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Submit an Abstract

Call for Session Abstracts

2020 WTS Annual Conference



WTS International invites you to submit an abstract for the 2020 Annual Conference in Phoenix which will take place May 20-22, 2020 at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel. The event will bring together transportation professionals to explore The New West, where ideas meet opportunity.


Rising from the desert floor, the Metropolitan Phoenix region is the epicenter of the fastest-growing county in the nation. Maricopa County has held this title for three consecutive years, adding more than 81,000 people this past year alone to already booming populous of 4.4 million residents. Due to a well-connected freeway system, arterial street grid, regional airports, improved bus and light rail transit, and a robust off street bicycle and pedestrian network, options for getting around the Valley of the Sun are plentiful. As a hot spot for autonomous vehicle testing, it is not uncommon to see these vehicles testing local streets and freeways. Accommodating a growing region can be challenging in a desert environment, and as such tremendous growth comes tremendous responsibility. The 2020 conference, “The New West – Where Ideas Meet Opportunity,” is the ideal setting to learn and discuss issues impacting the transportation industry nationwide.

Consider sharing your specialized transportation knowledge, insights, and experiences as part of a breakout session at the 2020 WTS Annual Conference!

Breakout Sessions - The following four tracks will serve as the foundation for all breakout session content at the conference:

  1. Equitable Transportation Benefits Everyone
  2. Transforming Transportation Networks in Light of Global Climate Change 
  3. Women! Take the Lead
  4. Transportation Talk: The Power of Influence

Thank you in advance for your valued participation! Please complete and submit this application and submit here.


Abstract submissions will only be accepted via the above link


Due date now November 8, 2019


Selection Criteria includes:

  • Creative and interactive methods of presenting content is encouraged.
  • A rich diversity in geography of speakers.
  • Inclusion of both public and private sector speakers on the panel.
  • No more than 1 or 2 people from one entity, where one is ideal.
  • At least two members of WTS are required on each panel, all is ideal.
  • The moderator is required to be a member of WTS.
  • Conference registration is required. A one-day complimentary pass will be offered to speakers who are not able to register or attend the entire conference. Full conference registration is ideal.
  • Men are welcome to be a part of any panel with female presenters.



  • Call for Abstracts will open soon after Labor Day (or in early September 2019)
  • Submissions are due Wednesday, October 30, 2019
  • Notification will occur in December 2019. Notifications will be sent to all members of the panel. Two email addresses for each panel member and moderator will be required.
  • If your submission is accepted, confirmation will be required within 10 business days of the selection notification date by all panel members. A special speaker registration form will be shared for completion.
  • A one-day complimentary conference registration option (with certain exclusions) will be available for all speakers as it aligns with their scheduled session date. Full conference registration is highly recommended.


The form will collect the following information:

  • Track selection
  • Breakout session title
  • Primary point of contact information
  • Geographic Interest
    • Indicate what cities, states, regions that represents the session.
  • Breakout Session Description
    • Provide a clear description of the proposed session content while highlighting any compelling characteristics (maximum 250 words).
  • Breakout Session Format
  • Audio/ Visual Needs
    • All sessions will have 1-2 microphones, chairs and a table in each room. Where possible, a stage will be provided
  • Proposed Speakers Information
    • Name, Title, Organization, City, and 2 Email Addresses
    • Speaker Biographies - Provide a brief biography for each proposed speaker (maximum 100 words)


Descriptions of the four tracks for breakout sessions

Equitable Transportation Benefits Everyone

As society continues to become increasingly urban, and technology changes transportation options, the need to evaluate and integrate equitable transportation solutions will become more important to future readiness for cities. Equally, diversity and inclusion are critical to the ability of organizations and agencies to meet these challenges head-on. Incorporating equity into how we plan for the movement of people will take new thinking, policy changes, partnerships, and ultimately a shift in the leadership fabric. While the definition of equity is contextual, with respect to transportation it fundamentally means understanding what people need to live full, productive, healthy lives and providing the means needed to achieve these goals through multi-modal transportation options and access to quality transit. Social, racial, and economic factors must be considered in order to understand, assess and provide appropriate access to opportunity and resources. Technology has the potential to provide more mobility options to these communities, however, our cities and local leadership may need education on these issues, and a better structure and dedicated funding in order to provide equitable options to all citizens. We know that increasing diversity and inclusion in leadership roles leads to better business outcomes, yet many employers aren’t making rapid progress. Employers/Leaders must make difficult trade-off decisions that impact inclusion, employee engagement, turnover, employer brand, and access to talent. What best practices exist to bring diversity and inclusion in today’s working environment? How can diversity and inclusion translate to equitable transportation technologies?


