Melbourne 2023: Our most successful AITPM Conference
The 2023 National Conference was the biggest and best AITPM event yet, with more than 600 delegates hearing from industry experts, connecting with other professionals, and taking part in future-shaping conversations.
AITPM CEO Kirsty Kelly said the event had exceeded the expectations of all involved, including Board directors, attendees from the public and private sector, the 23 sponsors, 15 exhibitors, and the team of volunteer organisers.
“There was a really great energy with so many people coming together to talk about ideas around the pathway to a connected, modern Australia,” Kirsty said.
In a clear indication of the growing diversity of the AITPM and the industry more broadly, more than 30 per cent of delegates were women and every state and the ACT was represented at the conference. There were nearly 300 Victorian delegates, 102 from NSW, 93 from Queensland, 24 from Western Australia, 16 from South Australia, and eight each from Tasmania and the ACT. Government and private sectors were well represented both at the lectern, and in the audience.
With its title of Pathways to a Connected Modern Australia, the conference focused on the themes of sustainability, placemaking, and connectivity. In total, delegates heard from 114 presenters and speakers, including nine keynotes, over 30 hours of programming.
The opening day at the iconic MCG featured the increasingly popular Transport Modelling Workshop, which attracted more than 200 professionals, the C-ITS workshop, and the welcome reception.
Over the following two days, presentations and speakers addressed and discussed how Australia’s strong transport community could better address the challenges created by the climate crisis and improve connectivity and accessibility across Australia.
Delegates attended thought-provoking sessions including on gender equity in transport, micro mobility, the future of cars in Australia, making the most of buses, and transport challenges in regional areas.
Melbourne media covered some of issues raised at the conference, including keynote speaker Professor Marco te Brommelstroet from the University of Amsterdam, who presented an entertaining address on the urgent need to rethink our cities.
The conference celebrated the continued academic partnership between AITPM and Monash University, and featured the exciting announcement of a new Transport and Mobility Planning Master’s Degree, which will be available from 2024.
AITPM Fellow and senior lecturer at the Monash Institute of Transport Studies, Associate Professor Alexa Delbosc, said the partnership formalised the positive relationship between AITPM and the university.
“We were very excited to launch this at the conference,” Alexa said. “People tend to come to transport from many different backgrounds – maybe they only had a couple of classes in transport, or maybe none – and this will provide the opportunity to really increase the breadth and depth of knowledge in transport.”
A recent civil engineering graduate from South Australia, Eli Alabaster was one of seven winners of the Young Professional Award. El said he attended the conference to network and learn.
“Exposing yourself to new things can be challenging as a graduate but I have met people here who have so much experience and a lot of knowledge to give,” Eli said.
AITPM Queensland Branch President Erin Thomas urged those new to the industry to continue to attend conferences and other events.
“One of the real benefits for emerging professionals is that you grow up in the industry with these people – and suddenly you realise everybody has an important job so it's really nice to have that personal connection to people throughout the industry,” she said. “People continue to be friends and know each other and touch base every year.”
The new AITPM President Liz McGregor said the conference demonstrated the collaborative and support nature of the transport industry in Australia. She has been an AITPM member since arriving in Australia in 2006 after a successful career in South Africa.
“Being part of AITPM gave me the ability to build my networks again and to get into the industry to understand what it's all about in Australia – being on the Board, and now being president, is about giving back to the industry,” Liz said.
“The transport industry is a very small industry and overall I find it to be collaborative and supportive. And that's same sort of value system you find at the AITPM conferences and events.”
Planning is now underway for the 2024 AITPM National Conference in Perth, Western Australia.
A range of sponsorship opportunities are available to promote products and services, while also demonstrating your company’s interest in, and commitment to, professional development across the range of disciplines within the transport community.
Details of the sponsorship levels and benefits for our 2024 conference will be available soon.