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Forum + Series (On Demand - and May 18, 2021 at 9:00am CST

Emerging Technology and Freight – How TxDOT is innovating to make freight movement safer and more efficient

Texas and TxDOT are leaders in the effort to plan, innovate and partner with the freight industry as it embarks on autonomous freight initiatives. Beverly West, with TxDOT's Strategic Planning Division, will guide us through sessions focused on key initiatives across TxDOT related to emerging technology in freight. Joe Hunt, with TxDOT's Traffic Safety Division, will discuss the Texas Connected Freight Corridors Project, and two initiatives led by TxDOT's Transportation Planning & Programming Division: the Truck Parking Availability System along I-10 that stretches all the way out to California, and the Freight Network Technology Operations Plan. We will also hear from the Texas Transportation Institute about recent research related to truck platooning and freight automation. Rounding out the session, a panel produced by PAVE, featuring TxDOT's Director of Strategy and Innovation, Darran Anderson, and representatives from the autonomous freight industry, will discuss what Texas is doing to help incubate this emerging industry.

Darran Anderson
Director of Strategy and Innovation, TxDOT
Robert Brown
Senior Director of External Affairs, TuSimple
Dan Goff
Head of Policy, Kodiak Robotics
Richard Bishop
Principal, Bishop Consulting
Beverly West
Strategy & Planning Section Director, Strategic Planning Division, TxDOT
Joe Hunt
Traffic Management Section Director, Traffic Safety Division, TxDOT

Watch the live event on the Virtual Attendee Hub

Forum+ Content

Forum+ Series (LIVE event - April 14, 2021 at 10:00 am CST)

Texas-Mexico Border Transportation Master Plan with Texas Secretary of State Ruth R. Hughs

The master plan is the result of years of research and analysis of current and future transportation needs and growth within the border region as well as input from BTAC members and stakeholders throughout the Texas-Mexico border region. These collaborative efforts resulted in the recommendation of strategies that will continue to support local, state, and U.S.-Mexican federal officials in coordinating and improving operational efficiency and facilitating the movement of freight, goods, and people across Texas' 28 border crossings. Join TxDOT’s Caroline Mays as she discusses the plan with Texas Secretary of State Ruth R. Hughs.

Caroline Mays (Moderator)
Freight and International Trade Connect Director, Transportation Planning and Programming Division, TxDOT
Ruth R. Hughs
Texas Secretary of State

Watch the live event on the Virtual Attendee Hub

Forum+ Series (March 2021)

Beyond Roads: Modal Transportation Update - Now On-Demand!

Texas has an extensive and diverse multimodal transportation network that includes aviation, rail, public transit, ports, waterways, bicycle and pedestrian modes. This program will highlight the role that these modes play in supporting our state’s mobility and economy along with how the Texas Department of Transportation supports these critical systems throughout the state.

Marc Williams (Moderator)
Deputy Executive Director, Texas Department of Transportation
Dan Harmon, Director, Aviation Division, TxDOT
Geir-Eilif Kalhagen, Director, Maritime Division, TxDOT
Public Transit, Bikes and Pedestrians
Eric Gleason, Director, Public Transportation Division, TxDOT
Peter Espy, Director, Rail Division, TxDOT

Texas Transportation e-Forum (February 2021)


General Session I – Now On-Demand!

A Conversation with TxDOT Executive Director James Bass

Like the rest of the nation and the world, TxDOT dealt with the ongoing effects of COVID-19 on its operations, along with its daily duties of managing the state’s transportation network for 29 million Texans. That’s a lot on the agency’s collective plate, and this new year also brings a new legislative session to Austin, complete with questions from state leaders and legislators about how TxDOT has met its mission of Connecting You With Texas. In this session, TxDOT Executive Director James Bass and TxDOT Chief of Staff Mary Anne Griss will talk about how TxDOT has managed to operate in the era of COVID - and still connect Texans to what’s important to them - and what’s on the horizon for TxDOT for 2021.

Texas Legislative Outlook

Transportation is always a popular topic during a legislative session, and with lawmakers already beginning the work of making state laws during the 87th session which began January 12th, it’s a sure bet that transportation will work its way into the conversations. Legislation has already been filed to have drivers of alternative vehicles pay an additional registration or renewal fee for using Texas roads, and one bill could change how much Texas drivers pay at the pump for gas and diesel fuels. In this session, TxDOT’s State Legislative Affairs Director Trent Thomas and SLA’s assistant director, Cory Henrickson, talk about how transportation, in general, and TxDOT, in particular, may be part of the discussion this session.