Transforming Transportation Networks in Light of Global Climate Change 

Climate change is causing a variety of phenomena felt around the world today, including sea level rise, temperature changes, larger catastrophic storms, and a looming food and water crisis. Transportation is the single biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emission in the US according to the EPA, making it a crucial participant in the effort to address the root causes of climate change. At the same time, transportation holds unique promise in addressing the effects of climate change on how people live, work, and move around. What are the impacts of market-based solutions like ride-sharing, micro-mobility, autonomous vehicles, and on-demand logistics on the environment? The changes in our climate are putting existing infrastructure at risk. What actions are local governments and agencies taking to protect natural resources as well as our transportation network in the absence of national direction? How can the transportation community create more forums for exchange of information and enact rapid change? This track will allow for discussions surrounding the effects of transportation on our climate and of our climate on transportation as we look to the next five to ten years.


Women! Take the Lead

If you work in transportation, then you work on a variety of teams.  Teamwork is how we get things done in our industry.  It is well known that diverse teams create better solutions, are more innovative, more profitable and can broaden your customer base.  There are many opportunities to lead a team from a small project team to leading an entire department or agency.  How can women use our unique characteristics as an advantage in team leading?  How do we work with our companies and agencies to ensure our teams are diverse and representing those we are serving?  What do we lose when our teams are not gender diverse?  How can we help develop up and coming leaders?  What are companies and agencies doing to ensure gender diversity in succession planning?  What policies at our organizations can we change to encourage women to pursue leadership positions?  What new idea can even the most seasoned leader learn? This track encourages submissions for interactive discussions and presentations from women leading teams with a focus on real world examples.


Transportation Talk: The Power of Influence

As we welcome a new generation of leaders to the transportation industry, more and more women are becoming industry peers, executives, and influencers. The power of influence permeates transportation in all facets and we can use this influence to call for change in a number of different arenas.  One way we are successfully influencing our industry is by using a variety of communication tools when working with clients, customers and internal and external stakeholders. This track encourages submissions from a wide range of topics in the areas of suggestive communication and influence related to public involvement, employee engagement, media savvy, effective proposal writing, and visual management. The opportunity to hear insights and join interactive discussions on evolving communication methods and styles benefits rookies, veterans and everyone in-between. It’s how best practices create opportunities!


New Program Format Option- WTS Talks!

In addition to our traditional panel breakout sessions, this year, WTS is offering a new presentation type: WTS Talks.  These 10 minute presentations will showcase speakers presenting great, well-formed ideas.  One speaker will have 10-minutes to dive into a topic that is a new idea or invention or present a compelling new argument to an old idea that challenges beliefs and perspectives.  These WTS Talks will showcase only one speaker.  One individual may submit an abstract on a topic that relates to one of the themes.  Additionally, the individual will need to submit a 1 minute or less video that demonstrates your public speaking capabilities.  This video may be of you speaking publicly on another topic, or could be a video of you describing your presentation.  The review committee would like to see your presentation style and ability to engage an audience.  

Criteria for the WTS Talks: 

  • Good public speaking skills
  • Idea that is widely relatable 
  • Will commit to presenting talk in under 10 minutes (time will be monitored) 

Tips for WTS Talks style presentation: 

  • Look for ideas that need to be defended- not something self-evident, but an interesting argument, perhaps with an antagonist. 
  • Look for ideas that change perceptions (e.g., a scientific discovery that changes how you think about frogs, a philosophical argument that reshapes your notions of mobility) 
  • Be dynamic: choose a topic you are passionate about, but also think about how to relate and engage the audience  

Questions?  Email conference@wtsinternational.org using the subject line "Call for Abstracts- Breakout Sessions"

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