The Silver Lining of Gathering Virtually

By Josh Cantor, CAPP

I recently had the opportunity to participate in an active transportation summit hosted by my office and coordinated with 11 other regional organizations. While the all-day Zoom meeting may have been more complicated to coordinate than the in-person conference we initially had planned, I came away thinking how this virtual environment brought us an opportunity we could not have replicated in person. For starters, we had speakers from around the state and the country who may not have been able to come to Fairfax, Va., all at the same time. We had a great mix of speakers, panelists, and moderators, including state elected officials, mayors, county supervisors, local and state transportation officials, and even a local television reporter.

One of the highlights was a presentation by Charles T. Brown with Equitable Cities, who addressed the attendees about “Arrested Mobility,” and the effects of social, political, economic, and health outcomes on BIPOC as it relates to equity in transportation.

Out of the disappointment of not being able to host an in-person conference came this creation of a virtual summit that was larger and more diverse, both in content and participants, which drew together so many dedicated and passionate experts in active transportation. We connected people who might not otherwise have a chance to be together to advocate for topics such as bicycling and walking, safety, and more livable communities. This effort re-energized me and hopefully hundreds of others for what we can do in the transportation community and the responsibility we have to serve the needs of our communities.

Josh Cantor, CAPP, is director, parking and transportation, at George Mason University and a member of IPMI’s Board of Directors.