Transportation: the Future is Now – Sept. 25

Registration is now open.

Monday, September 25, 2017
8:30 – 4:30
Monona Terrace, Madison

Transportation: the Future is Now

Local transportation policy in a time of demographic, political and technological change

We’ll talk about:

  • Changing demographics – an opportunity to invest in a 21st century transportation system.
  • Harnessing changing technology while retaining core community values.
  • Being economically competitive while providing equitable access to everyone.
  • Optimizing our existing infrastructure.
  • Reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment.

Join the conversation!  Learn more and Register today –

Keynote Address:  The Future is Community Centered

Sharice Davids, White House Fellow, USDOT Department of Transportation Office of Civil Rights

Transportation investments historically have been made using a top-down, centralist approach—that often did not take into account community level concerns. Today, we realize that this approach excluded and divided communities, cut people off from opportunities and negatively affected transit dependent populations in minority and low income neighborhoods.

To succeed in the future we must invest in reliable multimodal transportation systems that connect people to jobs, improves business access to a diverse workforce and provides equal access to opportunity for everyone.  This can only be achieved by transitioning to a bottom up, consensus driven approach to transportation decision making where public involvement helps agencies make better informed decisions.

Sharice will explore these ideas and identify ways in which citizens can get involved in a meaningful way in the process of making transportation decisions at the community, state and regional level.

10:15-11:15 Concurrent Sessions:

Track A: Getting our Priorities Rightachieving long term financial solvency of the transportation fund.  Peter Skopec, Director – WISPIRG, Evan Goyke—Wisconsin State Representative

Decades of prioritizing highway expansion projects has come at the expense of every other mode of transportation—leaving our local roads and public transit systems in poor condition. The presenters will explore ways to restore balance to our transportation fund by focusing on the maintenance and rehabilitation of our local infrastructure and investing in our public transit systems.

Track B: Changing Technology: What should local governments be thinking about in the face of coming technological changes in transportation?  Dave Cieslewicz, Executive Director – Wisconsin Bike Fed

The transportation world is seeing unprecedented technological changes like automated vehicles, electric cars, ride sharing services, big data and transit tracking apps. How should local governments design policies to take advantage of these changes and stay ahead of the curve on transportation design making? Former Mayor of Madison Dave Cieslewicz will talk about the local government of the future, and what communities can do today to be prepared.

Track C: Transportation that works for everyone: Understanding historical inequities in our transportation planning and implementation, Sharice Davids

For decades, our transportation decision making has disproportionately affected people of color in negative ways. Interstate highway construction demolished prosperous black neighborhoods, communities were segregated along transportation corridors and public transit investment has been neglected in areas with minority populations. This session will seek to recognize those inequities in the transportation planning process and offer solutions and real-world examples to use transportation investment as a tool to connect communities, help break the cycle of poverty and provide equal access to opportunity for everyone.

11:30AM – 12:30PM     Concurrent Sessions

Track A: Getting our Priorities RightChallenges and Opportunities at the Local level,  Zia Brucaya, Associate Planner- Urban Assets,  Rob Henken, Executive Director – Public Policy Forum

Local government decision making can often be slow and contentious due to a large number of stakeholders with diverse interests and goals. The presenters will explore ways to build consensus and converge on shared goals through community centered action. They will also identify ways in which local government can lead the way to achieve better transportation decision making, drawing from real life examples.

Track B: Changing Technology: How are EVs and AVs going to change travel in urban and rural areas?  Chris McCahill, Senior Associate – State Smart Transportation Initiative, Kevin Brubaker, Deputy Director- Environmental Law and Policy Center

Communities today are seeking to limit sprawl and reduce vehicle miles driven through compact and walkable mixed use development that have vibrant cores of activity. The advent of autonomous vehicles has the potential to disrupt these plans—the presenters will explore the various scenarios that could emerge from these changes.  They will also outline ways in which local governments can use big data and new accessibility measures to make proactive and intelligent transportation planning decisions.

Track C: Transportation that works for everyone:  Economic growth opportunities through connecting people, equal opportunities through transportation.  Denise Jess, Executive Director – Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired, Maurice Cheeks, Alder District 10 – City of Madison

Transportation options are key to ensuring that a community is healthy and provides access to those who cannot drive. While billions of dollars are invested in our highway systems each year, millions of Americans lack transportation that prevents them from participating in the economy. This session will discuss how we can make smart, targeted investments in public transit and other non-auto infrastructure that foster more competitive economic centers, with a particular focus on the disabled, elderly and low income communities.

12:30-2:00 Lunch

Featured Speaker: Devils Advocate: Asking the Tough Questions

Kevin Brubaker, Deputy Director – Environmental Law and Policy Center

2:00-3:00 Concurrent Sessions:

Track A: Getting our Priorities RightMaintaining and optimizing the use of our existing infrastructure. –Eric Sundquist, Managing Director – State Smart Transportation Initiative

Communities around the state are struggling to pay for the maintenance and operation of their roads, bridges and transit systems. However, new technological changes in project management, transportation modes and decision making tools could help local governments use their funding in a more effective manner. This session will explore new approaches to getting the most out of our existing infrastructure.

Track B: Changing Technology: Exploring success stories of good policy. –Yang Tao, Assistant Traffic Engineer – City of Madison, Ashwat Narayanan, Director of Transportation Policy – 1000 Friends of Wisconsin

Local governments today are hampered by a lack of information on building healthy communities that provide equitable transportation options for everyone. This session will aim to spotlight communities, projects and policies that are at the forefront of building a successful transportation future.

Track C: Transportation that works for everyone: How communities can control the conversation about their futures?  -Barbara Pfarr – WISDOM/SOPHIA, Cassie Steiner, PR & Outreach Associate – Sierra Club – John Muir Chapter

Transportation decision making often has been controlled by powerful special interests that leave out those most impacted by a lack of transportation options. Today’s unprecedented technological and demographic changes presents an opportunity for communities across the state to take back control of the conversation—and ensure that their values are reflected in transportation investments. This session will focus on building power at the community level through fostering strong grassroots coalitions, to ensure more equitable transportation outcomes.


3:15-4:30 Workshops:

Workshop 1: How do we design and implement policies that reduce sprawl, reduce VMT, protect the environment and create jobs?  –Ashwat Narayanan, Transportation Policy Director – 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, Chris McCahill, Senior Associate – State Smart Transportation Initiative

Attendees will come together to identify and compile workable smart transportation policies and strategies to advance in their communities.

Workshop 2: Organizing for success—how you can create transformative change in your community. –Sharice Davids, Peter Skopec, Director – WISPIRG,  Cassandra Steiner, PR & Outreach Associate – Sierra Club – John Muir Chapter

An interactive workshop to identify ways in which citizens can get involved in a meaningful way in the process of making transportation decisions at the community, state and regional level.

Workshop 3:  Rapid Transit—how to get it right? –Rob Henken, Executive Director – Public Policy Forum, Chuck Kamp, General Manager – Madison Metro

Few American cities have hit on a policy combination that achieves the goal of making transit more accessible to more people. This workshop will explore the current state of practice and identify challenges and opportunities to building a world class rapid transit system in Wisconsin.