Coming Soon: Fall Conference & Expo

From November 15-17, the Association Hosts its Annual Three-Day Signature Event in Pasadena.

By Arianna Smith
Managing Editor
Transit California

The Association’s 58th Annual Fall Conference & Expo is coming soon to Pasadena! This annual three-day signature event is generously being hosted by the City of Pasadena's Pasadena Transit, as well as Association members Foothill Transit and Access Services. Event attendees will have the opportunity to network with industry experts, get insights into today’s transit challenges and exciting solutions, explore and experience the latest in transit tech, get inspired by thought leaders at the general sessions, and recognize Association member leaders for their hard work and accomplishments.

The conference will be held from Wednesday, November 15 through Friday, November 17, 2023 at the Pasadena Convention Center on 300 East Green Street, just 10 miles from downtown Los Angeles.  Interested potential attendees can get a feel for Pasadena and the Conference’s hosts, Foothill Transit, Access Services, and the City of Pasadena, through this promotional video.

“We’re so grateful for the efforts of our tireless hosts to bring tour marquee event of the year to life in Pasadena. The Fall Conference & Expo will showcase the best of public transit throughout California, including commitments to infrastructure and operations sustainability, environmental justice, workforce development, and cutting-edge technology,” said Michael Pimentel, Executive Director of the Association. “At the same time, attendees will have the opportunity to share and learn about exciting solutions to challenges that so many of our Association members are currently facing. It’s going to be a great event, and I’m looking forward to seeing you there.”

“Connecting Us:” Past and Present 

Longtime attendees may recall that the Association’s annual event once featured a new theme every year. For 2023 and in coming years, the theme is tied to the Association’s tagline, “Connecting us,” which evokes the annual convening of the transit industry and the Association’s strength of building coalitions to get things done, while quite literally describing what the transit industry does for communities.  Going forward, this theme will maintain the Association’s consistent branding while our graphics and program elements will be refreshed to reflect local context and top member priorities for the year.

Foothill Transit, which provides bus service to the City of Pasadena along with 327 square miles of the San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys, is serving as one of the conference hosts.  Foothill Transit is a leader in sustainability, having been recognized by the American Public Transit Association as having reached its highest level of Platinum in the Sustainability Commitment Program.  And it’s no wonder: Foothill Transit was the first transit agency in the United States to use fast-charge electric buses on its routes.  It also runs California’s largest fleet of hydrogen fuel cell buses and operates North America’s largest hydrogen fuel tank used for transit.  Foothill Transit considers environmental impact in its other infrastructure areas as well, from office space solar panels to hybrid or fully electric agency vehicles.

Access Services, which operates paratransit services in Los Angeles County, is another host.  It serves as the Los Angeles County Consolidated Transportation Services Agency and administers the Los Angeles County Coordinated Paratransit Plan on behalf of the County’s 46 public fixed route operators with its fleet of small buses, minivans and taxis.  Access Services provides a curb-to-curb shared ride service for eligible people with disabilities, operates 24 hours per day and 7 days per week, 

The City of Pasadena's Pasadena Transit is serving as the event’s third host. Pasadena Transit serves the city known nationally for hosting the Rose Bowl football game and the Rose Bowl Parade, Pasadena was one of the first cities to incorporate in Los Angeles County in the late 1800s, and is now home to about 130,000 residents and numerous educational, scientific, artistic, and research institutions.

Sessions and Special Events

Kicking off the event on Wednesday is the General Keynote speaker Van Jones, known well as a social entrepreneur, bestselling author, CNN host and political contributor. As a leader in social and environmental justice, Jones provides expertise and motivation in policy areas that are perennial and growing priorities for Association members and the larger national transit industry. He served as the main advocate for the 2007 Green Jobs Act, which resulted in $500 million in national funding for green jobs training. The Van Jones session will be moderated by Elex Michaelson, co-anchor of Fox 11 News in Los Angeles and host of the political talk show The Issue Is.

Thursday’s General Session will be an insightful and inspiring panel discussion focused on advancing diversity within transit system ranks, as well as the role transit systems and the broader transit industry can play.

The Small Operators Award Breakfast will also take place on Thursday, where award winners will be announced and small operators will be recognized for their innovative approaches to providing transit services to their communities. The California Transportation Commission’s Executive Director Tanisha Taylor will provide a keynote address at this event; the commission allocates funds for highway, passenger rail, transit and active transportation construction and improvements. This breakfast also provides an opportunity for the Association's small operators to network. Participation in this breakfast requires a separate registration fee of $60.00 for members and $80.00 for non-members which can be added to the general registration.

Throughout the event, there will be many additional special features where all are invited. On Wednesday night, attendees will have the opportunity to mix-and-mingle while touring the Expo with over 80 major vendors at the Welcome Reception. New to the Welcome Reception will be an increased focus and celebration of our industry's diversity. On Thursday night, there will be a networking reception across the street from the Convention Center at NOOR Event Center (300 E Colorado Blvd Suite 200) with food, drink, and live music.

Concurrent Sessions and Topics

As with past years, the twenty solutions-driven and interactive breakout sessions have been divided into five topical tracks:  Management & Leadership; Policy, Innovation, & Customer Experience; Community Outreach & Community Benefits; Maintenance; and Operations.  Many of the sessions were submitted by Association members and affiliates, while a few were developed by Association leadership.  Sessions will follow the format of moderated panel discussions or one-on-one “fireside chats” where experts will share professional knowledge and insight to audiences of about 75 people, with some time for audience Q&A.

Speaker sessions are scheduled in one hour and fifteen minutes increments, with two time slots per day when five sessions run concurrently – one in each track. On Wednesday, November 15, sessions run from 11 am-12:15 pm and from 2:15 pm-3:30 pm and on Thursday, November 16, sessions run from 10:45 am-12 pm and from 2:45 pm-4 pm.  

For a list of session tracks, panel titles and topics, and times, please see the Agenda At-A-Glance.

Sponsorship Opportunities Still Available!

On the Expo Floor, there are still a few available slots for Standard Booths and large Exhibit Booth & Display floor space.  For the most up-to-date information on availability and the rewarding benefits of participation, as well as pricing, check the Expo Hall Floor Plan.

To get more information about other sponsorship opportunities, visit the Association’s online Conference Prospectus or contact the Association's Business Development Director, Kristian Ross-Patchin, at (916) 446-4656 x1492 or

Still Need to Register?

Good news! Potential attendees can register here all the way up to November 15.

A full conference pass costs $500 for Association members and $750 for non-members. Single day passes are also available for both Wednesday or Thursday; they cost $375 for Association members and $575 for non-members.

For more information or questions about the conference, please contact Maria Barajas at 916-44-4656 or

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