Event Recap: Forward Summit Charlotte

Passport recently hosted its annual Forward Summit event in Charlotte, N.C., an insightful thought leadership conference where industry experts and municipal leaders gathered to learn from one another on how to manage the competing demands of the curb. 

Kicked off with a keynote address given by Anthony Foxx, United States Secretary of Transportation (2013-2017) and Former Chief Policy Officer at Lyft, the event was filled with engaging panel sessions discussing innovative methods and tools in shaping the future of mobility.

Other featured speakers included: 

  • Managing Legacy Infrastructure within Curb Digitization with Calvin Watts, City of Atlanta, Georgia;  Jennifer Kasper, City of Grand Rapids, Michigan; Tobi Marx, City of Bend, Oregon
  • A Look into the Complexity of Parking Environments with Faiyaz Patel, Toronto Parking Authority
  • The Importance of Equity in Mobility Management with Charles T. Brown, Equitable Cities
  • Connected Data, Governance & Policy Influence with Joseph Al-Hajeri, City of Austin, Texas;  Danielle Elkins, Civic Ideation;  Andrew Hastings, Open Mobility Foundation;  Matthew Currier, City of Raleigh, North Carolina

Key Takeaways

The Future is Now

“If you think about it, when the automobile came into existence, it was not certain that it would become the dominant way that people get from one place to another,” states Anthony Foxx. 

He continues his analogy with the idea that at the time, it might have looked crazy to invest a bunch of money and time into building street networks for new inventions. “And I would correlate that to where we are today with data and digitization of the transportation system; we are in a moment of transition.”

This sets the stage for the day and begs the question: How are industry leaders addressing the mobility challenges of today? 

Calvin Watts, Jennifer Kasper and Tobi Marx each speak to their journeys towards operational optimization when it comes to the ever-evolving infrastructure of their cities. Watts explains, “I always push to my colleagues: begin with the end in mind. If we start now, we’ll already be further along. “

Equity and Community Outreach 

Another challenge that is top of mind to mobility leaders? Equity – the fair distribution of resources and opportunities. 

One crucial aspect of this includes leveraging new technologies and ensuring community outreach is at the forefront when creating a digital curb strategy. “We are fundamentally seeing that there needs to be engagement with our customers and understanding behaviors,” Faiyaz Patel offers. 

Charles T. Brown echoes Patel and states that equity involves trying to understand and give people what they need to enjoy full, healthy lives. “Equity is the presence of justice and fairness within procedures, processes, and distribution of resources by institutions or systems,” Brown continues. By fostering equitable access to the curb, we can better serve all constituents and communities.

Using Data to Influence Policy

So how do industry leaders actually implement these strategies and keep the momentum pushing forward? It all comes down to data. 

When collecting data, we have to think about not only the content, but how that data is equitable in and of itself. Joseph Al-Hajeri and Matthew Currier speak to their respective methods in gathering data, but also learning how to use it most effectively. “What we try to do now is collect data from different sources in a way that focuses on where it’s coming from, so that we can aggregate it all in one place before displaying it to the public,” Al-Hajeri offers. 

On the other hand, Danielle Elkins and Andrew Hastings offer perspective on the risk of misinterpreting data and how officials can follow best practices when it comes to managing it. Elkins in particular notes the importance of responsible data-sharing, and how this allows us to find commonalities across different cities.

Similar to Passport’s Performance Benchmarking solution, when we analyze trends and make data-informed decisions, we ultimately create better community outcomes. 

Collaborative Efforts = Success

After each of the discussion panels, we broke out into collaborative sessions for a workshop dedicated to best practices in curbside digitization. Our attendees got to share ideas and insights with their peers and learn from one another with the goal of improving their approaches in dealing with the various challenges at the curb.

By creating a dialogue around parking and curb management, Passport fosters a community in which problem solving is at the forefront of everything we do. 

Check out our Forward Summit Sizzle Reel or watch the full recordings of each of the panels here.