What's Happening

ITS Emerging Leaders Program

June 25, 2020

ITS America has named University of Pennsylvania, a Mobility21 UTC academic partner, as the winner of the America’s region of the Emerging Leaders Program Global Challenge with their inclusive mobility plan for Philadelphia.

Move, Philadelphia! is an inclusive mobility model for the city that includes multiple strategies to limit private vehicle use within the city using the latest technologies and direct diverted funds to the city’s flailing public transit system. Read the team’s submission here.

The Global Challenge, initially developed for the 2020 ITS World Congress in Los Angeles, was designed to help develop future ITS and emerging technology leaders among university and college students worldwide. Each ITS World Congress regions (Americas, Europe, and Asia-Pacific) is running parallel competitions to select winning teams – one team in each region. Teams were recruited to design an inclusive mobility model for an urban environment in their area. Europe and Asia-Pacific will select regional winners later this summer.

The UPenn team writes that Philadelphia has long had an equity problem. It is the poorest large city in the country but has experienced recent growth, which has resulted in increased congestion. Philadelphia is the third most congested city in the United States, but transportation issues affecting communities of color and low-income people are widespread. The city’s transit agency, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), is at risk, and the team proposes solutions that will create additional revenues as well as make access to transit more equitable. 

From the UPenn team’s abstract: “Introducing innovative curbside management tools can help Philadelphia regulate its limited roadway space and keep traffic flowing. Increasing fees for car usage, such as rideshare fees and parking permits, will more accurately price the cost of driving, discourage car use in our most congested areas, and create additional revenues for SEPTA. Furthermore, an overhaul in SEPTA’s fare structure and collection will increase financial accessibility of transit and make it a more attractive mode to all Philadelphians.”

Members of the UPenn team, below, are all in the Master of City Planning program:

  • Camille Boggan, from Cincinnati, OH, studied Sustainable Transportation & Infrastructure Planning;
  • Emily Kennedy, from Tallahassee, FL, studied Sustainable Transportation & Infrastructure Planning;
  • David Seunglee Park, from Washington, DC., studied Sustainable Transportation & Infrastructure Planning;
  • Kate Sutton, from Lafayette, IN, studied Transportation and Spatial Data Science; and
  • Professors & UTC researchers Erick Guerra and Megan Ryerson

ITS America managed the competition in the Americas with support from a team of volunteers. Teams from 13 universities in the United States and Canada submitted papers.

A team of 15 subject matter experts representing the public, private, and academic sectors reviewed the papers and recommended three to advance to the regional finals. In addition to UPenn, the others were from the University of South Florida and Virginia Tech. ITS America held the regional final, virtually, on June 8. Each team made presentations and answered questions from five judges including representatives from ITS America, U.S. Department of Transportation, HNTB Corporation, Los Angeles Department of Transportation, and University of Florida.”