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New COVID-19 webinar series focuses on reopening cities across the country

First roundtable to be held on July 9 with a focus on role of public transportation

Buses stopped in a street in Chicago

Cities are resilient. They adjust and adapt, but remain the center of economic, social and cultural activity. Remote living is no substitute. As in-person life cautiously resumes in most parts of the country, individual mobility levels are beginning to return to pre-COVID 19 levels. How can public transportation deliver its essential role in urban mobility while also addressing health concerns?  

Tomorrow, Northwestern University Transportation Center is launching a new weekly COVID-19 series of Asynchronous Virtual Roundtables with transportation industry professionals who are working toward the safe and strategic reopening of cities and regional economies.

“The Transportation Center is at the forefront of research on urban mobility, so it is natural for us to bring the transportation community together to feature the best in current thinking and practices in how to restore urban mobility and the economies of our cities,” said Hani S. Mahmassani, director of the Transportation Center. “The pandemic has created unique challenges for mobility providers. Hearing directly from industry leaders helps guide those working on effective solutions that leverage new technologies and data-driven strategies.”

The first public roundtable, “The Vital Role of Public Transportation in Reopening Our Cities, Part One,” will be held at 3 p.m. Thursday, July 9, as a Zoom webinar. Click this link to join the event.

In a series of recorded interviews, three industry professionals will discuss their experiences in the era of COVID-19. Mahmassani will moderate and then take questions live from the audience.

The three speakers for the first reopening cities roundtable are: 

  • Peter Cafiero, the managing director of intermodal planning at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). He leads an increasingly integrated group of service planners, data analysts, schedulers and bus stop maintenance staff for Metrorail and Metrobus in the National Capital Region.
  • Dorval Carter, president of the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), the nation’s second-largest transit agency, providing approximately 1.5 million rides on an average weekday and serving the city of Chicago and 35 surrounding suburbs. He was appointed CTA president in 2015. 
  • Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., chief executive officer of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA). He is past chair of the American Public Transportation Association.

The target audiences for the Asynchronous Virtual Roundtables are people in the transportation industry who are dealing with reopening cities, the academic community and government officials, but the general public and media also are welcome.

The roundtable series on reopening cities follows the popular series of nine roundtables focused on transportation, logistics and supply chain networks.

Details on future roundtables will be available on the Northwestern University Transportation Center website. Also, many roundtables from the first series are available for viewing on the website.

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