Registration Open Below!


The Future of Mobility

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


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 in order to make the world a better place.

Speakers & Presenters

Trends Reshaping the Geography of Our World

Keynote Address:
Dr. Parag Khanna

Lee Kuan Yew School

Ms. Mona Atia

George Washington University

Ms. Linda Bailey

National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)

Mr. Tridib Bannerjee

University of Southern California (USC)

Mr. Rod Case

Oliver Wyman

Ms. Patty Clark

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Ms. Andrea D'Amato

Massachusetts DOT

Ms. Alison de Cerreño

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Mr. Keith Dierkx

IBM Global Rail Innovation Center

Mr. Gordon Feller

Meeting of the Minds

Ms. Astrid Glynn

Massachusetts DOT

Mr. Todd Graetz

BNSF Railway

Mr. Bern Grush

Mr. Jeff Holt

Bank of Montreal

Mr. Chris Horacek


Mr. Travis Mason

A3 by Airbus SV

Ms. Marie Price

George Washington University

Ms. Natalia Sanz

Inter-American Development Bank

Mr. Cordell Schachter

New York City DOT

Mr. Lee Schwartz

State Department

Ms. Becky Steckler

Urbanism Next

Mr. Chris Tucker

Map Story

Mr. Bruce Upbin


Mr. John Walker

Padina Group

Mr. Dean Wise

Dean Wise LLC.

Mr. 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 our the future geography of our planet.

Connectography and our Future World’s Regions

Future forms of mobility and the connectivity that they bring will have a profound impact on the future geography of the world’s regions, and how they interaction. How goods and people move across our planet will in fundamental ways, as innovations in mobility come to pass. This “Connectography” has profound implications for the future of geopolitics, commerce, security, health, immigration, and identity. What is means for people to identify as “locals” or “global citizens” will be transformed in coming decades by these new forms of mobility.

Mobility and the City of the Future

The vast majority 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 different 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?

How We Will Move our “Stuff”: The Future Geography of Freight (and Garbage) Mobility

Modern humans are nothing without our “stuff”. Even the most non-acquisitive among us create demand for the movement of goods that are sourced locally, regionally, nationally, and globally. The social accessibility of certain goods to certain populations, as well as the carbon footprint of these goods, is fundamentally shaped by the mobility matrix that underpins a given supply chain. This session will help explore the future geography of mobility as it relates to freight and the movement of our goods (and garbage). What goes in must go out.

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. Weather flying indoors, amongst traditional airplanes, or through nearspace, most everything that flies comes to land on Earth from time to time, and the mobility of people and goods will demand new geographic perspectives on mobility.

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.

Partners & Sponsors

Symposium Partners

Participation Opportunities

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

Previous Fall Symposia

Contact AGS

If you are interested in sponsoring Geography2050, contact If you have great ideas that might inform this multi-year strategic dialog, please contact us at

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Event Details

Registration is open!


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


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Aloft Royal Park NYLO


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Rates & Registration

    • Early

    • until October 6th

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    • 7 October - 15 November

    • Opens October 7
    • At Door

    • November 16 - 17

    • Opens November 16
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