Problems or Solutions? TRBAM Underway in D.C.

One of the premier planning events of the year is underway in D.C.

1 minute read

January 11, 2023, 5:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

New York City Department of Transportation

emin kuliyev / Shutterstock

Andy Boenau is blogging from the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting (TRBAM), which got underway over the weekend and will run until Thursday of this week, including a discussion of problems versus solutions as a useful conceptual framework for planners.

Boenau writes, for an example of the difference between problems and solutions: “Henry Ford’s customers were in love with a solution—a faster horse. Henry Ford was in love with a problem—clunky manufacturing processes.”

Thus, Boenau is attendeding the TRBAM on the search for problems:

Eye-detection software, warning lights that communicate with each other, cheap pavement materials, and real-time data illustrating origins and destinations… there are a ton of solutions being pitched by researchers and practitioners this week. The better they are at describing the problem they’re in love with, the more likely the traveling public will benefit.

Boenau and others are actively live tweeting the proceedings at #TRBAM, so check out that hashtag at if you weren’t able to attend the conference in Washington, D.C. this week. The article linked below is on Substack, but is accessible to the public.

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