Interview with State Senator Robert Nichols the Chairman of the Texas Senate Transportation Committee

Since his eight-year term as a member of the Texas Transportation Commission and now into his 13th year as a member of the Texas Senate, Robert Nichols has been a stalwart supporter of transportation and finding new ways to improve infrastructure. In this session, Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Nichols will have an engaging conversation with TxDOT Executive Director James Bass about his transportation perspective and his thoughts on making the job of moving people and products in and through the Lone Star State a continued priority.

Interview with Texas State Representative Terry Canales

In this session, we’ll cross the Capitol Rotunda and talk to Rep. Terry Canales and get his take on where transportation is headed in Texas as well as what’s ahead with respect to multimodal transportation.

Interview with Texas Speaker Dade Phelan

It’s been less than a month since the gavel sounded that began the opening of the 87th Legislative Session. Not only did it bring with it some operational changes for representatives and senators who must manage their duties through the lens of COVID safety precautions, but it also bought a new Speaker of the House, four new senators and 16 new representatives. Members have a full agenda: Texas’ recovery from the effects of the virus, the challenge of balancing a budget that begins with slightly less revenue than the previous session and continued social unrest in our nation. In this session, TxDOT’s Jerry Haddican will interview the newest Speaker of the House, Dade Phelan, as he gives his take on what’s ahead.

Outlook for Transportation in the 117th Congress with Congressman Colin Allred

Please join us for a conversation with Congressman Colin Allred (TX-32) of Dallas. The Congressman is returning as a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and will discuss a wide range of topics expected to be addressed by the Committee as the 117th Congress gets underway. These include a new bill for highway funding and related policies, the potential for a vast infrastructure bill to help stimulate the economy, and issues such as the continued emergence of drones and innovative transportation technologies. TxDOT’s Melanie Alvord sits down with Congressman Allred for a one on one interview.

Looking Ahead Interview with AASHTO’s Joung Lee, Director of Policy and Government Relations

In December, Congress approved $10 billion in COVID relief funding for state departments of transportation. But a COVID backstop is just one concern for DOTs across the country. Many are facing financial shortages that only spell fewer projects - and less progress - for hundreds of millions of drivers across the nation. And some DOTs are still grappling with how to improve diversity among its workforce, with developing its employees for the future of transportation. In this session, TxDOT’s Megan Kinney interviews Joung Lee, the director of Policy and Government Relations at the American Association of Highway Transportation Officials to find out what challenges DOTs are facing and what they should prepare for.

What is on the horizon Interview with ITS America’s Shailen Bhatt, President and CEO

It seems that every day, the headlines announce some new technology that will change transportation as we know it. With the prospect of fully automated self-driving cars on the horizon, and manufacturers making moves in that direction with every new make and model, we get closer to that reality with each passing year. But just how close are we? And what do state DOTs need from the new Congress and new administration in Washington to move the needle? In this session with TxDOT Deputy Director Marc Williams will interview the president and CEO of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America, the premier organization devoted to advancing the research and deployment of intelligent transportation technologies, we’ll find out just how far we have to go.

Texas Transportation Commission Progress Report with Chairman J. Bruce Bugg, Jr.

When Texas Transportation Commission Chairman J. Bruce Bugg took the helm of the governing body for the Texas Department of Transportation in 2017, he gave TxDOT the mantra of “Execute. Execute. Execute.” TxDOT has followed that marching order, and today more than $24 billion in construction and maintenance projects are underway around the state, and some $74.7 billion is planned over the next decade. In this session, Chairman Bugg gives an update on the progress TxDOT is making in connecting Texas and balancing the needs of a large, diverse and growing state.

Interview with Texas Governor Greg Abbott

As Governor Greg Abbott heads into his fourth legislative session since taking the state’s highest office, he and state leaders will be tackling the issues most important to Texas and Texans. This certainly will include transportation and its role as one of the cornerstones of the Texas economy. To discuss the Governor’s ongoing vision for the success of Texas, and how the state’s transportation network plays into that vision, Texas Transportation Commission Chairman J. Bruce Bugg, Jr. will go straight to the source in a dynamic one-on-one conversation with Gov. Abbott.

General Session II – Now On-Demand!

