2008 Transportation Choices Forum
Friday, March 28, 2008
8am - 2pm
International Center
203 South St. Mary's St., San Antonio, TX

With population growth, gasoline prices, traffic congestion, inadequate transit, traffic fatalities, mobility, accessibility to jobs and health care, transportation funding, air quality, sprawl, peak oil, potholes, speed bumps, climate change, globalization, carbon emissions and other issues surrounding traffic in San Antonio, Bexar County is holding the 2008 Transportation Choices Forum.

This half-day workshop will specifically address these issues as well as identifying the range of choices available for dealing with transportation in San Antonio, as well as achieving a more livable and sustainable community.

  • Who Should Attend and Why?

    Growth, gasoline prices, traffic congestion, inadequate transit, traffic fatalities, mobility, accessibility to jobs and health care, transportation funding, air quality, sprawl, peak oil, potholes, speed bumps, climate change, globalization, carbon emissions – the issues surrounding transportation today are numerous. How are we in San Antonio dealing with these issues? If you read the local newspaper, you would think that the only tool in the transportation planner's toolbox is a toll road!

    The purpose of this half-day workshop is to address the importance of achieving a more livable and sustainable San Antonio through the development of a range of transportation choices and to identify the range of options that are available. The interaction between transportation and land development will be specifically addressed because the solution to some problems perceived as transportation issues actually lay in the diversity of land uses, urban and neighborhood design, and the density of development.

    The targeted audience is:

    • Professionals involved in, or interested in, the planning and design of transportation facilities and systems;
    • Decision makers, including elected officials, who are involved with transportation policy decisions; and
    • Activist citizens and other members of the general public with an interest in regional transportation policies and their impact on the community.

    Because of the recent local intense focus on toll roads and freeways, the workshop will not directly focus on these transport modes. Further, the goal is to provide an informal, open forum for the exchange of information and views on sustainable transportation alternatives that support a livable community. There will be no attempt to select the best modes for San Antonio during this conference.

    Three underlying principles in organizing this workshop are that:

    • There is value in having a mix of travel options;
    • A transportation program is needed that is sustainable and contributes to the livability of the region, and
    • Land development patterns and transportation systems interact so intimately that it is impossible to address one without including the other.

    Bus rapid transit (BRT) will also not be directly addressed in this workshop because workshops were just held (Feb 12-13 and 14-15) on this specific topic in San Antonio. There will, however, be an update on the surprising status of passenger rail transit around the state with examples of the associated transit oriented development.

    There will be six speakers to address these topics:

    • Overview of the need for travel choices
    • The interaction between travel and urban design, density and diversity put into practice through scenario planning;
    • The "heart" of the assessments required under the National Environmental Policy Act is the examination of alternatives, including such options in a corridor as:
      • High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes
      • Reversible lanes
      • Contraflow lanes
      • Access management
      • Innovative intersection and traffic signal system designs
      • Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)
      • Transportation System Management (TSM)
    • Rail transit (light rail, historic rail and commuter rail) existing and currently being planned in Texas with examples of resulting transit oriented development the "third mode" (after highways and transit) to include:
      • Flexible work hours
      • Parking programs
      • Carpooling
      • Carsharing (short term urban car rental)
      • Telecommuting
      • Walking and biking
      • The luncheon speaker will summarize the transportation energy situation and discuss near term and long term options to reduce dependence on expensive fossil fuels and emissions of carbon. Of particular interest locally is the potential use of solar energy to power transportation.

    Participants will leave the workshop with:

    • A better understanding of the need for transportation options in urban areas,
    • How travel and land development interact,
    • Information on the variety of travel modes and travel substitutes now in place in cities, and
    • An appreciation of the important opportunity the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) provides for the exploration of alternatives in transportation corridors.

    Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson has agreed to allow Bexar County to be the anchor host of the conference, but partners are being sought to help with the funding, staffing, promotion and organization of the conference. At this writing, the City of San Antonio is providing the venue and the MPO is sponsoring the luncheon. The San Antonio chapter of the American Institute of Architects is sponsoring speaker Dr. Reid Ewing; Environmental Defense is sponsoring speaker Michael Replogle; the National Renewable Energy Laboratory is sponsoring speaker Dr. Marc Melaina; and the Houston Advanced Research Center is sponsoring speaker David Hitchcock.

  • Schedule

    Purpose: To discuss and consider transportation choices, those being offered elsewhere and the role of land development in providing travel options.

