In the city where the United States Constitution was written, and the Declaration of Independence was signed, Philadelphia is a special place to hold our conference, especially one that deals directly with transportation equity, effective regulation and accessibility for all. We are at a critical juncture in the field of ground transportation regulation, where major multi-modal changes are taking place involving innovative technologies, business models, new mobility options and approaches. Like when our nation’s founding fathers convened in Philadelphia, to initiate a long-lasting experiment in Democracy at a critical time over 240 years ago, it is very appropriate for government transportation officials to think outside the box, contemplate and prepare for future scenarios that are rapidly approaching. As such, this year’s theme for the International Association of Transportation Regulators (IATR’s) 31st annual conference is “Regulatory Freedom!”

The aim of this important conference, as we enter our next 30+ years as an organization, is to train new regulators to prepare for the future, explore new approaches to public-private partnerships and work with other modes, government agencies and private businesses and organizations that may not have been on regulators’ radar screens – and to better understand the big picture of this quickly evolving mobility landscape. While major changes are expected for the long-term future of transportation, just like the U.S. Constitution endeavors to protect those who are our most vulnerable citizens, this conference is focusing on ensuring how transportation officials can achieve, promote and secure transportation equity to service underserved areas, promote a fair working environment for drivers, provide service to people with disabilities and ensure safety for all in regulating new transportation technologies. The IATR’s constitution will be figuratively re-written at our conference, as we move forward in a different direction, by declaring our independence from the old paradigm and way of thinking, and to embrace new ideas and synergies.

Our conference will be held September 14-17, 2018 at the Logan Hotel in Philadelphia, Pa. The full preliminary program, registration and hotel accommodation information can be accessed at, along with our sponsorship menu at Other information can be accessed on our website:


Keynote Speakers to Cover FTA, TRB & Congestion Pricing

A wide variety of keynote speakers will be delivering lectures on cutting-edge issues affecting transportation regulation and mobility. Vincent Valdes, Associate Administrator for the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT), leads a group of program managers, transportation specialists and engineers who work on FTA’s critical transit research program. The program provides a forum for transit research at the national level and facilitates the development of innovative transit practices and technologies to support national public transportation. Associate Administrator Valdes will also discuss the U.S. DOT’s Mobility-on-Demand (MOB) Sandbox Program, which awarded grants to several jurisdictions and cities for their own innovative solutions to transportation issues, as well as plans for FTA Sandbox 2.0. A representative of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academy of Sciences will also deliver a speech on how TRB is working with the IATR, as well as research priorities that impact regulators, including automated and connected vehicle, shared mobility, accessibility and equity. Finally, “Gridlock Sam” Schwartz, the former NYC Traffic Commissioner who coined the term “gridlock,” and who was the architect of MOVE NY’s toll equity plan, will discuss the history and ongoing debate involving congestion pricing in New York City – including the passage of a new law in NY that will mandate all for-hire vehicles and taxicabs entering Manhattan’s central business district to pay a congestion charge to fund the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, as of January 1, 2019.


Regulator Bootcamp Training 2.0: Continuing Education Credits for Lawyers, Urban Planners and Engineers

By popular demand, the Austin Inaugural Boot Camp Training is back for an all-day training session in Philly. This training day is a great way to meet new and experienced regulators in a smaller, more collaborative setting. Trainees are encouraged to network with experts in the field to learn best practices that may apply to multiple jurisdictions. Topics will include regulatory basics, but also workshops on specialized topics, including an introduction to Transportation Network Company (TNC) regulations, accessible transportation laws and policy, data privacy/access and automated and connected vehicles (AVs/CVs).

IATR is pleased to announce it is now offering continuing professional education credits for the following programs: Multi-state Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits for lawyers (pending); Continued Maintenance (CM) for urban planners; and Continuing Education Units (CEU) for engineers. We encourage conference registrants to reserve their spot now as space is limited. At least for this year, there are no extra fees – boot camp training will be offered for free to regulators who are attending the conference as part of the overall registration fee.


