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Transportation leaders discuss the future of the industry at Chicago Loop Alliance's Downtown Futures Series: Mobility as a Service

Posted  5 years ago

Press contact: Jessica Cabe | PR and Communications Manager, Chicago Loop Alliance jessica@chicagoloopalliance.com | 312-782-9160


CHICAGO—Leaders of Chicago’s transportation industry will convene on July 31 for Chicago Loop Alliance’s “Downtown Futures Series: Mobility as a Service.” Urban thought leaders Melody Geraci (Active Transportation Alliance), Benet Haller (Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways), Kevin O’Malley (Chicago Department of Transportation) and Jerry Quandt (Illinois Autonomous Vehicles Association) will participate in a dialogue moderated by Paola Aguirre Serrano (Borderless, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago) on the ever-changing landscape of transportation. “Downtown Futures Series: Mobility as a Service” takes place from 7:30-9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, July 31, at AceBounce (230 N. Clark St.) Tickets are $20 (free for students and members) and can be bought at www.loopchicago.com/downtownfutures.

Picture this: After landing in a new city, you open a transportation app to figure out how to get to your hotel. On your screen appears a variety of options—public transit, bike and scooter share, walking, an autonomous car service, maybe even Uber Air. In this future world, all of these systems work together to get you where you need to go as quickly, efficiently and safely as possible, and they communicate with one another so that your best options are always at your fingertips—no matter how many companies or government entities your trip touches.

This level of connectivity, and this cultural shift from personally-owned vehicles to consuming mobility as a service, is the future of movement, and it will change the way we get into and through the Chicago Loop.

“Our panelists come from the public and private sectors, and they are able to speak on how new urban mobility models are beginning to work together,” said Michael Edwards, President and CEO of Chicago Loop Alliance. “We’re finding ways to allow these different systems to communicate to one another, so in the future, it will be very easy to make a trip using a scooter for part of the journey, then a train, then an autonomous car, for example. As the Central Business District expands through a boom in residential development, record numbers of tourists, and a growing workforce, it will be more important than ever to have this connectivity among transportation options.”

About Downtown Futures Series

Chicago Loop Alliance’s Downtown Futures Series, now in its fourth season, brings recognized urban thought leaders into public dialogues on emerging downtown trends and their impact on Chicago’s Loop. Forums are held three times annually.

About Chicago Loop Alliance

Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA) is a membership organization as well as the sole service provider for Special Service Area#1-2015, and the Chicago Loop Alliance Foundation produces public art projects and events. CLA’s mission is to create, manage and promote high-performing urban experiences, attracting people and investment to the Loop. For more information, please visit www.loopchicago.com.

About the moderator

Paola Aguirre Serrano is founder of BORDERLESS — Chicago-based urban design and research practice focused on cultivating collaborative design agency through interdisciplinary projects. With emphasis on exchange and communication across disciplines, Borderless explores creative civic design and engagement interventions that address the complexity of urban systems and social equity by looking at intersections between architecture, urban design, infrastructure, landscape, planning and community participatory processes. Aguirre Serrano is an active educator, and currently teaches architecture at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

About the panelists

Melody Geraci has worked in the not-for-profit sector for over 18 years, and for Active Transportation Alliance since 2005. As Active Trans’ Interim Executive Director, Geraci serves as a top-level thought leader and strategic manager in pursuit of Active Trans’ ambitious vision for the Chicago metro region: that all people in Chicagoland have access to a safe, seamless, convenient and connected transportation environment that is abundant with walking, bicycling and transit options. Melody’s prior non-profit experience includes management in areas such as affordable housing, court monitoring and disability advocacy.

Benet Haller has lived in the Chicago area for more than 35 years, starting with his undergraduate years at the University of Chicago and extending to the present day as Transit Manager for the Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways. In between, he earned master’s degrees in urban planning and policy from UIC and in geography and environmental studies from Northeastern Illinois University, worked for Teska Associates for more than three years and for the City of Chicago in the Department of Planning and Development for nearly 20 years.

Kevin O’Malley has been the Managing Deputy Commissioner at the Chicago Department of Transportation since 2014, coordinating and directing project development and strategic planning for the department, which includes the City's Complete Streets program, Divvy, capital planning, traffic design, engineering and safety.  O’Malley is also point for CDOT in coordinating and strategizing with other key departments on new mobility, transit and data integration. He was one of the key staff members who supported the Transportation and Mobility Task Force, which completed its work earlier this year. Prior to CDOT, he worked at the CTA for 19 years.

Jerry Quandt is the Executive Director of the Illinois Autonomous Vehicles Association. The Association is a privately funded, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of autonomous vehicle technologies within the State of Illinois. The organization's focus is to establish Illinois as the leader in the development, design and application of the system-of-systems that will transform mobility as we know it. Quandt has worked most of his career in global marketing and business transformation, and he spent some of his early career working in the political arenas in Illinois, Washington, D.C., and Ireland.


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