University Transportation Centers – Guest Speaker Series

A U.S. Department of Transportation Program

ABOUT THE GUEST SPEAKER SERIES

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. 

GUEST SPEAKER SERIES EVENTS & REGISTRATION

Are you interested in a career working with self-driving cars? Do you want to learn more about how the technology behind automated vehicles works? Make sure you register for this first-ever opportunity to hear from some of the top leaders in the automated vehicle field. Space is limited so be sure to reserve your spot!

Session #1: Automated Vehicles
Date: Thursday, October 7, 2021
Time: 11:00am – 12:30pm ET
Dr Firas Ibrahim Headshot
DR. FIRAS IBRAHIM, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, AND TECHNOLOGY, U.S. DOT (MODERATOR)
Kristin White headshot
KRISTIN WHITE,
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MINNESOTA DOT’S OFFICE OF CONNECTED AND AUTOMATED VEHICLES (CAV-X)
Greg Winfree Headshot
GREGORY D. WINFREE, AGENCY DIRECTOR, TEXAS A&M TRANSPORTATION INSTITUTE
Prachi Vakharia's Headshot
PRACHI VAKHARIA,
TECHNICAL PROGRAM MANAGER, MASSACHUSETTS BAY TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY

CONFIRMED PANELISTS:

Dr. Firas Ibrahim, Director, Office of Research, Development, and Technology, U.S. DOT (moderator) | Dr. Firas Ibrahim serves as the Director of the U.S. DOT’s Office of Research, Development, and Technology.  In this role, he provides leadership to ensure that RD&T programs and activities across the Department and University Transportation Centers advance the Department’s goals and priorities, and that research is of the highest quality. Dr. Ibrahim was previously the Federal Highway Administration’s Lead Manager for Stewardship & Oversight. In that role, he provided stewardship and oversight leadership to ensure the successful delivery of the $44 Billion Federal-aid highway program annually, and the alignment of enterprise activities and resources with priorities. 

Kristin White, Executive Director, Minnesota DOT’s Office of Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAV-X) | Kristin White is Executive Director of Minnesota’s Office of Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAV-X), a public sector tech startup and idea incubator that researches and deploys transformational technology and policy. Kristin is a lawyer, policy strategist and innovator who brings empathy and leadership into the transportation sector, challenging us to harness revolutionary technologies and grow new partnerships to build tomorrow today. The CAV-X program is one of the leading CAV programs in the nation, with its projects, research and partnerships winning the National Cronin Award, WTS Innovator Award, and AASHTO Innovation Award.

Gregory D. Winfree, Agency Director, Texas A&M Transportation Institute | Mr. Gregory D. Winfree was appointed Agency Director of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) on December 15, 2016. TTI is a state agency and the largest and most comprehensive higher education-affiliated transportation research institute in the United States. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the Texas A&M University School of Law. In 2019, he was appointed to the Texas Connected and Automated Vehicle Task Force established by Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

Prachi Vakharia, Technical Program Manager, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority | Prachi V. works on autonomous vehicles safety standards, digital and shared mobility projects, and electric mobility services and infrastructure. Today she leads the implementation of AI/ML technologies at the MBTA, and also supports safety protocols for SafeAI. Previously, she led product and innovation at AES, a Fortune 100 energy firm, in the E-Mobility division and also developed EV standards for Workplaces and Fleets at Forth. Prior to that, Prachi worked with the World Bank on urban transport projects in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

FACTS SHEETS BY TOPIC

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.

Fact Sheet Available Soon.

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.

Fact Sheet Available Soon.

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, calban@itsa.org.