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Joint Conference & Exhibition Highlights

Monday, October 28, 2019

The first-ever Joint Conference & Exhibition hosted by the Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) and Intelligent Transportation Systems Society of Canada (ITS Canada) was held September 22-25 in Halifax, and was an unqualified success! The event saw large attendance, with about 1,500 people participating:

  • 940 Conference delegates;
  • 105 companies including 330 booth staff as part of the Exhibition;
  • 330 presenters shared information at 70 Conference sessions, panel discussions and workshops, organized into 11 different tracks; and
  • About 300 meeting participants were onsite at the Halifax Convention Centre (HCC) in the days leading up to the conference.

The Opening Plenary set the stage with welcome messages from the conference hosts, Mayor Mike Savage of Halifax Regional Municipality and the Hon. Iain Rankin, Nova Scotia’s Minister of Lands and Forestry. TAC President, Darren Chaisson, and ITS Canada Chair and CEO, Ian Steele, also welcomed delegates to the event. Then came an engaging main-stage panel discussion, PREMISE AND PROMISE: Technology and the Future of Transportation. Facilitated by Peter Sweatman of CAVita, expert panelists Barbara Gray, Randy Iwasaki, Jonathon L. Wescott and Bob McQueen offered a provocative and insightful examination of the interplay between safety, innovation, industry collaboration and public expectations.  

The conference offered 70 technical sessions in 11 tracks, featuring 330 presenters, as well as 10 technical tours to local destinations. Many delegates reported that the combination of roadway and urban infrastructure content with stronger-than-usual technology content broadened their learning and networking opportunities.

The Exhibition featured products and services from 105 companies. Visitor traffic was brisk throughout the Welcome Reception on Sunday, and between the Opening Plenary and lunch on Monday. Refreshment breaks were held in the Exhibition area to encourage delegates to network and visit the trade show. Monday and Tuesday also saw 10 live demos on the Showcase stage, offering companies another way to engage attendees.

Conference lunches were a time to eat, gather and learn. Monday’s lunch recognized ITS Canada and TAC award recipients for the year. Tuesday’s lunch featured winners of the two organizations’ student and young professional awards, and a presentation by Shelley Rowe on how storytelling techniques can improve technical presentations. At Wednesday’s lunch, attendees heard concluding impressions and highlights from TAC and ITS Canada’s leaders, a big ‘thank you’ to the local hosts, and a preview of conference plans for 2020.

The Nova Scotia Kitchen Party on Monday evening was the social highlight of the Joint Conference for over a thousand people who enjoyed Celtic music and dancers, and then rocked along with party band The Mellotones. Whole lobster was on the menu, among other treats, making for a great night of eating, drinking, dancing and all-around fun.

ITS Canada and TAC are grateful to the people who attended the event, our exhibitors and sponsors, and local hosts Halifax Regional Municipality and the Government of Nova Scotia, for making the event so successful. We are still gathering participant feedback, but are heartened by the enthusiasm shown by the transportation community in its support of the Joint Conference & Exhibition.

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