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  • Writer's pictureWTS Sacramento

2019 Annual Conference Recap

In May, five lucky WTS board members took some time off and traveled to Boston, MA for the WTS International Annual Conference. This three-day event (May 15th-17th) was jam packed with meetings, roundtable discussions, tours of Boston and workshops, where the attendees were able to learn, network, and connect with individuals from across the Nation in the Transportation industry.

Day 1 consisted of professional development workshops and tours of the City’s transportation system and ended with the welcome reception. One innovative project highlighted during the tours was the WTS-Boston Chapter’s mural. The Chapter fundraised to commission a mosaic artwork for the MBTA South T-Line Station. The overall concept was the Boston Transportation system – with a hidden WTS mermaid!

The next day broke out into multiple workshops including discussions on “Fostering Women Leaders at Every Stage,” “Transforming State DOTs and the Transportation System,” “Planning for Change (ride-shares and the autonomous vehicle),” “Innovation Across City, State and Toll Boundaries” and “Integrating Natural Hazard Resilience into the Transportation Planning Process.” The Keynote Speaker during lunch was Katty Kay, Anchor on BBC World News America. She is also the co-author of “The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance – What Women Should Know.” Katty addressed current issues impacting women and offered insights on confidence and “Womenonics.” She stated that "Confidence is the stuff that turns thoughts into action" and when you take action, you grow your confidence!

Some advice she shared included:

  • Act more: overcome your fears and feeling uncomfortable

  • Think less: don’t carry past mistakes, let things go and overcome your failures

  • Don’t forget to be authentic! People can identify inauthenticity, just be yourself and do it your way

  • Pass it on! Once you have mastered acting more, thinking less, and being authentic, share the knowledge with your peers

  • Perfectionism kills confidence – being “good enough” is okay

The day ended with the Annual Awards Gala with presentations of the 2019 award recipients and scholarship winners. The Sacramento Chapter was happy to once again be recognized at the Chapter Circle of Excellence Awards and Recognition Ceremony where we earned a Gold Level Award.

The last day held more workshops including topics on “Negotiation Strategies for Getting What You Deserve,” “Micro-mobility,” and “Policy and Funding Changes.” The Keynote Speaker during lunch was Allie Kelly, Executive Director of The Ray which is the nation’s only publicly accessible, living laboratory for transportation innovation. Allie has assisted this organization to implement and build “almost a dozen ground-breaking, world-leading technology demonstrations,” including the first solar road in the US.

The Conference was a success with many great take-aways which include inspiration on:

Personal Growth

  • Don’t strive for work-life balance – strive for work-life integration, set limits for yourself and then make others respect them

  • Becoming a leader – act like you have power and authority even if you don’t

  • "Bank" your confidence - act confident and you will become more confident each time

  • Delegate, but without micromanagement

  • You have the right to challenge things, do not accept the status quo. The worst thing people can do is say no

  • Take uncomfortable opportunities to learn how to be a leader

Technical Aspects

  • DOTs are shifting their focus from concentrating solely on highways, to the overall mobility

  • DOTs are trying to navigate innovation while being responsible with taxpayer dollars. With Caltrans specifically – innovation is easy, new technology is hard.

  • Statistics show that mixed leadership teams (i.e. men and women) lead to better results

  • AI is becoming critical to infrastructure.

  • V2X (vehicle to everything)

  • Connected infrastructure/endeavoring to connect people

  • Making work zones “smart”

  • Waze - sensors in construction fleet vehicles communicate active work zones

  • icones - beacons on cones

  • Nexar - Video Analytics to identify stray cones

The 2020 Annual Conference comes back west and will be held in Phoenix, AZ.

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