    8:00 - Registration

    8:30 - Welcome

    • Tommy Adkisson - Bexar County Commissioner

    8:45 - Why transportation choices are needed for a healthy urban region

    • Bill Barker, AICP, San Antonio, TX
      • Introduction by Honorable Mary Alice Cisneros, San Antonio City Councilwoman, District 1

    9:15 - How to use smart growth to reduce vehicle travel requirements

    • Dr. Reid Ewing, National Center for Smart Growth, College Park, MD
      • Introduction by Honorable Michael Villarreal State Representative, District 123

    10:00 - Break

    10:15 - How to use the NEPA process to effectively examine alternatives in transportation corridors

    • Michael Replogle, Environmental Defense, Washington, DC
      • Introduction by Honorable Chris Riley, Mayor, City of Leon Valley

    10:55 - An update on passenger rail transit in Texas

    • Lyndon Henry, Capital Metropolitan Transporation Authority, Austin, TX
      • Introduction by Honorable David Leibowitz, State Representative, District 117

    11:30 - What about those other modes? carsharing, pedestrianism, etc.)

    • David Hitchcock, HARC, The Woodlands, TX
      • Introduction by Honorable Joaquin Castro, State Representative, District 125

    Noon Plenary Luncheon: How to mitigate the coming transportation energy crisis

    • Dr. Marc Melaina, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO
      • Introduction by Honorable Nelson W. Wolff Bexar County Judge
  • Speakers' Biosketches

    • Lyndon Henry

      Lyndon Henry has served as a Data Analyst for Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Capital Metro) since 2002. He holds a Master of Science in Community & Regional Planning, with a focus in Transportation, from the University of Texas at Austin, 1981. From 1973 to 1989 he was executive director of the Texas Association for Public Transportation. From 1981 to 1985 he served as a transportation consultant to the Hajj Research Centre at King Abdul Aziz University, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He has also served as a transportation planning consultant on several other transit projects in the USA. In 1983-84 has was a member of the Austin-Travis County Transit Task Force which recommended a transit authority for the Austin area. That agency, eventually named Capital Metro, was created in 1985. From 1989 to 1993, Mr. Henry served as a board member and vice-chairman of Capital Metro. From 1990 to 1992 he was an Adjunct Faculty member at St. Edwards University, teaching a course in public policy. Since 2000 he has served as a technical consultant to the Light Rail Now Project. He is also a member of APTA's Vintage Trolley and Streetcar Subcommittee.

    • Reid Ewing

      Reid Ewing is a Research Professor at the National Center for Smart Growth, associate editor of the Journal of the American Planning Association, columnist for Planning magazine, and Fellow of the Urban Land Institute. Formerly, he was Director of the Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University, and earlier in his career, he served two terms in the Arizona legislature and worked on urban policy issues at the Congressional Budget Office. He holds master degrees in Engineering and City Planning from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Transportation Systems and Urban Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

      He has authored books for the major planning and development organizations: Developing Successful New Communities for the Urban Land Institute; Best Development Practices and Transportation and Land Use Innovations for the American Planning Association; and Traffic Calming State-of-the-Practice for the Institute of Transportation Engineers. The two books for the American Planning Association made him APA's top selling author for many years. His study of sprawl and obesity received more national media coverage than any planning study before or since, and at one time, was the most widely cited academic paper in the Social Sciences, according to Essential Science Indicators.

      His most recent book, written for EPA and published by the Urban Land Institute, is Growing Cooler: The Evidence on Urban Development and Climate Change. Also due out this year, and published by the American Planning Association, is National Traffic Calming Manual. His prior work on smart growth development includes the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED-Neighborhood Development guidelines, the Institute of Transportation Engineers' Recommended Practice for Context-Sensitive Thoroughfares, the National Wildlife Federation's Endangered by Sprawl, and dozens of consulting projects around the United States.

    • Michael Replogle

      Transportation Director, Living Cities Program, Environmental Defense, Washington, DC Office

      Michael Replogle manages Environmental Defense's initiatives to link transportation, land use, and natural resource plans and programs to enhance public health, equity and environmental quality. He is an expert on federal transportation law and policy, transportation impact analysis, and strategies to reduce traffic and pollution through incentives, smart growth, marketing and improved accountability. He works with federal and state agencies, Congress, local officials, business and activists to promote reform. He has worked extensively in metropolitan Washington/Baltimore, New York, Atlanta, Denver, Portland, Oregon and other regions. His work in Atlanta helped redirect $300 million from sprawl-inducing roads to transit and safety projects.

