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The Future of Mobility

November 16 & 17, 2017 - New York City
An Event by the American Geographical Society

Geography 2050: The Future of Mobility


Over the past two centuries, nothing has reshaped the geography of our lives more fundamentally than innovations in mobility. The American Geographical Society’s early days were guided by railroad tycoons, steel barons and bankers interested in connecting the American West through an extensive network of railways, enabling unprecedented commerce, communications and settlement. The railroad fundamentally altered the geography of America, and how people thought about the previously distant frontiers that they could now reach by the comfort of rail. Before railroads came ships that connected continents, and canals that connected landscapes. After the railroads came roads, buses and automobiles. Then the dawn of passenger planes, then the interstate highway system, then passenger jets with global reach. This is a continuous process of humans remaking the geography of their planet through innovations in mobility.

Now the Society is looking to the future to think about how new and emerging innovations in mobility will again reshape the geography of our nation and our world. Mobility has become a central issue within today’s technology press, with the exciting prospects presented by the future of driverless cars, trucks, and buses; flying cars and drone delivery; hyperloops and highspeed rail; hoverboards and electric bikes; supersonic jets and commercial space travel; augmented reality and virtual reality/mobility, and even additive manufacturing and 3D printing at the distant end of supply chains. These frontiers in mobility seem to be ripped from the pages of science fiction, yet early examples of each of these exist today. As always happens, a veritable Pandora’s Box of technologies have been unleashed on the world, and the implications for society and its future geography could not be less clear.

Geography2050 is a multi-year strategic dialog about the vital trends that will reshape the geography of our nation and our planet by 2050. In 2017, our Geography2050 Symposium will focus on the Future of Mobility. We will focus on how mobility innovations will reshape our world’s geography, how these innovations change our basic perception of space and time, and how the geospatial revolution will help drive this revolution in mobility. By exploring these vital future trends, the Society seeks to help thought leaders and decision makers from industry, government, academe and the social sector to “get ahead of the curve” so that they can help shape the future of mobility to make the world a better place.

Speakers & Presenters

Click on a speaker to read their bio!

Keynote Address:
Dr. Parag Khanna

Lee Kuan Yew School

Dr. Mona Atia

George Washington University

Ms. Linda Bailey

National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)

Dr. Tridib Banerjee

University of Southern California (USC)

Mr. Stephen Buckley

WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff

Mr. Rod Case

Oliver Wyman

Dr. Josh Campbell

Sand Hill Geographic

Ms. Patty Clark

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Ms. Andrea D'Amato

Massachusetts Department of Transportation (DOT)

Dr. Alison de Cerreño

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Mr. Keith Dierkx

IBM Global Rail Innovation Center

Ms. Astrid Glynn

Massachusetts DOT

Mr. Todd Graetz

BNSF Railway

Mr. Bern Grush

Mr. Jeff Holt

Bank of Montreal

Mr. Chris Horacek

SpaceTime Insight

Mr. Giles Rhys Jones

What 3 Words

Dr. David Kaplan

Kent State University

Mr. Travis Mason

A3 by Airbus SV

Dr. Marie Price

George Washington University

Mr. Cordell Schachter

New York City DOT

Dr. Lee Schwartz

United States Department of State

Dr. Chris Tucker

Map Story

Mr. Bruce Upbin


Mr. John Walker

Padina Group

Mr. Dean Wise

Dean Wise LLC.

Dr. Joseph Wood

University of Baltimore


The vital trends that will reshape the future of mobility.

Mobility Innovations Reshaping our World - Past Present Future

New forms of mobility have been remaking our world, and how we perceive geography, since human’s first mounted the horse. A passion for seafaring and adventure brought humanity to previously unknown lands. In the modern era, canals and railroads made distant geographies newly accessible to industrialized civilization. The 20th century brought us roads that carried automobiles, trucks and buses to the most remote places on Earth, as well as global air travel. The next wave in mobility innovations will similarly reshape the geography of our planet, along with how we all perceive geography. Foresight requires hindsight, and the future of mobility requires an understanding of how mobility has altered the geography of our planet over past decades, centuries and even millennia. The future of mobility promises progress and peril that we must all grapple with, as we intentionally shape the future geography of our planet. What will it mean to go from "life as a driver" to "life as a passenger"?

