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APTA Mobility 2024

We review Basemap's attendance of APTA Mobility 2024 in Portland, Oregon.

This April, Basemap journeyed to the West Coast of America for the APTA Mobility Conference 2024 and International Bus Rodeo. Held in Portland, Oregon, and hosted by TriMet, the event attracted over 2000 attendees. Upon our arrival on Saturday, we were equipped with a 7-day TriMet travel pass, which made our journey from the airport to downtown seamless. Forty minutes aboard the MAX Red Line brought us to Pioneer Square, right by our hotel. The conference kicked off on Sunday with a vibrant opening ceremony featuring local performers, followed by an evening reception where Dan enjoyed sampling local beers and cuisine.

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The sessions

On Monday, the APTA chair proudly announced that public transport usage in the U.S. had rebounded to 81%, bolstered by a bipartisan infrastructure bill that invested $65 billion into public transit, with a notable expansion in Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) projects across the country. Additional sessions covered the shift from historical over-reliance on highway expansion to a more sustainable focus on public transit—a significant development!

A particularly enlightening session discussed public transit improvements for better access, highlighting that TransLink in Vancouver was losing 1% of bus mileage annually due to city congestion. Despite this, over a million residents use public transit weekly, representing 90% of pre-pandemic usage, with a network that includes 1400 buses and 220 routes. Both Anaheim and Pinellas's Sunset Coast shared insights into micro-transit and their extended BRT routes. Anaheim is gearing up for LA28, anticipating a significant increase from the current 10 million passenger journeys.

A recurring theme throughout the conference was the change in travel habits post-COVID, with many transit agencies noting midday and weekend peaks that did not exist before. Jarrett Walker author of the popular Human Transit book further discussed the evolving peak times in transit, emphasizing more diverse, interconnected services that enhance access to opportunities beyond downtown commutes.

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The Second Day

The second day featured insightful discussions with representatives from the federal government and cities like Portland, New York, and Miami. Ydanis Rodriguez, Commissioner for the NYC Department of Transportation, talked about significant increases in bus and cycle trips over the past year. Mayor Travis Stovall of Gresham introduced the term "Poverty to Prosperity," noting that residents prioritize affordable childcare and connected transit. Eileen Higgins, County Commissioner for Miami-Dade Transit, spoke on transit-oriented development in response to Miami's landlocked challenges.

Tuesday’s trade show offered valuable interactions with various transit agencies, all focused on evaluating the effectiveness of their networks. We eagerly anticipate following up on these conversations.

The conference concluded with a robust discussion on the significance of mobility hubs as crucial for enhancing access for all.

As we reflect on a successful conference, we are excited to see continued U.S. investment in transit. Our TRACC software is already playing a role in identifying areas for these critical investments.