TSR2019: Lead By Example Day 1

Our Annual Meeting, TSR2019: Lead By Example, was held in Washington, D.C. earlier this month and was a great success, thanks to amazing speakers, as well as guests and member companies in attendance. Executives from both the public and private sectors came together to share best practices, insights and stories around road safety, including: Vision Zero Fleet Safety, Smart Cities, Safer Cities, Cities for People, Safer Transportation, and more. You may peruse our full agenda here.

Our President, David Braunstein, welcomed the audience on Day 1, sharing recent new member news and insights into our latest program initiatives, including our efforts with the City of Houston and New York City.

Our members were then treated to a compelling session Moving People, Data & Freight, at ITSA’s Annual Meeting, where we were co-locating our event. The session included a panel on transit systems and the challenge to make roads safer for everyone: transits, vehicles, pedestrians, bikers, etc. While tech deployments are out there, the panel called for the next step: better engagement with the public. In the same session, Paul Misener, VP for Global Innovation and Policy at Amazon, talked about innovation, citing that experimentation and failure are to be expected at some level, in order to reach the highest levels of innovation.

Moving into lunch on Day 1, Geraldine Sweeney, Chief Strategy Advisor, New York City Mayor’s Office, gave the TSR2019 keynote, NYC Vision Zero. She shared plans and results to-date from the City’s Vision Zero initiatives, including an emphasis on the importance of fleets and partnerships. How is New York City making change happen on the streets? “Persistence is key to moving toward the goal of zero crashes,” according to Sweeney.

Our next session, Safer Cities: Anatomy of a Public-Private Partnership, focused on TSR’s current partnership with the City of Houston to implement meaningful on-the-ground improvements in Houston’s Gulfton neighborhood. Our own Noah Budnick moderated the panel, featuring Anne Whitlock of Connect Community and David McKenzie, Marketing and Corporate Social Responsibility Director at Anheuser-Busch In-Bev. They spoke about the vital importance of understanding not only crashes that take place, but near misses – “which are a leading indicator of crashes.”

We then moved into our Executive Session, “A Cross-Industry Perspective on Connected, Safer Transportation,” with panelists Andy York, Executive Director, Federal Affairs, GM; Jon Vander Ark, President, Republic Services; Andres Penate, VP, Public Affairs, Anheuser-Busch In-Bev; and Nicolas Berg, Chief Claims Officer, General Insurance North America, AIG.

Our moderator, Laura Chace, COO of ITSA, led the discussion, which provided a sweeping look at how private sector companies are addressing road safety challenges. Data and technology were a key focus but the panel also discussed how humans continue to play a key role in moving safety forward, even as we move closer to autonomous vehicles. “Balance is key – you have to balance what’s happening on the roads today with what to expect in the future,” said Andy York of GM.

Jon Vander Ark of Republic Services chimed in on the importance of active safety in both tech and training: “It has an enormous impact on our business and others moving forward,” he stated, and “We should demand more from our OEMs – demanding safety innovation for our fleets.” Distracted driving was a key challenge also discussed. According to Penate, “Change has to come by changing social norms. We need to understand how to influence the norms, in addition to technology advancements.”  Nicolas Berg of AIG emphasized the importance of working together for the best data insights to make change a reality: “We can leverage the analytics and data we have, but partnering is also critical – telematics data, OEM data, etc. Together, we can drive and change outcomes and create new opportunities for road safety.”

We closed an active first day of the conference with our Innovation Walkshop and Lyft Capital Bikeshare and Scooter Share ToursMeeting attendees were treated to a walk, bike or scooter ride around D.C., hosted by personal guides to explain the many innovative road projects happening throughout the city.

Emily Dalphy, Transportation Engineer from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) provided an overview of D.C.’s Vision Zero initiatives and goals to set the stage for the tours: “No loss of life is acceptable.”

Read about our Day 2 sessions and insights, here.