      M.S.E., B.S.E. cum laude, Civil and Urban Engineering, and B.A. cum laude Sociology, all from the University of Pennsylvania. As a civil engineer and transportation modeling expert, he has served as an expert witness in several major environmental and transportation law cases. He conceived and helped win a 50% Maryland tax credit for employer-provided transit and cash-in-lieu-of-parking benefits. He produced three award-winning television ads encouraging employees to ask their employer for these benefits. Treasurer (1990-present) and a co-founder of Clean Air and Transportation, which educates the public about how transportation choices affect the environment. Co-founder and president (1984-present) of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, which promotes sustainable transportation reforms in developing and newly industrialized economies. Author of numerous reports and articles on transportation strategies in Europe, Asia and the United States. Consultant, U.S. Federal Highway Administration and the World Bank on non-motorized transportation, planning methods, and sustainable transportation strategies (1992); transportation coordinator, Montgomery County (MD) Planning Department (1983-1992); transportation research associate, Public Technology, Inc., technical arm of US National League of Cities, Washington, DC (1979-1982).

    • David Hitchcock

      Director, Sustainable Transportation Programs, HARC

      Mr. Hitchcock is an urban and regional planner with more than 25 years of experience addressing a wide range of urban development, energy and environmental issues. Since joining HARC in 1989, he has served as the Associate Director of the Center for Global Studies, the Deputy Director of the Environment Group and Senior Project Director. Mr. Hitchcock is involved in transportation, environmental and energy projects and programs that address sustainable development and air quality. Currently he is directing the Transportation and Air Quality Forum, part of the Texas Joint Center for Air Quality. He is also Project Director for HARC's Cool Houston Project which seeks to advance the understanding of urban heat island effects through increased vegetation and use of reflective materials for roofing and paving. Mr. Hitchcock has served on the Regional Air Quality Planning Committee for the Houston region and the Transportation Research Board's Alternative Fuels Committee. He has authored several acclaimed reports on sustainable development and environmental improvement in the Houston region. He previously served as the Director of the Joint Center for Urban Mobility Research at Rice Center in Houston.

      Education: B.A., Sociology, Oklahoma State University; M.R.C.P. (Regional and City Planning), University of Oklahoma; Ph.D. (coursework only), Environmental Health/Urban Affairs, University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

    • Bill Barker

      AICP

      Bill moved to San Antonio in 1997 to serve as the Director of Planning at VIA Metropolitan Transit. He went back into consulting in 2002. Bill has served as the Director of Transportation of the North Central Texas Council of Governments in the Dallas-Fort Worth area where he was in charge of the Metropolitan Planning Organization, or "MPO," for the Dallas-Fort Worth region. He has also been part of the management teams of a transportation engineering firm and a transit management company. He was previously employed as an analyst with the U.S. Department of Transportation.

      As a consultant, he has helped public and private clients in seven states, Canada and Mexico. His federal clients have included the U.S. Departments of Transportation and Energy as well as the Agency for International Development. Since leaving VIA, he has completed projects for the Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida, the Houston Advanced Research Center and other public and private clients.

      Bill has a bachelor's degree in physics and a master's degree in urban affairs. He has been recognized as a Fellow by the Institute of Transportation Engineers, has been nationally certified as an urban planner, and is an active member of the Transportation Research Board, a division of the National Research Council, which serves as an independent advisor to the federal government and others on scientific and technical questions of national importance. For that organization, he chaired the Transportation Programming, Planning, and Systems Evaluation Committee, the Energy Considerations in Urban Transportation Planning Subcommittee, and national cooperative research projects on alternative fuels and benefit-cost analysis. Bill currently is applying his familiarity with energy issues at Solar San Antonio.

    • Marc Melaina

      National Renewable Energy Laboratory

      Marc Melaina is a senior engineer with the Hydrogen Technologies and Systems Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). His research addresses early hydrogen infrastructure development dynamics. Before coming to NREL, he worked as a research track director at the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California at Davis. Melaina completed his Ph.D. through the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan. His work experience includes consulting for Argonne National Laboratory, an internship at the National Transportation Research Center at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and teaching undergraduate energy courses at the Residential College at the University of Michigan. He has a master's in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Michigan and a bachelor's in physics from the University of Utah.

  • Presentations

    Bill Barker, AICP, San Antonio, TX

    Why transportation choices are needed for a healthy urban region (PDF Document)

    Dr. Reid Ewing, National Center for Smart Growth, College Park, MD

    How to use smart growth to reduce vehicle travel requirements (PDF Document)

    Michael Replogle, Environmental Defense, Washington, DC

    How to use the NEPA process to effectively examine alternatives in transportation corridors (PDF Document)

    Lyndon Henry, Capital Metropolitan Transporation Authority, Austin, TX

    An update on passenger rail transit in Texas (PDF Document)

    David Hitchcock, HARC, The Woodlands, TX

    What about those other modes? (carsharing, pedestrianism, etc.) (PDF Document)

    Dr. Marc Melaina, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO

    How to mitigate the coming transportation energy crisis (PDF Document)

Featured Speakers

Sponsors

Bexar County American Institute of Architects City of San Antonio VIA