Ieave Your Regulatory Heart in San Francisco &
Pack Your IATR Saddles for Austin, Texas
“Keeping Regulation Weird?”
December 13-17, 2021
Hot off the heels of IATR’s visit to “Silicon Valley” in 2016, we are ready to share a regulatory ride to Austin’s ” Silicon Hills.” Keeping consistent with transportation technology trends, our 2017 conference will be at the epicenter of one of the U.S.’s fastest growing tech business hubs – Austin, Texas – from September 24th – 27th at the Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol. To learn more about the program, sponsorship opportunities and to register, please visit www.iatr.global and to be placed on our listserv or mailing list to receive further information, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The San Francisco 2016 conference had IATR moving into different topics and directions, with our first-ever Hack-A-Thon, and sessions on cutting edge transportation technology and policy. The 2016 conference included a workshop on universal taxi apps, shared mobility case studies, soft meters, Vision Zero and related telematics technology, wheelchair accessibility, airport issues, and keynote speeches on equity and autonomous/connected vehicles by current and former government commissioners and high-level government executives. IATR members in good standing will be receiving videos, presentations and papers from the conference as part of the members’ only portal.
Our 2017 conference location is known as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” with every music genre imaginable showcased on famous 6th and Rainey Streets, and almost everywhere within “Austin City Limits.” The affordable and amazing cuisine, especially smoked BBQ and Mexican food, complements this unique emerging community. In the past Austin has been voted one of the best places to live by Money magazine, the Greenest City in America by MSN Travel and Leisure, and one of the best places to retire. In addition many start or grow their careers in technology, music and entertainment, or obtain their education in this college football town of the Texas Longhorns. A perfect example of how important music is to everything in Austin is the expansion of the internationally known “South by Southwest” music festival, into a technology start-up fest which precedes this.
Austinites are known for embracing their city’s so-called “weirdness,” and transportation regulators everywhere have likewise had no choice but to adapt or reluctantly embrace the bizarre and inconsistent set of regulations involving TNCs. Even weirder is the increasing number of laws (state TNC legislation), legal and policy issues (labor, privacy, competition, the environment, insurance, and self-regulation), and the growing number of government agencies that regulate (which now may include more motor vehicle departments). Also, another weird development is the new and evolving transport modes and services that intersect and overlap with for-hire regulation – including public paratransit, automobile manufacturing, big data capture, logistics (food and package delivery), telematics devices and software; basically, more modes and stakeholders, and new products, services and entities overall.
ABOUT AUSTIN, TEXAS
Austin prides itself on the concept of “sense of place” – preserving the Austin quality of life and promoting an environmental agenda. Home to cutting-edge shared mobility car and bike sharing services, electric vehicles, and pedicabs, transportation officials are experimenting with solutions to the overwhelming personal motor vehicle (PMV) use, and the lack of a comprehensive mass transit and rail system. IATR will showcase this unique city in transition, as the perfect place to visually observe policy and innovation in action.
2017 CONFERENCE THEME
One of the tourism themes in this growing, diverse and tech savvy city is “Keep Austin Weird.” This phrase, coined by a local librarian to guard against irresponsible over development, portrays the desire to protect small, unique and local businesses from being overrun by large corporations. The IATR’s 2017 conference theme of “Keeping Regulation Weird” cannot be more apropos given that Austin is the only city in the U.S. where, ironically, one of the largest tech start-ups ever (Uber), had its operating authority suspended pending compliance with local requirements. Meanwhile, other competing licensed transport app services have managed to fill this niche. The phrase “Don’t Mess with Texas” takes on an entirely new meaning, as many will be closely observing the start of the 2017 bi-annual legislative session in Austin, the Capitol of Texas, where TNCs were defeated in their last attempt to vitiate local for-hire transportation regulation.
First, building on our first-ever Hack-A-Thon in San Francisco, visiting another growing tech hub, the IATR Hack-A-Thon winner or finalists will be given an entire year to develop their solutions and establish a prototype or thorough set of solutions to the equity and mobility-related challenges raised. They will receive awards and acknowledgment and present their solutions to regulators.
Given the need for action, the IATR will hold a solution-based workshop for wheelchair accessibility solutions, focusing an entire day on brainstorming sessions and interactive methods to solve the longstanding wheelchair accessibility issue. Multiple disciplinary approaches, data collection and analysis and the role of public paratransit will be explored in detail for an entire day. Issues such as insurance, Americans with Disabilities Act specifications/regulations, equity and underserved communities, subsidies and affordability, service efficiency and new technologies will be covered. Also, sessions will involve stakeholders and regulators breaking into problem-solving groups throughout the day, with vehicle demonstrations and feedback by advocates and passengers. The day will result in the identification of current best and accepted regulatory practices and a blueprint or menu for regulators to explore with studies, academic resources and key contacts being made available to help implement policy following the conference.
Sessions will be held on “weird regulatory governance” exploring the multifarious pros and cons of changing jurisdictional approaches to regulation – i.e., Public Utility Commissions, Metropolitan Transportation Agencies, Departments of Motor Vehicles – as well as the debate on self, local and state regulation. Panels will include incumbent and emergent technology trade and stakeholder groups, as well as IATR sister organizations of government transportation professionals in the public transit and traffic management arena. In addition, regulator-only “note trading” sessions will be held for government members, in a relaxed and informal environment, to discuss best practices “off-the-record,” and to receive IATR subject matter committee reports.
REGULATORY BOOT CAMP
Last, but not least, the IATR will be hosting its first-ever entry-level training for new regulators, called “Regulatory Boot Camp.” So we are hoping new and aspiring professionals who have recently joined government agencies will pack their cowboy and cowgirl boots and take advantage of training sessions that will be held at the Austin conference covering the basics of “Ground Transportation Regulation 101”. Everything that one needs to know to begin to understand the complex and changing world of transportation regulation and technology, including an overview of transportation history, policy and best practices from an international and domestic perspective, will set the stage for a developing new leadership, professional growth and collaboration. This task is important given the ever increasing number of regulatory agencies regulating transportation, and to arm a new generation of regulators with the tools, facts and resources to enhance their performance and productivity.