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Build Our Way Out: Investing in Our Future when Our Present is in Turmoil

For decades, governments have used “shovel ready” infrastructure projects to jumpstart economic activity and get people back to work in times of uncertainty. However, most of these projects are large, complex and have multi-level jurisdictional challenges. History has shown that these obstacles can limit how quickly money is actually returned to the economy.

Infrastructure can and should play a significant role in our “return to normal,” but it will be important to distinguish between the complex regional projects that we need and the projects that may be smaller in scale but are truly “shovel ready.”

Join us for a lively panel discussion uncovering lessons from past infrastructure projects and learn from the challenges—and the triumphs.




Lecia Stewart | President, Stewart Group

Kevin Desmond | CEO, TransLink
Alan Hart | Founding Principal, VIA Architecture
Bob Hastings | Agency Architect, TriMet

Duncan Wlodarczak | Chief of Staff, Onni Group of Companies

TransLink launches consultation on 30-year regional transit plan

Sustained growth in Metro Vancouver continues to impact the region in a variety of ways, including transportation, congestion, and affordability.
So what steps can we take to plan a future for the region that improves the lives of Vancouverites?

TransLink, as the regional transportation authority responsible for the planning, development, and operation of Metro Vancouver’s transportation network, is in the process of developing a new 30-year regional transportation strategy that would provide the framework to guide decisions around transportation and development for the next 30 years.

For the first time in over 25 years, TransLink is launching a public consultation process to receive input critical to developing the future network of the region.

Public consultation on the new plan – called Transport 2050, will be open until September 2019.

Read the full article here.

Innovations in transit will create smarter future cities

Cities will increasingly become home to the vast majority of the world’s population, but how will they manage mobility needs and congestion?

Smart Cities NYC posed that question to a panel of transportation leaders and discovered that the future is indeed friendly. Innovations in Transit panelists discussed how the most successful cities of the future will leverage personal access to mobile devices to maximize transportation systems and make them as responsive as possible to human needs.

The panel of industry leaders was moderated by The Stewart Group President Lecia Stewart, who explored the importance of technology and data in improving both traffic management and the commuting experience for passengers.

Alstom Vice President Scott Sherin talked about how Alstom’s new high-speed trains on the Acela Express are doing more to connect the smart cities of Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C. Innovations in Alstom’s vehicle designs are making commuting by rail more comfortable by shortening trips, smoothing the ride and allowing passengers to stay connected to the people and technologies that matter most in their daily lives.

Cubic Transportation Systems Vice President Andy Taylor provided insights into the many ways that seamless payment systems are evolving to improve access to multiple transportation modes while protecting personal information.  The Cubic approach to smart cities is to generate dialogue with stakeholders so that technological innovations are future-focussed and relevant.

Robert Galvin, chief technology officer of the New York and New Jersey Port Authority, and Adam Giambrone, director of the Brooklyn-Queens Express brought forward the ways in which public transportation systems can work more effectively and efficiently using data-driven solutions that are powered by input from the people who use them.

The Smart Cities NYC conference was held in Brooklyn Navy Yards, New York City, from May 3 to 6, 2017.

Smart Cities NYC panel discussion on Innovations in Transit featured (right to left) Brooklyn-Queens Connector Director Adam Giambrone, New York and New Jersey Port Authority Chief Technology Officer Robert Galvin, Alstom Vice President Scott Sherin, and Cubic Transportation Systems Vice President Andy Taylor. The panel, moderated by The Stewart Group President Lecia Stewart, explored the many ways technology is helping to make our cities more integrated, connected and efficient.

Morneau’s economic growth council calls for national infrastructure bank

An expert panel on economic growth is calling on the government to launch an ambitious national infrastructure bank capitalized with $40-billion in federal funds aimed at attracting major institutional investors.

The proposal to entice global pension funds into major Canadian investments goes far beyond anything promised to date by the federal Liberals, but Finance Minister Bill Morneau – who worked directly with the panel over the past several months – signalled a strong openness to the recommendations announced Thursday.

Read the full article here.

Toronto Chief Planner visits the City of Surrey to promote City-Building and LRT

Featured Image: The Stewart Group President Lecia Stewart with City of Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner and Toronto Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat

Toronto Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat visited the City of Surrey on September 14, 2016 and hosted a public lecture with Simon Fraser University about how rapid transit can influence and shape a city’s urban development in a very positive way. Titled “Great Transit, Great City”, the lecture presented a shift in the traditional view of transportation infrastructure as just a means of moving people from point A to point B. As the public face of Toronto’s many urban initiatives, Ms. Keesmaat talked about her experience in Toronto and the opportunities that surface light rail transit brought to the city – from connecting local people with local jobs, to re-envisioning streets and entire communities. By the end of her lecture, Ms. Keesmaat clearly demonstrated that progressive city building requires a new approach to rapid transit and the two are intrinsically intertwined.

“Getting transit right requires a clear vision of the city that you are seeking to create” – Jennifer Keesmaat



Ms. Keesmaat also met with City of Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner and The Stewart Group President Lecia Stewart to discuss her experience with the Toronto’s Eglinton Crosstown LRT project and the opportunities LRT bring to the City of Surrey in developing its city-building goals.

“Rail transit is about more than sleek trains and trendy stations – it’s about building a great community and great city” – Lecia Stewart