarah Catz, Research Associate and Lecturer, UC Irvine; with panellists, Iwasaki; Ramin Massoumi, Vice President and General Manager of Transportation Systems Unit at Iteris Inc; and Philip Trom, Senior Regional Planner at the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG). The speakers shared innovations in mobility and future trends in the industry. “What a great opportunity to speak to and interact with the future transportation leaders from UC Irvine,” said Iwasaki.
The speakers discussed smart corridors and the importance of complete street designs to create a safe environment and their belief that intermodal innovations and digital cities could leverage the cost of technology to provide better service to the users. Presentations emphasized information exchange, incentivizing land use regulations and decision making on new trends. “This is an extremely important topic,” explained Trom. “Given the acceleration of technology, planning students today are ideally positioned to make a huge difference tomorrow in terms of future mobility decisions.”
There was also an interesting panel discussion with the speakers and students, and during this, Massoumi noted the contributions of data sharing and real time predictions on improving network optimization. Students posed several questions on autonomous cars and smart city ideas.
From left to right: Sarah Catz, Ramin Massoumi, Philip Trom, and Randy Iwasaki
The panel also addressed the regulatory challenges and purpose of having autonomous vehicle testing centers like those in the California cities of Concord and Chula Vista to address operational challenges. "This most progressive millennial generation could bring forth a green industrial revolution," said Matt Aselage, Masters of Planning student from UC Irvine. The panel concluded by agreeing that the organizational and regulatory challenges in transportation might be aided by better outreach and low-cost, high-efficiency technology solutions.
About the Author: Priyanka Ramasamy
Priyanka Ramasamy is a second-year graduate student in Transportation Engineering at the Viterbi School of Engineering and expects to graduate in August 2018. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and is particularly interested in Traffic Design and Operations, Simulation and Network modelling to solve transportation issues. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and (323)-505-5441.