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January 5, 2021 4:15 PM, EST

TRB Hosting Virtual Annual Conference

TRB employeesNASEM TRB via YouTube

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The coronavirus pandemic’s impact on transportation modes, the role of transit, and technological advancements will dominate this year’s annual conference of the Transportation Research Board.

The massive gathering of intellectuals, experts and government and business stakeholders, typically held in the nation’s capital, will be held virtually this year at trb.org. Committee meetings are underway and run through Jan. 15. Workshops and lectures run Jan. 21-29.

“Launching a New Century of Mobility and Quality of Life” is the conference’s theme this year as TRB marks its 100th annual meeting. TRB is the latest organization opting to present its conference online, a rarity during the prepandemic era.

“We have the latest research and experience on transportation in COVID-19,” Ann Brach, TRB’s director of technical activities, said in December. “We have hundreds of sessions and workshops on emerging and perennial topics in transportation.”

Keynote addresses will be delivered by Marcia McNutt, president of the National Academy of Sciences, and Dorval Carter, president of the Chicago Transit Authority. Other speakers will include former Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

Several workshops will be devoted to examining the effects of COVID-19. TRB noted transportation networks nationwide endured slowdowns, as well as degrees of interruptions in 2020 due to the pandemic. A rise in telecommuting enhanced the importance of the freight e-commerce industry while reducing a reliance on personal transportation.

Other panels are expected to explore concerns related to climate change, automation and electrification, as well as social and economic challenges across urban and rural corridors.

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