Transit + Community

Conference Schedule

The detailed schedule for the 2024 Mpact Transit + Community conference in Philadelphia (October 20-23, 2024) will not be available until summer. Scroll down for details from the 2023 conference in Phoenix.

Original artwork for 2023 Mpact Transit + Community Conference in Phoenix Nov 5-8. Artwork by Tato Caraveo.
Join us for the 2024 Mpact Transit + Community Conference in
Philadelphia, October 20-23.
To get a sense of the four days of the conference, scroll below the schedule for the 2023 Mpact Transit + Community Conference in Phoenix, Arizona, November 5-8.

Scroll down to browse descriptions of 2023 conference events day by day, including conference sessions and plenaries, Mobile Workshops, Pre-Conference Events, and the Masterclass Academy.

A note about navigating the Schedule: Scroll down to see conference content day by day. The search bar defaults to search by day. Choose the day you want to search. Or choose Week and set the week starting November 6 to see the Monday-Wednesday lineup. You also can use filter by "Session Type" to see Sessions, Mobile Workshops, Plenaries, etc. Details are still being added for each day.

MW01 Tucson’s Sun Link Modern Streetcar: Development with Local Flavor

$85 (includes lunch)

Bus, Streetcar, Walking

Travel scenic Tucson by streetcar, sampling along the way some of the unique flavors that made it the first city in the U.S. designated a UNESCO City of Gastronomy. Get the backstory on the building of the 3.9-mile electric Sun Link Modern Streetcar, including a tour of the LEED Silver Streetcar Maintenance Facility and the streetcar vehicles. Also learn the secrets to the streetcar’s success: key destinations along the route and the economic development impacts from investments in infill along and near the route. Some of the oldest buildings in Tucson are adjacent to the streetcar, conveying Tucson’s rich history and varied architecture. Local developers and city staff will detail the rich fabric of contemporary infill and historically preserved buildings, followed by a discussion with local practitioners and community members about affordable housing, infill development, economic development and tools for community protection from development pressures, such as community benefit agreements and local wealth building strategies.

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Arcosanti: An Experimental Prototype Arcology

$85 (includes lunch)

Tour Paolo Soleri’s first prototype arcology, a fusion of architecture and ecology. In 1970, The Cosanti Foundation started building Arcosanti, an ambitious project envisioned as an experiment in living frugally and with a limited environmental footprint. They raised funds for the project by crafting and selling ceramic and bronze bells, a practice they still follow today. Visitors will learn about the rich 50-year history of the project and understand why Arcosanti continues to influence architects, urban planners, and designers from around the world.

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MW02 Downtown Tempe: Walk the State Highway, Paddle the Dry River Bed


Walking, Kayaking

Find out how the City of Tempe devised new and creative ways to grow up. Today it is home to one of America’s largest university campuses and a thriving downtown. But not so long ago, downtown’s Mill Avenue was a state highway and Tempe Town Lake was a dry desert river bed. Over nearly four decades, the City decommissioned the state highway and, by reclaiming floodplain, expanded its footprint. Joint development on the former floodplain brought housing, jobs, restaurants and retail. Learn all the details as you walk up the former highway and kayak along the lakefront.

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MW03 Car-Free Arizona: Achieving Sustainable Dreams at Culdesac

$65 (includes lunch)

Walking, Bus

Yes, Arizona is home to the first car-free community built from scratch in the US: Culdesac Tempe. Take a look around. Learn how this mixed-use neighborhood came to be approved in Tempe, about its design, how it is managed and sense of place. Fifty-five percent of the neighborhood is open space and it includes a grocery store, coffee shop, restaurant, bike shop, and coworking space. It’s a community designed around modern mobility, with e-bike garages, over 1,000 bike racks, on-site EV carshare, scooter parking and rideshare pick-up zones. All residents recieve $3,000/year in mobility benefits through a one-of-a-kind partnership with Lyft, Bird, Envoy, and Valley Metro. Go deeper with Culdesac staff, the design team and city staff into these and other details: the development structure, architecture and landscape architecture, heat mitigation, connections to existing neighborhoods and sustainability goals. Culdesac’s developers estimate that residents will emit 50% less transportation-related CO₂ emissions than their neighbors.

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Masterclass Academy


New this year - Sunday’s Masterclass Academy offers a chance to level up on your capacity to be an effective team member and leader.

In today’s ever-changing world, cross-sector, interdisciplinary, collaborative work requires its own set of skills. These courses will  increase your comfort level and ability to ask hard questions, bring people together and be more effective. The classes also will offer opportunities to workshop real-world situations.

