Hundreds of “transit nerds” shared ideas last weekend, as Transportation Camp made a welcome return to the Washington region. Last year’s event introduced me to the concept of an “unconference,” where the attendees themselves generate the subjects for the presentations, which they present amongst themselves. Some attendees worked for government agencies, others were affiliated with universities, businesses, or organizations that advocate for transportation customers.

Transportation Camp 2013

I rode my bike from DC to Arlington on a foggy January morning to participate in the unconference. After welcoming remarks, everyone in the room quickly introduced themselves. Mind you, there were hundreds of attendees, but things moved quickly as each person was asked to sum up their introduction by choosing only three words. (Mine would normally be mapping, biking, and animation, but I’ve been on a Disney kick and chose “Disney loved trains,” since my hero Walt Disney was a transit pioneer.)

Transportation Camp 2013

Below are my table mates for the morning. Everyone had such great enthusiasm.

Transportation Camp 2013

A few of the hundreds of attendees…

Transportation Camp 2013

Transportation Camp 2013

“The board” is where the session proposals get assigned into time slots and classrooms.

Transportation Camp 2013

Transportation Camp 2013

As you can see, the whole process is very informal…

Transportation Camp 2013

This guy was one of many people who took a snapshot of the board as a reference for planning his schedule.

Transportation Camp 2013

My first session was hosted by Google Transit employee Brian Ferris. Lots of talk about GTFS-realtime and SIRI.

Transportation Camp 2013

That’s my buddy Justin Grimes on the left, talking to another attendee at a session on digital signage. (…much more exciting than it may sound to you!)

Transportation Camp 2013

The conference did a great job of bringing people together who wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity to meet. We all appreciated trading ideas with these two WMATA employees. Behind them on the left is Chris, the blogger behind FixWMATA.

Transportation Camp 2013

Transportation Camp 2013

I introduced two friends named Matt to each other. And then I told them to look natural while I took a photo.

Transportation Camp 2013

Some of the more casual sessions just had folks gathered around tables. This group was talking about flying cars.

Transportation Camp 2013

Stéphane Guidoin came down from Montréal and gave a presentation on using game theory to improve transportation. Afterwards, I showed him my own transit-inspired game, Metro Pacman (which he is seen playing on his laptop).

Transportation Camp 2013

Well, that’s my whirlwind photographic tour of Transportation Camp 2013. More photos via the transpocamp2013 tag. Please share your own experiences in the comments below.

Transportation Camp 2013 was made possible thanks to OpenPlans, Mobility Lab, the Transportation Research Board, AASHTO, Young Professionals in Transportation, and George Mason University.

Talking Turkey about Transportation

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