Mobility Lab’s Ray LaHood Event Set to Inspire Transportation Options for Americans

Bicycle advocates love Ray LaHood. And no wonder. The former Republican Congressman from Illinois and Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation doesn’t do quiet, uninspiring speeches.

He’s been to five straight League of American Bicyclists’ National Bike Summits and, in 2010, he was “made famous” by jumping onto a table (see the video above) to praise the growing movement of people demanding livable, sustainable communities all over the United States.

Mobility Lab doesn’t do quiet, uninspiring events either. So that’s why it was the perfect marriage to get Secretary LaHood as a keynote speaker for an event we’re calling “People First: The Future of Transportation in America.” (Register here.)

He wants to use one of his first speaking gigs since leaving DOT as an opportunity – a call to action, really – to encourage people to keep the momentum going that he has helped build in cities and towns across the country.

Residents of these communities have helped build affordable housing next to biking and walking paths. They are helping their neighbors get out of their cars. LaHood himself, with his wife, walk the talk by regularly riding their bikes on the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Trail in Washington D.C.

People-focused strategies – hence, “People First” – happen when planners focus on where there is demand for infrastructure to help humans move from place to place. That is not traditionally how we have built our networks of movement.

At Mobility Lab, we believe “transportation demand management,” something we are focused on each and every day, is key to maximizing the benefits of popular livability initiatives like transit-oriented development, complete streets, and walkable activity centers. All of these initiatives put people – not cars – first.

Making inroads on the monumental task of how best to move people – using all the modes of transportation available – is crucial to our society’s well-being.

There are opportunities:

  • Another transportation bill lies on the horizon
  • People want infrastructure, but they also want easy access to information and up-to-date guidance on their transportation options – pieces that are often afterthoughts or entirely forgotten in planning and funding decisions
  • Collaboration between organizations is ripe to edge the movement along

To be inspired by Secretary LaHood (and presenters Tom Fairchild of Mobility Lab and Josh Kavanagh of the Association for Commuter Transportation), please register now for the event. Space is limited. It is happening at Founders Hall on the Arlington campus of George Mason University, Wednesday, October 16, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

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Steve Yaffe

Two questions:
1) should transit be funded as a utility; and
2) how can we promote the mindset that transit is an integrated system, with the pedestrian network and road network as the base; first mile/last mile feeder services as a supplement to that pedestrian network; and a family of service options depending on ridership density along primary paths and the features required by the consumer in terms of both travel times and their abilities/disabilities?

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