Learn how to:

  • Manage multiple projects and the people involved.
  • Be persuasive at board meetings, the city council or at public meetings.
  • Make decisions in changing times.
  • Measure and convey your impact.

$189. Open to conference attendees and the general public. Register here. 

Each participant will choose 1 course from each time slot:

12:30 – 2:00 pm

  • How to Make a Winning Presentation - Maryvale A, 2nd Level
  • An Ecosystem Approach to Systems Change - Maryvale B, 2nd Level

2:15 – 3:45 pm

  • Harnessing the Power of Storytelling - Maryvale A, 2nd Level
  • The End of Hustle Culture: How to Quit Being Busy and Start Making a Difference - Maryvale B, 2nd Level

4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

  • Deciding How to Decide: Learning from Adaptive Leaders - Maryvale A, 2nd Level
  • Your Impact is Everything: How to Sell the Difference You’re Making - Maryvale B, 2nd Level

Workshop Descriptions 

How to Make a Winning Presentation All professionals must be effective presenters to be successful, whether that’s with the internal team, with prospective clients or in front of a public audience. Are you being clear, concise, and convincing? Gain tips about how to make a winning speech or to communicate ideas better during everyday interactions. In this dynamic session, you’ll learn what you can do immediately to dramatically increase your presentation and public speaking skills. How? Here are three ways: how to identify and mitigate things that can impact credibility such as body language and tone; how to develop slides that serve as true visual aids; and how to connect and motivate your audience whether on video or in person. Deborah Ostreicher, Owner, Distinguished Communications, Phoenix, AZ
An Ecosystem Approach to Systems Change Have you felt like your sense of time has been shifting unpredictably - due to the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual and hybrid work, AI-driven content and social media? Is your desire for the marathon to end and a new normal to take hold constantly dashed by staffing struggles, pinched resources and wounded, tired humans? This workshop is a humble invitation into a deeper mindset that supports iterative planning, with a special emphasis on shared awareness and smarter use of our personal and collective energy. Participants will examine their own assumptions about time, progress, and success. They will consider how those assumptions may be wasting energy and encouraging pointless heroism in the face of systemic, complex problems. Learn about the EcoCycle framework. Then practice using it to examine trends in active transportation. Leave with ideas for a sustainable intervention in your daily work life! Sherry Johnson, Principal Guide, Cultivate Strategy, St. Paul, MN
Harnessing the Power of Storytelling Storytelling has shaped how people relate to each other for centuries. And yet too often it is all but missing from our daily work and efforts to engage communities. In this workshop, explore how you can use stories in every aspect of your work, from external communications to team culture building. Learn the essential components of powerful storytelling, how to center your priority audiences in your storytelling, and how to use storytelling principles to create measurable improvements in community impact and outreach. Catherine Alonzo, Chief Executive Officer, Javelina, Phoenix, AZ
The End of Hustle Culture: How to Quit Being Busy and Start Making a Difference If you’re crazy busy, racing headlong into new projects while also gathering external markers of engagement to validate your work, you might need a break. And to consider a new approach to demonstrating the impact you and your team are making. Learn and implement a planning process that keeps your organization focused on impact instead of activities. It’s called backward design. Find out how to identify the relationship between benchmarks and activities. And then to align project activities to produce your identified benchmarks. Test the framework and leave with a clear plan that will keep your team focused, ensure you’re spending your precious resources (time and money) on the right things, and help you emphasize your impact in your communications to stakeholders. Carole Chabries, Founder & CEO, The Clareo Group, Milwaukee, WI
Deciding How to Decide: Learning from Adaptive Leaders Civic leaders are discovering that old assumptions and linear processes are failing to help them navigate or steer complex systems. Old ways of planning and decision-making also failing in other ways: to meet the needs of cash-strapped communities, to respond to climate shocks and to shift mindsets toward more sustainable practices. This workshop focuses on adaptive leadership, with a special emphasis on personal discovery and local application. Start with a quiz that examines your leadership preferences and assumptions. Share and compare the ways that you and others show up as leaders. Then consider how your assumptions may have been shaped by outdated expectations around transportation and land use planning. You’ll learn to identify when a situation is best served by experimental approaches and the leadership mindset that it requires. You’ll come away with a framework for adaptive leadership and a template for designing safe-to-fail experiments for your next complex challenge. Sherry Johnson, Principal Guide, Cultivate Strategy, St. Paul, MN
Your Impact is Everything: How to Sell the Difference You’re Making It’s a noisy world out there, making it challenging to capture the hearts and imagination of your stakeholders, especially if your message feels like “one more thing” added to their busy lives and long to-do lists. You may have heard that telling stories is the best way to grab people’s attention and move them to action. But stories are only part of the equation. In this workshop, learn how and why to tell which stories so people pay attention, engage and even offer their money or their voice. Understand the value of empathy and engagement in messaging. Create a crosswalk of one project’s benchmarks and your organization’s strategy. Develop a timeline. Create representative audience “avatars” so you can adjust your messaging to increase its appeal. Practice taking a sample data set and creating visuals that appeal to your audience.  Leave with a storytelling plan and a suite of templates for creating visually appealing presentations based on your impact data. Carole Chabries, Founder & CEO, The Clareo Group, Milwaukee, WI  

