February 9 Transportation Camp to look at region's transit issues

Organizers of the upcoming Transportation Camp at Georgia Tech believe that solutions to at least some of the region’s transit woes may be within our grasp. Billed as an “unconference” the February 9 event will bring together the “doers and thinkers” from academia, the business world, the technology sector and the general public for a day of debates, discussions, and visioning.

The general public is invited to attend this event, which will take place in Georgia Tech’s Clough Commons from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The $10 registration fee will include a light breakfast and lunch. Seats are limited and pre-registration is required.

The Atlanta Transportation Camp will be the fifth such summit to be held in a major metropolitan area since 2011. The camps held in Montreal, New York, DC and San Francisco each sought to build connections between disparate innovators in public administration, transportation planning and operations, information design, and software engineering, says Atlanta Transportation Camp organizer Ted Bradford.

Dr. Kari Watkins, left, with Mayor Kaseem Reed and Dr. Christopher LeDentecCivil engineering professor Dr. Kari (Edison) Watkins helped to plan the event and will be one of the attendees. The 1997 Georgia Tech graduate helped to design and develop a smart phone app called OneBusAway (OBA) which allowed public transit riders in the Puget Sound area of Washington to find out, in real time, when the next bus will arrive. Since coming back to her alma mater to teach, Watkins has helped to develop another smart phone app, CycleAtlanta, that tracks bicycling routes in the greater Atlanta area. She is also working with graduate students to develop an application similar to OBA for use in Atlanta.

Transportation is a major metropolitan issue, with direct impacts on economic strength, environmental sustainability, and social equity. Recent advances in technology (“web 2.0,” mobile computing, open source software, open data, and spatial analysis) present opportunities to improve mobility more immediately and at a lower cost than has ever been possible in the past.

This Transportation Camp will be the first in the City of Atlanta and the southern United States. Collaborators on this Camp include the University Transportation Center (UTC),  OpenPlans, Imagine Atlanta, and Dr. Watkins’ Urban Transportation Information Lab at Georgia Tech.