SASHTO 2014 Annual Meeting
New Orleans, Louisiana August 23-27
- More than 1,200 representatives from all 12 member states and Puerto Rico, as well as local and federal transportation agencies and private-sector companies gathered to exchange ideas and best practices.
- With 25 concurrent technical sessions offered, conference attendees were offered a range of topics covering many different facets in today’s transportation field, such as incorporating media or paperless options, examples of implementation success stories, strategies to tackle today’s challenges, among others.
- Delegates were also invited to attend a trade show, which provided an opportunity for more than 70 vendors to exhibit new and innovative merchandise and services.
- The annual meeting, presided over this year by Louisiana DOTD Secretary Sherri LeBas, was themed “Transportation Innovation: Building the Future.”
- This year’s opening session featured Mike Hancock, Secretary of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and President of AASHTO; David Vitter, US Senator Louisiana, who serves on the Committee on Environment & Public Works; and Greg Nadeau, Acting Administrator of FHWA.
- Following the speakers, the general session began with the traditional roll call from all states in attendance as well as a special interrupted visit from “Napoleon Bonaparte,” who gave the group an overview of Louisiana’s history and culture.
- The general session’s keynote speaker was Dr. Mae Jemison, the first woman of color in the world to go into space, serving six years as a NASA astronaut. She is currently leading 100 Year Starship (100YSS) an initiative seed funded by DOD’s Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) to assure the capability for human interstellar space travel to another star is possible within the next 100 years.
- In addition to attending an opening and general session, attendees were given many options of technical sessions presented throughout the three-day conference. The sessions focused on an array of topics relevant to the transportation communities of the southeastern states such as: updates on the Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHRP) 2, bridge rehabilitation projects, lessons learned from state emergencies, weather and climate change, data system implementations, FHWA’s Every Day Counts (EDC) initiatives, major bridge projects, advancements in tolling operations, MAP-21, autonomous vehicles, and many more.
- The topic of autonomous vehicles attracted the most interest throughout the conference. With a focus on Florida’s experience, the hot topic of the technology and policy in the implementation of Autonomous Vehicle Technology was presented. Edward Hutchinson (Florida Automated Vehicle Initiative Manager, FDOT) gave the group an overview of autonomous vehicles and connected vehicles, and he shared Florida’s automated vehicles initiative activities. He explained specific technology features, various levels of automation, safety critical functions, and pilot projects underway.
- The SASHTO Board of Directors met with representatives of all 12 states and Puerto Rico in attendance, and approved 14 specific resolutions.