Gamechanger - Electric, Shared and Automated

Setting the stage for much of the disruption to come is a major shift in passenger vehicle technology. We see the trend to electric cars emerging slowly and now more rapidly, many of us are becoming avid users of “shared ride hailing” options, and the debate about autonomous cars is heating up. But what if these three forces are combined into a “trifecta” of innovation? What will this look like to consumers? And how will it affect the vast array of primary and secondary industries created over the last century to support our auto culture?

Mobility and the City of the Future

Most of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050. This session will focus on the peculiar mobility challenges that cities will face. There are many kinds of cities, each with unique histories and landscapes, which will have to adapt to (and proactively harness) these new technologies in unique ways. Some cities will face this onslaught of new mobility solutions while also addressing sprawling informal settlements and peri-urban environments. How will rail, transit, autonomous vehicles (driving or flying), as well as old school walking and bicycling come to work with each other? And, what will the geographical implications be for different cities? And, how will different segments of our urban human geographies be enabled or disadvantaged?

Mapping and Managing the Skies Above

Reflecting on all the different kinds of mobility solutions that will be transiting the airspace above us over the coming decades, this session addresses the geospatial and management implications of making these safe, reliable and resilient for the broadest crosscut of society.

Connectography and our Future World’s Regions

Reflecting on all the different kinds of mobility solutions that will be transiting the airspace above us over the coming decades, this session addresses the geospatial and management implications of making these safe, reliable and resilient for the broadest crosscut of society.

How Geospatial Technologies are Shaping the Future of Mobility and Vice Versa!

The next generation of mobility solutions will reshape the geography of our planet in the coming decades. Innovations in geospatial technology and data are at the very core. Mobility and geography have always been inextricably linked, but the Geospatial Revolution has unleashed possibilities in mobility that few imagined practical only a couple decades ago. This session will focus on the kinds of geospatial technological innovations that are helping us realize a future for mobility that will transform how we live our lives, and how we value both human life and our planet’s sustainability.

Investment in, Ownership of, and Access to the Future of Mobility in Different Geographies

While an avalanche of private funding is driving innovation in new mobility technologies, both the public and private sector will have major roles to play as investors in the future of mobility. This matrix of investment will determine who owns the mobility infrastructure in different geographies, and in turn this will govern issues of access and social equity in different parts of the world. Critical thought and debate is required before ownership in and access to future forms of mobility are determined for generations to come, differently in different places around the world.


All sessions and registration will take place in Alfred Lerner Hall, 2920 Broadway, New York, NY 10027
Closing Reception on November 17th will be held at Low Memorial Library.

Day 1: November 16th

12:30 - 1:00 Registration
1:00 - 1:15


Dr. John Konarski III, Chief Executive Officer, American Geographical Society
Dr. Marie Price, President, American Geographical Society
1:15 - 1:30

Introduction and Symposium Overview

Dr. Christopher Tucker, Chair, American Geographical Society
Mr. Dean Wise, Symposium Chair, American Geographical Society
1:30 - 2:00

Plenary Session:

Mobility Innovations Reshaping our World - Past Present Future

Dr. David Kaplan, Professor of Geography, Kent State University
Mr. David Kerrigan, Chief Operating Officer, Quikkly Ltd.
Dr. Joseph Wood, Professor of Public Affairs, University of Baltimore
2:00 - 2:45

Special Plenary Session:

Gamechanger - Electric, Shared and Autonomated

Dr. Antoinette WinklerPrins, Program Director, National Science Foundation
Mr. James Arbib, Founder, RethinkX
2:45 - 3:15 Break and Caucus
3:15 - 5:15

Plenary Session:

