Conference Program Spotlight: Plenaries for Tuesday July 18

Tuesday July 18 emphasizes innovation of ideas and planning for the future. What do “future communities” look like? And how as planners can we make this a reality?

*Both plenaries may be eligible for CM credits.

Plenary – Autonomous Vehicles and Other Mobility Technologies: What’s on the Horizon and How Will it Impact Planning? (8am to 9am)

The predicted arrival of connected, autonomous vehicles on our streets and highways, if realized, promises to revolutionize mobility. However, the impacts on cities and some of planning's most fundamental objectives are far from clear.

Join our panel of experts who will describe current and developing mobility technologies, including what we’re likely to see on our transportation system, and when. Learn more about the potential impacts of driverless cars and other new mobility technologies not just on travel behavior but land use, economic development, and sustainability.

The role of planners at the regional and local levels should be ever more important, as streets and neighborhoods will be the most challenging sites for implementing this new form of mobility.


Andy Alden, Executive Director, Interstate 81 Corridor Coalition; Virginia Tech Transportation Institute

Andy is a registered professional engineer who has worked in the environmental and information technology fields, as well as the development and deployment of vehicle data acquisition systems. His current focus is advancing safe and sustainable transportation through the application of emerging and alternative technologies. Recent research has focused on automated “last mile” shuttles, road weather safety, bus transit efficiency, animal-vehicle conflict, road deicing salt impacts, and unmanned aerial systems in support of surface transportation.

Andrew Mondschein, PhD, AICP, Assistance Professor, University of Virginia

Andrew is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning at UVA. He studies transportation systems and travel behavior, examining the effects of new technology on travel and accessibility and methods for integrating new technologies into transportation planning. Recent research includes the effects of autonomous vehicles (AV’s) on walking and biking, the use of social media content to examine multimodal travel, interactions between nature and accessibility in walking behavior, and wearable sensing for travel and environment data.

*Sponsored by the APA’s Transportation Planning Division. Join today!

Plenary – Smart Cities: Enablers, Challenges, and Opportunities (11am to Noon)

Transforming our villages, towns, and cities into smart and connected communities is arguably the most pressing technological challenge for the coming decade.

Some of the key technological enablers for this transformation include: a) the so-called Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem which is expected to connect a heterogeneous mix of objects ranging from smartphones and tablets to vehicles, sensors, wearables, physical objects, and people, b) intelligent and autonomous transportation systems, and c) smart power systems and smart buildings. Collectively, these innovations will provide cities with the much needed intelligence, autonomy, and connectivity that will realize the vision of truly smart environments.

This plenary will present a broad view on the smart cities vision, while discussing its enabling technologies with a focus on the challenges and opportunities associated with each one of them. “Future communities” start with smart ideas.


Walid Saad, PhD, Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech

Walid is an Assistant Professor and the Steven O. Lane Junior Faculty Fellow at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech, where he leads the Network Science, Wireless, and Security (NetSciWiS) laboratory, within the Wireless@VT research group. His research interests include wireless networks, game theory, cybersecurity, unmanned aerial vehicles, and cyber-physical systems.

Walid received his Ph.D degree from the University of Oslo in 2010.

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