Public transportation and sustainability
The light rail system is very convenient; I recommend that everyone give it a try. Although I had never been to Phoenix before, I adventurously followed the succinct (but very useful!) recommendations from the conference website to get from the airport to my hotel by light rail. And I have to say that I found the system very easy to use, clean, quick, and reliable. This is very surprising to me, given the city’s image of being “the world’s least sustainable city“; yet few American cities could pride themselves on having such a shiny and efficient public transportation system.
Looking at ValleyMetro‘s website, I saw that ridership is still increasing (and is currently at +40,000 daily users on weekdays), and the network is still expanding; and I suppose that its complexity and congestion would also be increasing. Although sustainability was the theme of the conference a few years ago, there seem to remain plenty of opportunities for OR specialists in that area!
Many thanks to the conference organizers for drawing our attention on this great public transportation system. This, together with the new mobile app that should reduce the need to order the printed copy of the program (although I still like better using the pdf version of the program), should hopefully reduce the environmental impact of this increasingly big conference.