Mobility and the City of the Future

Ms. Andrea D'Amato, Assistant Secretary for Operational Excellence, Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT)
Mr. Stephen Buckley, Vice President, WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff
Mr. Bern Grush, Founder,
Mr. Carlos Felipe Pardo, Executive Director,
Ms. Linda Bailey, Executive Director, National Association of City Transportatin Officials (NACTO)
Dr. Alison De Cerreño, Deputy General Manager, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ)
Ms. Astrid Glynn, Rail and Transit Administrator, Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT)
Mr. Cordell Schachter, Chief Technology Officer, New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT)
5:15 - 5:45

Ignite Presentations

5:45 - 6:45 Welcome Reception

Day 2: November 17th

8:00 - 8:30 Registration & Breakfast
8:30 - 9:45

Plenary Session:

Mapping and Managing the Skies Above

Ms. Patty Clark, Aviation Director, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ)
Mr. Todd Graetz, Director of Technology Services, BNSF Railway
Mr. Davis Hackenberg, Deputy Project Manager, National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA)
Mr. Travis Mason, Vice President of Public Policy, A3 by Airbus SV
Mr. John Walker, Senior Partner, Padina Group
9:45 - 10:30


Connectography and Our Future World's Regions

Dr. Parag Khanna, Senior Fellow, Lee Kuan Yew School
10:30 - 11:00 Break and Caucus
11:00 - 12:30

Plenary Session:

Mobility and the Future Regional Networks

Mr. Dean Wise
Mr. Tridib Bannerjee, Professor and James Irvine Chair in Urban and Regional Planning, University of Southern California (USC)
Mr. Shailen Bhatt, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Transportation
Mr. Rodney Case, Rail Sector Leader, Oliver Wyman
Mr. Bruce Upbin, Vice President of Strategic Communications, Hyperloop
12:30 - 1:30 Lunch
1:30 - 2:15

Plenary Session:

How Geospatial Technologies Are Shaping the Future and Vice Versa!

Dr. Diana Liverman, Regents Professor of Geography, University of Arizona
Mr. Keith Dierkx, Director, IBM Global Rail Innovation Center
Mr. Chris Horacek, Strategic Account Executive, SpaceTime Insight
Mr. Giles Jones, Chief Marketing Officer, what3words
2:15 - 2:45

Special Plenary Session:

A Conversation with Brian McClendon and John Hanke

Dr. Joshua Campbell, Chief Executive Officer, Sand Hill Geographic
Mr. John Hanke, Chief Executive Officer, Niantic Inc.
Mr. Brian McClendon, Concerned Citizen, Kansas State University
2:45 - 3:30 Interlude:
The AGS Honors and Awards Ceremony
3:30 - 4:00 Break and Caucus
4:00 - 4:15

Ignite Presentations

4:15 - 5:30

Plenary Session:

Investment in, Ownership of, and Access to the Future of Mobility in Different Geographies

Ms. Adrianne Dicker-Kadzinski, Director of Global Markets, Credit Suisse
Mr. Norman Anderson, President and Chief Executive Officer, CG/LA Infrastructure, Inc.
Dr. Mona Atia, Professor and Director of the Institute for Middle East Studies, George Washington University
Mr. Jeffrey Holt, Managing Director, Bank of Montreal
5:30 - 5:45

A Prospectus for the Coming Year

Dr. Marie Price
Dr. Christopher Tucker
Mr. Dean Wise
6:00 - 8:00 Closing Reception

Partners & Sponsors

Symposium Partners

Premium Sponsors


Special Contributors

Participation Opportunities

AGS is currently seeking sponsors and underwriters to help support the 2017 Fall Symposium

Event Details


Columbia University
Alfred Lerner Hall
2920 Broadway
New York, NY 10027


Book your hotel at discounted conference rates. For more information, click on the respective hotel below.

Aloft Royal Park NYLO


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Rates & Registration

    • Early

    • until October 9th

    • Closed
    • Regular

    • 10 October - 15 November

    • Register Now!
    • At Door

    • November 16 - 17

    • Opens November 16
*AGS Affiliates receive discounted registration. Become an AGS Affiliate by clicking here!
**For those who select this premier registration, your organization will be acknowledged as a friend and participant of the Symposium. Contact Anastasia Tom at

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