Last week I had the pleasure to speak on a panel about blogging at the 20th annual Rail~Volution conference in Portland. It was a great retreat from work as evidenced by the skyrocket in STB tweeting. Portland really is a great city.
Having been away from professional transportation conferences for a year and a half I was excited to see what the “new” hot topics in the transportation profession were. I wasn’t surprised to find economic development and health on the forefront. With the economy how it is transit advocates are trying to do a better job of communicating and leveraging the economic benefits of transportation projects. Several presentations focused on how a low car lifestyle is good for everyone’s bottom line. Less money spent on transportation, means more money to spend locally.
Also, the impact of the built environment on our daily physical activity through “active transportation” has started to get a lot of attention. While it might not sound like much the physical activity you get from walking to the bus, walking to the store, or biking to work or school really adds up, especially compared to people who live sedentary lifestyles caused by auto oriented communities. This area of research has exploded over the last few years in academia and is starting to work it’s way into the professional world, thanks in large part to federal funding from FTA, HUD and EPA through their livability initiative. King County and PSRC are both on the forefront of this.
Rail~Volution will be in DC next year. Sounds like a good excuse to visit.