IATR Advisory Board & IATR Committees

To facilitate multi-modal integration, and to share and promote best practices and partnerships with other organizations, many members or representatives of the IATR’s robust Advisory Board will be present at the conference. The advisory board includes the following academic, non-profit and government member organizations: the Alliance for Transportation Innovation (ATI21) –; the National Conference on Weights and Measures –; the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) –; the Responsible Hospitality Institute (RHI) –; the Airport Ground Transportation Association (AGTA) –; Keroul –; the National Conference of State Transportation Specialists (NCSTS) –; the University Transportation Research Center (UTRC) Region 2 –; the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) –; the Transportation Sustainability Research Center (TSRC) at the University of California, Berkeley –; the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) –; the International Transport Form, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (ITF-OECD) –; and the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) –

In addition, the very active IATR committees for Technology & Innovation, Accessible Transportation and Canadian Regulators will meet in person, with special guests and agendas in breakout sessions.


Day 1 – Smart Urban Mobility – Technology, Shared Mobility &Mobility As A Service

The theme for Day 1 will be “Smart Urban Mobility – Technology, Shared Mobility and Mobility as A Service (MAAS).”  Experts in the field will discuss how cities and countries around the world are dedicating resources to multi-modal integration, collaboration and coordination, with an emphasis on “Smart Cities,” the use of transportation data for policymaking and service delivery, and how technology can be used to leverage seamless connections between public and private transport modes, as well as to encourage first-and-last mile solutions and shared rides.

The first panel, entitled “Alternative Mobility & Multi-Modal Integration: Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and Shared-Use Mobility,” will cover what future cities and suburbs may look like in the near and long-term, as well as who and how mobility will be managed. Day 1 will also feature a thought provoking panel on “The Socio-Economic Impacts of Automated and Connected Vehicles” on ground transportation mobility regulation and policy, where the focus will not just be on technology, but how transportation officials should prepare and define their roles as they with other governmental agencies and private industry.

Also, there will be a panel entitled “Planning for an Integrated, Innovative and Multi-Modal Future,” designed to discuss transportation planning, the history and role of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), and the opportunities for collaboration with transportation regulators.

As data mining, collection, privacy and access are so important to both present and future efforts to regulate and manage ground transportation, a first-ever interactive session that involves “War Games” for “Data Mining” will showcase how taxi, TNC and other transportation data is analyzed to shape policy and regulatory management, with real life data analytics and policymaking exercises.


Day 2 – Transportation Equity

The theme of Day 2 will feature workshops about “Transportation Equity.” Sessions will include the finalist or winner of the “Accessible Transportation Solutions Data Challenge” (a “hack-a-thon” over an extended timeframe of several weeks), where the IATR data commons was used by students and researchers to develop solutions to specific challenge questions developed by the IATR’s technology/innovation and accessibility committees. A robust panel has been convened on Day 2 called “Public Paratransit & Wheelchair Accessible Services: On Demand Multi-Modal Integration,” which will feature several public transit agencies that have integrated taxicabs, for-hire vehicles and/or TNCs as part of public paratransit programs, leveraging on-demand smartphone applications and other technologies to enhance service for people with disabilities.

Looking toward the horizon, another panel on Day 2 is entitled “Regulator Star Trek – The Next Generation.” New regulators who have graduated from IATR’s boot camp will direct the starship towards new, innovative ideas for a wide variety of regulatory issues, including accessibility, data platforms, licensing, enforcement and alternative fueled vehicles.


Day 3 – Safety

Day 3 of the conference will address safety related issues, and a very important panel – led by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH, within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) – will moderate, “Are the Drivers Alright? Training, Safety, Benefits & Wages.” Experts from academic, industry, and nonprofit sectors will converge to discuss driver suicides, crimes against drivers, increased traffic and congestion, medallion asset devaluation, lack of health and related benefits and potential job elimination due to autonomous vehicles – issues which may have created or contributed to a negative (or even toxic) working environment for many drivers. The goal is to explore best practices and trends in regulation, or the lack of regulation or business models that may have created these problems – and what, if any, regulatory, policy or other solutions might alleviate or address working conditions.

Transportation regulation has undergone seismic changes in the last 5 to 10 years, and with new technologies emerging, there are no signs of slowing down. We hope everyone will participate, as we transition into a new phase of regulatory freedom and innovation with IATR. The time has come for us to hold our “IATR Constitutional Convention,” where we revisit what we do, why we do it, and how we can do it better – working together under a new paradigm and charting a new course for our future.

Sign-up and register now as seats at the table are limited and filling up quickly!

Article by Matthew W. Daus, Esq.
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