On Sept. 20–21, the 2023 A Better Border for a Better America Conference, hosted by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), brought together experts and professionals from various fields to focus on enhancing connectivity and streamlining mobility along the U.S.-Mexico border.
This two-day event — sponsored by Port of Eagle Pass Texas, Global Grab, Sun Metro, City of El Paso and the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) — provided a unique opportunity for engineers, planners, administrators and researchers to exchange information and explore the benefits of recent research and practical case studies related to the U.S.-Mexico border.
“It was genuinely heartening to witness the enthusiastic participation and commitment at the 2023 A Better Border for a Better America Conference,” says TTI Senior Research Scientist Rafael Aldrete. “The sessions, facilitated by a diverse group of experts, reaffirmed the transformative potential of collaboration and innovation. I’m confident that the insights gained here will pave the way for a more prosperous U.S.-Mexico border region.”
This year’s event took place at the Double Tree Hotel in Downtown El Paso, Texas, attracting 140 attendees. The event featured Caroline Mays, director of the Texas Department of Transportation’s Planning and Modal Programs, as the keynote speaker. In addition to Mays’ keynote address, attendees engaged in eight technical sessions covering a wide array of topics:
- Policy and Regulation;
- Planning: International Bridges and Transportation;
- Technology; and
- Economic Competitiveness
The conference also included a Street Car Tour of UTEP. SunMetro, the public transportation provider serving the City of El Paso, arranged for street cars to transport participants to the UTEP Campus. The UTEP staff guided participants on a walking tour through the campus, offering valuable insights and experiences.
“The positive implications of this conference extend far beyond the walls of this venue,” adds Aldrete. “As we move forward, we are dedicated to turning these ideas into action. A special thanks to the sponsors of this event; without them none of this would have been possible. The future of the U.S.-Mexico border is brighter than ever, and the path to a better border for a better America has been paved with determination and collaboration on behalf of everyone involved.”
TTI would like to thank the moderators, presenters and everyone who orchestrated the conference’s success including Rafael Aldrete, TTI Research Scientist Jolanda Prozzi, TTI Research Scientist Juan Villa, TTI Senior Research Jeff Shelton, TTI Research Scientist Juan Carlos Espinosa, TTI Research Specialist Carlos Silva, TTI Senior Software Engineer Swapnil Samant, TTI Research Scientist David Galicia, TTI Assistant Research Scientist Okan Gurbuz, TTI Program Specialist III Kristi Holstead, TTI Administrative Associate Ilse Vargas, TTI Associate Transportation Researcher Valeria Martinez and TTI Associate Transportation Researcher Erik Vargas.
“This conference exceeded our expectations,” notes Jolanda Prozzi. “Throughout the event, we experienced the synergies that come from discussing experiences, strategies and ideas. It’s this synergy that will undoubtedly catalyze positive changes and ensure a sustainable and vibrant future for the border communities, Texas and the U.S.”