By: Rachel Krusenoski, USC 2019
The annual Transportation Research Board (TRB) meeting was held this year in Washington D.C. from January 13-17, 2019. The meeting attracted more than 13,000 transportation professionals from around the world to attend and participate in over 5,000 sessions and workshops that cover all modes of transportation and the newest innovations in the field. The annual meeting also provided multiple opportunities for attendees to grow their network and focus on career development. This year, the meeting’s theme was Transportation for a Smart, Sustainable, and Equitable Future.
As an undergraduate at the University of Southern California, attending this year’s annual meeting allowed me to gain a greater perspective of the transportation industry and build upon my professional skills. While there, I was able to attend several presentations on transportation planning, sustainability, autonomous vehicles, and transit accessibility. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to meet many professionals from different areas of the transportation industry that provided many career opportunities for me after graduation.
USC faculty, students, and staff in attendance at the TRB conference.
I am very lucky to have found the transportation industry early in my career at USC. This semester, I will earn a B.S. of Urban Studies and Planning and a minor in Environmental Studies. Following my graduation in May 2019, I am hoping to pursue a career in transportation and environmental planning. After two years of involvement, I was elected President of USC’s Institute of Transportation Engineers Chapter and have been able to gain experience in transportation planning while interning with the Southern California Association of Governments.
In addition to presentations and workshops, the annual meeting also included poster sessions and a career fair, while also catering to new and young professions. There was both a new attendee orientation and a young professional’s reception that I found very helpful as a first-time attendee at TRB. I also attended various other receptions with individual firms, WTS International, the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) as well as one hosted by METRANS for METRANS and PSR affiliates, drawing both academics and practitioners from across disciplines and sectors. This gave me and other attendees the opportunity to connect with transportation professionals that I otherwise may have never had a chance to meet and interact with.
Jiangbo Yu, a USC Viterbi alum who earned an M.S. in Civil Engineering, minor in Urban Planning in 2012 and later a Ph.D. in Transportation Systems Engineering from UC Irvine, was in attendance, and shared two important benefits he sees in these events. “First, [attending the TRB conferences] gets me exposed to a wide range of topics and ways of thinking that prime my brain to be more open and creative in both traceable and subtle manners. Second, the conference and the social events allow professionals to keep in touch with old connections and form new ones.”
USC Attendees enjoying the social networking opportunities provided after TRB events.
Pouyan Hosseini, USC Viterbi M.S. Electrical Engineering graduate and current Ph.D. candidate, was fortunate to not only attend but present his research this year. He noted, the “TRB annual meeting is a great opportunity to meet people in the field of Transportation Engineering both from academia and industry. It gives you the chance to get familiar with the top-notch research in your area of interest and is one of the best places to network with other professionals.” Hosseini personally enjoyed attending the committee meetings, and a recap from his own research presentation at TRB can be found at the following link: https://metrans.org/news/transportation-phd-pouyan-hosseini-presents-research-trb.
The fact that TRB attracts attendees at all levels of their careers and from all pockets of the industry contributes to the significance of the meaningful and diverse connections that can be made at this conference.
Overall, I found that attending the annual meeting surpassed all expectations and would encourage students to take full advantage of the event each year. The information presented in the sessions complimented my transportation and planning classes by providing a lot of opportunities for real-life applications. I also felt that by just attending the meeting, I learned a lot about professional and career development best practices. I am grateful for the support I received to attend the meeting from the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy and USC Viterbi School of Engineering. I would also like to thank all those who helped to provide resources and prepare me for the meeting, especially Doctor James Moore (USC Price, USC Viterbi), Doctor Lucio Soibelman (USC Viterbi), Professor Eric Shen (USC Viterbi), and Doctor Victoria Deguzman (USC METRANS Transportation Center). I hope that wherever my professional endeavors take me, I will be able to continue to attend the TRB annual meetings
About the Author:
Graduating from the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy in May 2019, Rachel holds 4 years of experience in several interrelated fields, including public policy, transportation and environmental planning, and sustainability as well as experience in Journalism and Political Science. As the President of the Institute of Transportation Engineers USC Chapter, Rachel is passionate about providing fellow students with access to transportation-related programs, professional development, and student leadership opportunities.