Will you be among the 17,000 transit industry professionals converging in New Orleans the first week of October? What’s drawing all these people to New Orleans, beyond the promise of fine cuisine, walks in the French Quarter, and a ride on the oldest continuously operating streetcar in the world? All this and more: APTA Expo 2011, North America’s largest public transportation conference, held once every three years, will be taking place. If you have any doubts about the value of attending Expo, let’s preview a few highlights of this year’s event.
Some Expo activities will take you behind the scenes in New Orleans, a city well known for its unique old-world ambiance, from the centuries-old buildings and cobbled streets to the streetcars and fine cultural traditions. First-time visitors will enjoy new experiences within old institutions. Expo attendees are invited to take a special tour, not open to the public, of the historical New Carrollton streetcar facility. This is a beautiful facility with plenty of architectural character where skilled craftsmen rebuild streetcars by hand using time-honored techniques. Don’t miss this tour or a tour of the streetcar expansion projects around the French Quarter and the Union Passenger Terminal, both hosted by the RTA.
As with every Expo in the past 30 years, there will be much to see and do on the show floor. The 280,000 square feet of Expo show floor will feature 750 exhibitors with hands-on machinery, more than 70 buses and two full-sized rail cars. International showcases will highlight business opportunities as well as the state of technologies outside the United States. Check the Expo program for transit technology sessions and showcases scheduled on the show floor each day.
Perhaps the most valuable show experience is the interaction with your peers. Whether looking for best practices or willing to pass on your well-earned knowledge, you will find the show provides multiple venues to meet new colleagues, connect with old friends and have some fun.
But wait – there’s more: APTA is working with the St. Bernard Project to rebuild homes in New Orleans. You and your crew can volunteer to help on Friday, September 30 and Thursday, October 6. Just one more reason to extend your stay a little bit longer, and maybe enjoy a few extra beignets at the Café Du Monde. Special reduced housing rates, train and airfares are available. Best of all, registration is free. Go to APTAEXPO.COM for details.
Look for the 2011 Top 40 Under 40 in our September/October issue.