University Transportation Centers – Guest Speaker Series

A U.S. Department of Transportation Program


Connecting transportation leaders and innovators with university and college students. This series allows industry professionals to share their personal experiences working with cutting-edge technologies that are being developed and deployed to improve the safety and efficiency of the transportation system. Speakers will also highlight their challenges and successes in the field and discuss how to prepare for entering the transportation workforce. 


Session #3: How the Next Generation of the Transportation Workforce Can Utilize Emerging Technology
Date: Thursday, April 20, 2023
Time: 1:30pm – 3:00pm EDT

Session Details:

Just as technology has shaped our daily lives, emerging technologies present new and varied opportunities to improve mobility and transform the future of transportation. In this session, you will hear from industry professionals about how to prepare for entering the transportation workforce, and the cutting-edge technologies that are being developed and deployed to improve the safety and efficiency of the transportation system, making new options available, and helping to create a more equitable system for all users. Join our expert panel and find out how you can be a part of the next generation of high-tech solutions.


  • Cesar Singh, Director – University Transportation Centers (UTC) Grants Program, U.S. Department of Transportation (Moderator)
  • Beth Kigel, Vice President, HNTB Corporation
  • Darran Anderson, Director of Strategy and Innovation, Texas Department of Transportation
  • Renee Autumn Ray, Senior Director of Global Strategy, Hayden AI
  • Prachi Vakharia, Transportation & Innovation Specialist, Amazon


Session #2: Creating a More Equitable Transportation System Through Mobility on Demand (MOD)
Date: Wednesday, September 14, 2022
Time: 1:30pm – 3:30pm EDT


  • Cesar Singh, Director – University Transportation Centers (UTC) Grants Program, U.S. Department of Transportation (Moderator)
  • Susan Shaheen, Ph.D. – Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering – UC Berkeley
  • Sophia Mohr – Chief Innovation Officer – Central Ohio Transit Authority
  • Brit Moller – Head of Public Policy – Spin
  • Dwight Mengel – Chief Transportation Planner – Tompkins County Department of Social Services, NY

Session #1: Automated Vehicles
Date: Thursday, October 7, 2021
Time: 11:00am – 12:30pm ET


  • Dr. Firas Ibrahim – Director, Office of Research, Development, and Technology – U.S. DOT (Moderator)
  • Kristin White, Executive Director, Minnesota DOT’s Office of Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAV-X)
  • Gregory D. Winfree, Agency Director, Texas A&M Transportation Institute
  • Prachi Vakharia, Technical Program Manager, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority


Automated Vehicles

What are AVs? Automated vehicles (AVs) are vehicles that have some level of automation in their driving operations. AVs leverage sensors, algorithms, and computational power to scan, analyze, predict, and make decisions to operate the vehicle in various environments.

Download the Fact Sheet.

Mobility on Demand

What is Mobility on Demand? As defined by the U.S. Department of Transportation, MOD is an innovative, user-focused approach that leverages emerging mobility services, integrated transit networks and operations, real-time data, connected travelers, and cooperative Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) to allow for a more traveler-centric, transportation system-of-systems approach, providing improved mobility options to all travelers and users of the system in an efficient and safe manner. MOD is a vision for an integrated network of safe, carefree, and reliable transportation options that are available to all.

Download the Fact Sheet.

Emerging Technologies

What are Emerging Technologies? Emerging technologies in transportation can include rapid speed travel hyperloop, urban air mobility and cargo delivery, automated cargo delivery and blockchain and integrated technology platforms.

Download the Fact Sheet

Smart Infrastructure

What is Smart Infrastructure? Smart Infrastructure combines the real and digital worlds across transportation and energy systems, building, and other primary industries. This includes promoting innovative policies to protect infrastructure and transportation systems from cyber threats; technologies to improve roadway efficiency, reduce accidents, and facilitate the safe introduction of autonomous technologies into the transportation system; and policies that support the electrification of our nation’s roadways, transit, and freight systems.

Fact Sheet Available Soon.

Sustainability & Resiliency

What is Sustainability & Resiliency? Sustainable and resilient transportation can include topic areas such as electrified vehicles, charging infrastructure, power generation, power grid capability and resiliency, infrastructure resiliency, roadside management, advanced materials technologies, mobility efficiency, and transportation sector emissions.

Fact Sheet Available Soon.

This program is funded by the United States Department of Transportation’s Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS JPO) and managed by ITS America, in collaboration with the UTC Program. For more information on the USDOT UTC Guest Speaker Program, contact Carlos Alban,