ITS-Davis Highlights from TRB 2024

The UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies made a prominent appearance at this year’s TRB Conference


Earlier this month, at the Transportation Research Board’s 103rd Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, ITS-Davis made a splash, with students and researchers participating in over 70 lectures, poster presentations, and workshops. In addition, several of our researchers and one recent graduate of our doctoral program were honored with significant awards.

The week’s events kicked off with an awards banquet hosted by the Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC), where ITS-Davis Director Dan Sperling received the CUTC-HNTB Lifetime Achievement Award for University Transportation Education and Research. This award is given annually to honor individuals who have had a long history of significant and outstanding contributions to university transportation research and education. Amy Lee, a graduate of the Transportation Technology and Policy Program, received the Charley V. Wootan Memorial Award for Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation in Policy and Planning. Amy is currently continuing her research as a postdoc at UCLA.

Susan Handy delivered the illustrious Thomas B. Deen Distinguished Lecture. Her talk, entitled “Shifting Gears: Reflections on the Role of Researchers in Shaping the Ideas that Shape Transportation,” addressed topics covered in her recently published book and was met with a standing ovation from the packed ballroom.

“ITS-Davis is flourishing and gaining worldwide attention for its impact,” said Director Dan Sperling. “We are one of the very elite university transportation centers in the world, thanks to the huge contributions by so many researchers, staff, students, and our alums. I am very proud of our team’s strong showing and well-deserved recognition at this year’s TRB conference.”

The National Center of Sustainable Transportation also hosted its 10th annual Capitol Hill Research Briefing, which this year focused on “Sustaining EV Transitions: Regulations, Batteries, and Supply Chains.” ITS-Davis researchers Gil Tal, Lew Fulton, Aditya Ramji, and Meg Slattery presented to more than 60 congressional staffers, academics, and members of the public and private sectors.

Researchers and students presented in lecture sessions, poster sessions, and workshops on each day of the conference, addressing diverse topics such as electric vehicle policies, sustainable aviation fuels, and innovation in accessible transportation and mobility.

ITS-Davis also continued the tradition of hosting an evening reception during the week, providing an opportunity for nearly 400 colleagues and friends to network, meet, and enjoy a welcome respite from the week’s stormy weather.

ITS-Davis policy staff, students, postdocs, researchers, and faculty participated in a whirlwind of meetings with congressional offices over the course of the week. Meetings were held with the offices of Representatives Mark DeSaulnier (CA-10), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Paul Tonko (NY-20), Doris Matsui (CA-07), John Garamendi (CA-08), and Mike Thompson (CA-04) and Senators Bernie Sanders (VT), Tammy Duckworth (IL), and Alex Padilla (CA). These meetings provided an opportunity for the ITS-Davis community to share policy-relevant research findings and hear directly from legislative offices about their sustainable transportation priorities.

Last fall, researchers from ITS-Davis and Georgia Tech published a paper describing their collaboration on a “Safe Systems Pyramid,” a framework for how to prioritize elements of the Safe Systems Approach that has long been touted in Europe and recently adopted by USDOT. In the spirit of bringing science to policy–one of the hallmarks of ITS-Davis–the Vision Zero Network and Institute of Transportation Engineers sponsored a TRB forum with the foremost researchers and policymakers invested in roadway safety and public health to push the Safe Systems Pyramid into policy and practice.

We hope you enjoyed this look at ITS-Davis’ presence at TRB 2024. What a way to start off the year!

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