ASCE’s 2nd T&DI Green Streets and Highways Conference was held in Austin from November 3-6, 2013. The conference covered a wide range of topics on sustainability and many of the attendees were young professionals who see sustainability as the crux of their career. The keynote speakers knew their audience: a dynamic crowd of transportation professionals who are concerned about the transportation world of the future.
One of the speakers was Ryan Gravel, a senior urban designer at Perkins+Will. He gave a presentation on the Atlanta Beltline, a project near and dear to his heart. That plan, now a 3,000 acre corridor creating a loop of new development, transit, and parks around the central city, began as Gravel’s master’s thesis when he was a student at Georgia Tech. Beyond his description of the Beltline’s remarkable progress and future plans, his presentation served as a reminder that even young professionals can have a dramatic impact on the development of cities and urban transportation networks.
Active Sport Environments
The speakers at the closing event touched on a sustainable transportation concept that is certainly among the least-studied modes: skateboarding. Kanten Russell and Michael McIntyre design skate parks and other “active sport environments.” Both made the point that the parks are very well suited for urban design and can be placed in locations that are unsuitable for nearly any other use, including under freeway overpasses and bridges.
In addition to the technical sessions and keynote speeches, Elise Barrella organized a dinner for the younger member attendees at the conference. The group of twelve went to Serranos, a local favorite that serves Tex-Mex and mesquite grilled items. Over dinner and drinks, the group discussed career plans, travel goals, and their thoughts on the first day of the conference. These younger members were an extremely well-educated group, with more than half having or in the process of obtaining a doctoral degree.
Clearly the topic of sustainability in transportation attracts some of the brightest minds in the field, and the Green Streets and Highways Conference was designed to take advantage of the demand for new transportation solutions.
Younger Member Group
T&DI Calendar of Events
Committee on Sustainability and Environment