Panel A: Relieving Traffic Chokepoints with Texas Clear Lanes

Though COVID-19 brought lower traffic volumes at the height of stay-at-home orders in 2020, the Texas population continues to grow with the majority of Texans living and working in the state’s largest metro areas. This panel will feature an engaging discussion around TxDOT’s Texas Clear Lanes initiative to provide congestion relief for the top chokepoints in the state. Panelists will discuss what’s been accomplished to date, what remains to be done, and why congestion relief is more important than ever for the state’s long-term success.

Brian Barth (Moderator)
Director, Project Planning and Development, Texas Department of Transportation
Commissioner Robert C. Vaughn
Texas Transportation Commissioner
Ashby Johnson
Executive Director, Capitol Area Metropolitan Planning Organization
Tim Lomax
TTI, Research Fellow
Gina Gallegos
District Engineer, San Antonio, Texas Department of Transportation
Panel B: Rural Corridors Moving Texas’ Economy

Texas, despite its regional and geographic differences, is connected by its transportation system. Its 197,000 miles of roadway, more than 10,500 miles of rail and its 379 miles of Gulf Intracoastal Waterway together create an interwoven system that allows its citizens to seamlessly travel from one end of the state to the other. It’s our transportation network that makes it possible for cotton baled in Lubbock to travel by rail to Fort Worth where it hops another train to California before it is loaded on a ship bound for the Far East. It’s our transportation system that blurs the lines between rural and metro because Texas’ economic competitiveness depends on that connection. In this session, our invited panelists have an open discussion about the importance of ensuring that this system continues to work together for the good of the state.

Commissioner Alvin New (Moderator)
Texas Transportation Commission
Mayor Dan Pope
City of Lubbock
Gerry Schwebel
Vice President, IBC Bank
The Honorable Sydney Murphy
Polk County Judge
Steve Warren
District Engineer, Lubbock, Texas Department of Transportation


General Session III – Now On-Demand!

Panel C: The Road to Zero, What Will It Take?

The last deathless day on Texas roads was Nov. 7, 2000, and in that time, more than 71,000 Texans have lost their lives in traffic crashes. That’s 71,000 mothers, fathers, children and friends – and their loved ones must contend with their absences every day. TxDOT has been sounding the clarion call that Texas must find a way to stop the streak of deadly deaths. So far, the call has gone unanswered as Texans continue to needlessly die on our state’s roads. These deaths - these losses - are preventable.

Raquelle Lewis (Moderator)
PIO Section Director, Texas Department of Transportation
Commissioner Laura Ryan
Texas Transportation Commission
The Honorable Lucas Wilson
City of Round Rock Judge
Sergeant Stephen Woodard
Public Information Officer, Texas Department of Public Safety
Panel D: TechDOT

In a major urban center in Texas, an unmanned vehicle delivers medicine and groceries to a family quarantined and taking care of ill family members. At the same time, autonomous trucks travel along various interstates with a safety driver’s hands hovering over the steering wheel, but with little need to make contact. Meanwhile, all over the state, Texans purchase their first vehicles with systems that automate several tasks - like staying in a given lane or parallel parking - tasks once relegated to the driver. Welcome to the world of emerging transportation technologies. The list of real-world, here-and-now connected and automated deployments on Texas roads grows every day. What is going on around the state and what do we need to do to prepare our roadways and our people? In this TechDOT session, TxDOT talks about vehicle automation with private sector deployers to explore how federal and state cooperation can keep positive improvements going and to find out where this is all heading.

Darran Anderson (Moderator)
Director of Strategy and Innovation, Texas Department of Transportation
Gerado Interiano
VP of Government Relations and Public Affairs, Aurora
Sola Lawal
Product Operations Manager, Nuro
Robert Brown
Head of Government and Public Affairs, TuSimple
Sam Dreiman
Public Policy and Government Relations Western U.S. Lead, Argo
Panel E: How Has Covid-19 Impacted Transportation Now…What About The Future?

Throughout 2020, the pandemic and its economic and social effects have impacted virtually every aspect of our lives, including if and how we travel as well as how we receive our goods and services. As vaccines are distributed and we hope for a recovery from the pandemic in 2021, what further changes could we expect in transportation? Will growth continue in online purchase and home delivery of goods and services? Will the work at home trend continue? When and how will air travel and public transit rebound? This panel will address these and other questions as we explore what normal may look like for transportation once we get back to normal?

Marc Williams (Moderator)
Deputy Executive Director, Texas Department of Transportation
Neil J. Pedersen
Executive Director, Transportation Research Board, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
Dr. Lloyd B. Potter
State Demographer of Texas
The program is subject to change without notice. Be sure to check the program page often for updates.
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