2020 WDCSITE Annual Meeting Recap – Day 2
The WDCSITE Annual Conference and Awards Meeting continued on Thursday, November 19th for an afternoon session that included the business meeting, presentations on transit and CAV, and a social hour.
Day 2 of the Annual Meeting kicked off with WDCSITE Business items, an opportunity to share with members our year-to-date. We began with the President’s message from David Duarte, highlighting the Section’s mission of keeping members engaged with several events throughout the year. We managed to hold a few events in-person before the pandemic forced us to connect remotely beginning in mid-March. With the support of our members and leadership, we were able to organize several virtual events. We also organized several virtual STEM events and were able to continue sharing valuable resources with all of our members.
Adam Greenstein, our Secretary/Treasurer, summarized the financial year-in-review. Thank you, as always, to John Rectanus for continuing to serve as our Section’s Financial Assistant. With no event-related expenses after mid-March except for processing PDHs, combined with higher-than-average event attendance, we were able to strengthen our financial status that will open more opportunities to support and engage our members. Nevertheless, we will continue, as always, to plan cautiously. We are in a great position to continue supporting programs like leadership opportunities, college student chapters, and scholarships, in addition to several other resources that members can use. Adam followed with the results of our election for the 2021 WDCSITE Board. Our one contested position, DC Area Director, featured four candidates, a situation not encountered in recent years but emblematic of our Section’s collective desire to be actively involved. Phil Koloski, Sogand Karbalaieali, Eric Tang, and Jiaxin Tong all vied for the position and proved to be fantastic candidates. The resulting close race exemplifies how well-respected our Section’s members and volunteers are in the regional transportation industry. In the end, Sogand was the winning candidate and will serve as DC Area Director starting in 2021. Congratulations, Sogand, and thank you to Phil, Eric, and Jiaxin for a great race!
Our Past President, Vivek Hariharan, officially introduced our WDCSITE Pat Timbrook Scholarship winners. With the passing of Pat Timbrook earlier this year, we wanted to honor her legacy in the transportation industry, including her previous service with the WDCSITE Board. As her name now adorns our scholarship program, we can continue to support our student members with an added strength in our hearts. Our scholarship winners this year are Amirreza Nickkar of Morgan State University and Sara Zahedian of the University of Maryland. Congratulations!
Vivek then led the transition of our Board officers for 2021. David Duarte, Burak Cesme, Adam Greenstein, Jon Crisafi, Elisa Mitchell, and Sogand Karbalaieali took the oath of office for the coming year. The Board looks forward to faithfully serving our great members and continuing to strengthen WDCSITE in the years to come.
With the 2021 Board in place, our incoming President, Burak Cesme, shared words of optimism and excitement as we look to the coming year. Acknowledging the challenges of 2020 and the fact that many of them will continue into 2021, he is dedicated to leading the Section during difficult times, building on David Duarte’s commitment and innovation in 2020. Burak will lead our Section with a sense of passion and primary goals of improving student engagement through collaboration with faculty members and university liaisons and continuing to invest in participation from the public sector to further increase the diversity within our section.
Let’s Talk Transit
Catherine Vanderwaart, WMATA Strategic Planning Advisor, presented “Do queue jumps make buses faster? An analysis using details location data”. She talked about WMATA and DDOT efforts on bus priority and queue jumps installed in Washington, DC, and how the data collected can be used in the future. Queue jumps show promise in improving bus speed and reducing delay, as results were mostly positive in terms of delay reduction at intersections in peak hours, but midday results were inconclusive. Catherine discussed preferred design scenarios for best operation of queue jumps and how to plan for future applications, including other bus priority treatments and analysis strategies to complement them. Kate Sylvester, MDOT MTA’s Director of Planning, presented “MDOT MTA’s transit priority initiative – building consensus.” She talked about various MDOT MTA services, including BaltimoreLink bus service, of which local buses account for 2/3 of system ridership. One of the initiatives is on North Avenue in Baltimore, using data-driven analysis to reduce delay. To manage the challenges of implementing bus priority measures, MDOT MTA created a guideline and tool kit for a non-technical audience. MDOT MTA partnered with local jurisdictions to engage other government agencies to realize societal benefits of these programs. Gabriel Morey, ITS Coordinator from Alexandria’s DASH transit service, presented “moving targets – combining traffic sensors and the Kalman Filter to improve bus arrival predictions.” He talked about how challenging bus arrival prediction can be. The current tool is based on running time plus running time adjustment and historic average time. The Kalman filter builds on current methods of historic and current running times by using schedules and bus stops to make predictions, adding other measures to compare predictions and accordingly update bus arrival time predictions. This method is more useful with routes with high number of buses. The algorithm will be tested in 2021.
Connected and Automated Vehicles
Next, we heard about Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAV) through another panel discussion. Katherine Kortum (TRB), Carole Delion (MDOT SHA), and Montasir Abbas (Virginia Tech) participated as panelists and the session was moderated by Steve Kuciemba (WSP). Katherine Kortum gave highlights from the 2020 Automated Vehicle Symposium and covered varying perspectives on the way CAVs will influence policy, technology, safety, roadway capacity, and environment. Next, Carole Delion discussed CAV activities and various CAV working groups in Maryland as well as MDOT SHA’s engagement and focus related to the CAVs. Finally, Montasir Abbas presented his research on modeling new and emerging CAV features using the Pillar Diagram. The panelists were then asked questions about issues, challenges, and opportunities related to the CAVs and what steps an agency should be taking to prepare themselves for the CAV technologies and applications. Our last technical session ended with additional questions from the participants.
Following the conference, participants were able to kick back and relax during a social hour featuring trivia. The competition was fierce and in the end Jon Crisafi came out on top. Thank you to Vivek Hariharan for compiling a challenging set of questions and Elisa Mitchell and Eric Tang for assisting as judges. In addition, the winner of the best virtual background image was announced – this was David Miller and his picture of DC Circulator buses. During the course of the conference, participants were issued a Bingo card with catch phrases they needed to mark off. Alvaro Calle was the fastest to complete one. Kevin Permisohn was also the quickest to find the hidden WDCSITE slideshow logo during a conference break.
The winners from these social competitions received a gift certificate for a local business of their choice. Congratulations to all!
For attendees, PDH information was shared recently in a separate email and access to video recordings and presentations will be coming soon. If you have any questions or comments regarding the conference please contact Burak Cesme. Further, please contact Burak if you would like to be involved in WDCSITE activities in 2021. The WDCSITE Board would like to thank all those involved with the conference. We appreciate all attendees, presenters, moderators, organizers, and sponsors. This event, especially in the unique circumstances this year, would not have been possible without the collaborative effort put forward by our membership and broad community of professionals.