Thousands of leaders from around the world are coming together in Orlando, Fla., for the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) TRANSform Conference & EXPO to see the industry’s latest innovations and technologies. Last held in 2017 with 15,000 attendees and more than 800 exhibitors from around the globe, this event plays a pivotal role in reconnecting the industry to what’s now and what’s next in public transportation.
APTA’s TRANSform Conference and EXPO will offer the diverse public transportation industry the opportunity to showcase a wide-array of technologies and practices that can greatly enhance the passenger experience, streamline system management, improve safety, and increase sustainability. For manufacturers and suppliers, the event will be a one-stop shop to interact with transit agencies, policy makers, regulators, and customers to preview and explore future innovations. Attendees can register online for both EXPO and the TRANSform Conference.
With millions of people relying on buses, trains, and light rail to travel, public transportation is essential to economic recovery and keeping life moving in most U.S. cities and metropolitan areas. Prior to the pandemic, approximately nine out of 10 public transit trips directly impacted the economy, either providing job access or connecting people to retail and entertainment venues. And, the value of this industry has never been more evident, with some employers citing access to public transit as a key factor in determining new locations for their businesses.
“Our industry is extensive and complex; it brings together innovation and new technologies in ways that lead to advancing public transportation for the betterment of our nation,” said T.J. Doyle, APTA’s VP, communications, and marketing. “As our nation begins to recover, public transportation will help drive economic growth, tackle climate change, advance equity issues, and provide our growing communities sustainable mobility options.”
With attendees and exhibitors from all aspects of the transit industry, EXPO offers a unique opportunity to stay ahead of the curve by allowing attendees and exhibitors to learn where the industry is — and isn’t — headed. From visibility to credibility, those exhibiting at EXPO, from large manufacturers, such as New Flyer, Nova Bus, BYD, and Proterra, to new entrepreneurial businesses, will have a powerful platform to launch products, increase brand awareness, conduct competitive research, and expand their professional network. In addition to the exhibit floor, APTA’s TRANSform Conference offers educational sessions and networking events exclusively for their attendees that expose participants to new people, new businesses, and new ways of thinking.
Advances in technology change the way people move and interact with cities, and exciting innovations are bringing about safety improvements, increased operational improvements, autonomous vehicles, and continuous exchanges of information. Many are unveiled at EXPO, and it will be exciting to see what new advances await attendees in Orlando this Fall. For example, in 2017, there were several new mobile applications that demonstrated increasing efficiency in managing payments, tracking vehicle progress, and requesting services, as well as software-enhanced surveillance systems with predictive analytics that could analyze, and identify suspicious activities and automatically relay information to control centers to keep travelers safer.
After postponing the event in 2020, APTA moved the TRANSform Conference and EXPO to sunny Orlando. The decision was made based on Orlando’s success of hosting over 50 events safely since March of 2021. APTA is continuously working with the Orange County Convention Center, the city of Orlando, and hotel partners to provide every precaution necessary to ensure a safe and productive experience.
Day One begins with the Opening General Session and keynote address by Dr. Cady Coleman. The session will address the association’s initiatives to support the industry as it adapts to the dual challenges of preparing for tomorrow while delivering high-quality service for the present-day.
Coleman is a former NASA Astronaut and U.S. Air Force Colonel with more than 180 days in space, accumulated during two space shuttle missions and a six-month expedition to the International Space Station.
The opening session will feature APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas as the presiding officer, the chair’s message by Rock Island County Metropolitan Mass Transit District CEO Jeffrey A. Nelson, and the host welcome by Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority CEO James E. Harrison.
The General Session: Federal Partners Update will run from 1:30-3 p.m. People can attend this session to learn about our federal partners’ current initiatives and priorities.
The session will begin with a fireside chat between FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez and FRA Deputy Administrator Amit Bose on the state of the industry, COVID-19 funding, administration priorities, and IIJA opportunities.
It will be followed by a panel discussion of top government officials discussing all aspects of safety. AMTRAK President Stephen J. Gardner will be one of the panelists for the discussion.
There will be more sessions from 3:30 to 5 p.m., with the day culiminating with the Committee of Audit Professionals from 5 to 6 p.m. and the Research & Technology Committee session from 5:15 to 6:30 p.m.