NACTO in Austin: Big Crowds, Big Ideas

Austin hosted the 2015 Designing Cities last month, a National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) conference. We shattered previous attendance records, with over 650 guests from across the country. And for a few days, in some areas of downtown, the number of transportation geeks may have almost equaled young tech developers.Screen shot 2015-12-09 at 7.21.39 PM

Whether you want to see what you missed or relive the fun, StreetFilms captured highlight moments in its NACTO15 video. ATXN captured two important speakers with Janette Sadik-Khan’s Shifting Gears Talk and the Commissioners Panel Discussion (which included transportation department leaders from San Francisco, Denver, Chicago, and Austin’s Rob Spillar). See it all online!

Here are some of our favorite quotes and observations from the conference:

I Wish I Had Thought of That: Heads of transportation departments from around the country responded to the question “how do you get to work?” by answering unanimously “I chose where I live to make sure my commute works,” whether it is driving or transit or bicycling.

From the Guy Who Took his Wife to Belgium, Then Dragged Her to a Transport Ops Center: Mayor Adler observed “What if we could add two lanes to a road, what will traffic be like in 10 years? Everyone should know, it will fail too. It’s not about two lanes, or four lanes, or six lanes. It’s what we do with the space we have and how we use it differently.”

Screen shot 2015-12-09 at 7.20.02 PMShe Meant To Crack A Joke – Really She is Just Effective: “If you were in business and didn’t change your capital investment strategies for 50 years, would you still be in business?” asked Sadik-Kahn.

Sadik-Kahn is famous for implementing PlaNYC by making street-level changes a reality very quickly. First by getting people out to show how they want to use to space, then with temporary installations of paint and maybe planters. As people see the new design working and become comfortable that businesses have more (not less) customers and that more people (not fewer) can move more easily, only then does the design become a “construction project.”


Tell us where you would like to see a conversation as ambitious as folding chairs on Times Square streets or as localized as pocket parks for your neighborhood.




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