InTrans / Oct 18, 2022

Mid-Con “moves the needle” on implementation

Biennial InTrans, Iowa DOT research symposium returns

InTrans Director Shauna Hallmark (left) and Associate Director Neal Hawkins (center left) chat with the Mid-Con opening day speakers Edward Mauser (center right) and Scott Marler (right)

More than 250 people gathered for the Mid-Continent Transportation Research Symposium for the first time since 2019 to hear the latest innovations in the industry.

The biennial Mid-Continent Transportation Research Symposium is hosted by Iowa State University’s Institute for Transportation (InTrans) in partnership with the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT). The event was not held last year due to the pandemic, so 2022 offered the first chance to gather again in person.

“The symposium, as always, is a wonderful opportunity for state and federal transportation professionals, university researchers, industry representatives, and students to network and learn about a range of transportation issues,” said InTrans Director Shauna Hallmark. “It was great to see everyone together again.”

InTrans doctoral student Nazik Citir discusses research on a pavement structural analysis tool during the Mid-Con poster session

The 1 ½ day event kicked off with a keynote address from Edward Mauser, product lead at Milestone Systems, and remarks from featured speaker Scott Marler, Iowa DOT Director. Both speeches carried themes similar to InTrans’ vision of “translating science for decision-making.”

Mauser’s speech focused on “the quest to move the needle” from research to practice. His key takeaways in that quest are to center outcomes over output, diversify teams by bringing in outside organizations or outside thinkers, and value public-private co-creation.

Marler’s focus was on the efforts of the DOT to transform transportation. He similarly stressed that big changes aren’t inevitable but that it takes everyone working together to make something happen.

InTrans research scientist Anuj Sharma leads a concurrent session presentation on implementing traffic anomaly detection in real-world applications

The unofficial theme of bridging the gap between research and practice carried throughout the entire conference with the following:

  • A variety of concurrent sessions focusing on innovations in early stages of potential adoption and implementation efforts throughout the Midwest
  • An innovation session and follow-up panel on how the Iowa DOT and other state DOTs—including Indiana, Missouri, and Utah—are implementing new practices
  • Panels on a variety of Iowa DOT initiatives, including digital delivery, innovation, safety, and sustainability
  • Plenty of opportunities for attendees to network with each other and the presenters

Those who were not able to attend a presentation or who are looking to revisit some of the information provided during the concurrent sessions can take a look at all of the presentation slides on the 2022 Mid-Continent Transportation Research Symposium Program page.

Planning is already underway for the 2024 event, and we look forward to seeing you there!