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Light Rail with a Twist: Take the Challenge

Mpact Transit + Community 2023 - Sheraton Phoenix Downtown


Light Rail

This is one epic multimodal adventure. Explore the culture and history of Phoenix and Tempe via a scavenger hunt along the Valley Metro light rail and streetcar corridors. Photo missions, video challenges and trivia questions take you to both well-known and overlooked gems. Each destination holds a poker card and your next clue. Along the way, you'll meet a well-known architect, learn the history of Arizona State University, explore the thriving community along these transit corridors, and much more. At the end of the journey, there will be two prizes: the team that comes in first and the team with the best poker hand win! And appetizers for everyone!

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Partnering with the US Department of Transportation

Encanto A, 2nd Level


A one-stop shop for everyone seeking more information about some of the US DOT's most innovative initiatives funded through the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Among them: the Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program, the first-ever Federal program dedicated to reconnecting communities that were previously cut off from economic opportunities by transportation infrastructure; the TOD Planning Pilot Program, which provides funding to local communities to integrate land use and transportation planning with a new fixed guideway or core capacity transit capital investment; and the new Thriving Communities Program, which aims to ensure that communities adversely or disproportionately affected by environmental, climate, and human health policy outcomes have the technical tools and organizational capacity to compete for federal aid and deliver quality infrastructure projects that enable their communities and neighborhoods to thrive. Also find out about project funding opportunities available through the Build America Bureau's loan programs.

Moderator: Veronica P. McBeth, MSL, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Transportation Policy, US Department of Transportation, Washington, DC April McLean-McCoy, Community Planner, Federal Transit Administration, US Department of Transportation, Washington, DC Meredith Davis, Community Planner, Thriving Communities Program, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC Tameka Macon-Ryan, Community Planner, Federal Highway Administration Office of Planning, Environment & Realty, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC Sarah Williams, PE, MBA, Project Development Lead, Build America Bureau, US Department of Transportation Washington, DC

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Mpact Innovators Presents: Giving Back to the LGBTQ+ Community in Phoenix

Meet in Lobby

Join us for a service project and to learn about one·n·ten, Arizona’s largest organization providing comprehensive services to LGBTQ+ youth. Their Downtown Phoenix Youth Center offers a place to connect, socialize and receive support for navigating community resources, along with programs that promote self-expression, self-acceptance and healthy life choices. Limited to 25. Dress comfortably.

Mpact LGBTQ+ Community & Friends: Welcome!

FEZ, 105 W Portland St, Phoenix, AZ 85003

A special invitation to LGBTQ conference goers and friends: Get a head start on Sunday night's Welcome Reception with a happy hour at the local favorite, FEZ. Mingle and network. Hear about local nonprofit one-n-ten and how they support LGBTQ+ youth. Then head to the Phoenix Art Museum.

Welcome Reception

Featured Featured

Say hello to old friends and meet new ones at this indoor-outdoor party under the Phoenix sky. A welcome drink for everyone and eats featuring fresh, local flavors!

Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central Avenue, Phoenix


Featured Sponsors

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APA AICP Certification Maintenance

AICP Certification Maintenance

Earn continuing education credit by attending our annual conference or joining live webinars we host throughout the year.

We provide practical know-how and share best practices and innovative approaches from cross-sector stakeholders working in on all aspects of transit, connected mobility and technology options, and development. The range of topics includes policy, planning, community engagement, design, engineering, financing and operations. Our focus encompasses the whole community built around transit and the implications for health, safety, equity, sustainability, access to opportunity and overall quality of life for all residents.

The American Institute of Certified Planners and the American Planning Association approves sessions and workshops at our annual transit and community development conference for certification maintenance credits each year. Our live webinars also are approved for continuing education credit.

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