Omnitrans planning intern Edson Ibanez recently had the opportunity to travel to the Transportation Research Board (TRB) conference in Washington D.C. The annual conference engages more than 7,000 scientists, and other transportation researchers and practitioners from the public and private sectors and academia, all of whom contribute their expertise in the public interest by participating on TRB committees, panels, and task forces.
“This was my first time in D.C. It was really exciting to have the opportunity to talk with the executive directors from TRB and meet Anthony Foxx, the US Secretary of Transportation. I also liked learning about up and coming topics like Bus Rapid Transit, which is something I’m very interested in—especially with our upcoming sbX launch later this year. It was interesting seeing how BRT has been adapted all over the world, Although it’s just now getting here to the states, it’s been very popular in other countries for a long time.”
A TRB Minority Fellows scholarship covered Edson’s registration and travel expenses to the conference where he presented his academic research in the form of a poster titled “Integrating Transportation Hazards in Hazard Mitigation Plans: Findings in California Cities,” which compared hazard mitigation plans of 10 large California cities and offered recommendations based on his findings. He believes it is important for cities to partner with transportation agencies to integrate a transportation hazard component at the local level within their hazard mitigation plans.
“Los Angeles and San Francisco both demonstrate a transportation component within their hazard mitigation plans, and I believe they could be used as a template for other cities. Looking at climate change is important as well. Studies have shown that we will be seeing a significant rise in sea level in the next 50-100 years which can impact our coastal regions. Heat waves are another concern as sustained increased temperatures can melt certain rail lines.”
Edson’s goal is to one day work as a transportation planner.
“My passion is public transit and social justice. What can we do for the working poor? What can we do for the urban poor? How can we better accommodate our services for low income minorities? Something that can provide an option for me to work on these issues would be amazing. I’ve been at Omnitrans for about 5 months now, and I really enjoy the experience I’m getting. One of my recent projects was analyzing ridership data for Route 365 and actually going out on the route and riding it. We were looking at possibly extending it to a residential community to better serve high school students in that area—basically adding a tripper. We also had to see how it would affect route time. After researching it, we were able to determine that it would not have a significant impact on route time, so we will be implementing the change in an upcoming service plan.”
– Juno Kughler Carlson