What is TransportCamp?
Known in the United States as ‘Transportation Camp’ (Americans are less keen to saying ‘public transport’), the first “unconference” was organized by OpenPlans and held in New York City in March 2011. Hundreds of participants from all over the transportation sphere — designers, advocates, planners, engineers, startups, and much more — came to engage in networking events and sessions that tackled the transit issues of the day. (Which, funnily enough, still have not been solved.) Soon after, the event spread to cities across North America, with organizations like Mobility Lab and Transportation for America overseeing coordination and organization.
While there have been transport unconferences in the United Kingdom, this is the first in London.
So what is an “unconference” exactly? Glad you asked! A conference usually follows a top-down approach: typically, the organizer picks the topics and activities that invitees are invited to participate in. This is the opposite—bottoms-up. What we’ll be discussing is up to you, the attendee, with talks and presentations from local or national leaders in transportation and technology. Delivered in all sorts of different forms, each session carries the notion that every attendee can shape or lead the event, giving everyone a chance to get involved and meet people.
Ours will be different than the past, given the stakes and circumstance of the moment. We’ve entered an upside-down period where public transit ridership is battered and vehicular traffic is back, but at the same time, walking and cycling rates are skyrocketing. The long-term plans for remote work call into question the traditional hub-spoke model of transit, and how we’re moving around our city is rapidly changing with the advent of new modes and interventions. That will be the backdrop for our event — the post-pandemic recovery, as we start to think past this last year of tragedy and upheaval to, hopefully, a better future.