ITE Journal - April 2021 - 4

| president's message
Las Vegas as a Microcosm
INTERNATIONAL BOARD OF DIRECTION

International President
Alyssa A. Reynolds Rodriguez, P.E., PTOE (F)
Director, Information Technology,
City of Henderson, NV, USA

International Vice President
Beverly Thompson Kuhn, Ph.D., P.E., PMP (F)

Division Head and Research Fellow, Texas A&M
Transportation Institute, College Station, TX, USA

Immediate Past International President
Ransford S. McCourt, P.E., PTOE (F)
Portland, OR, USA

Directors
Jen Malzer, M.Sc., P.Eng. (F)

(Canadian District), Transportation Engineer,
City of Calgary, AB, Canada

Andrew Velasquez, P.E., PTOE (M)

(Florida Puerto Rico District) Program Manager - Planning
and Traffic Engineering, AECOM, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA

Kristi M. Sebastian, P.E., PTOE (M)

(Great Lakes District), Traffic Engineer,
Dakota County, Apple Valley, MN, USA

Daniel Przychodzki (M)

(Global District) Team Leader, Transport,
City of Greater Dandenong, Victoria, Australia

Jeff Riegner, P.E., AICP, PTOE (F)

(Mid-Colonial District), Vice President,
Whitman, Requardt & Associates, Wilmington, DE, USA

J. Andrew Swisher, P.E., PTOE (M)

(Missouri Valley District) Project Manager,
HR Green, Inc., Des Moines, IA, USA

Karen E. Aspelin, P.E., PTOE (F)

(Mountain District), Principal, MaxGreen
Transportation Engineers, LLC, Colorado Springs, CO, USA

Gordon E. Meth, P.E., PTOE, PTP, RSP1 (F)

(Northeastern District) Transportation Engineering
Expert Witness, Robson Forensic, Cedar Knolls, NJ, USA

K. Scott Walker, Jr., P.E. (M)

(Southern District), Project Leader,
Toyota Motor North America, Georgetown, KY, USA

Melisa D. Finley, P.E. (M)

(Texas District), Research Engineer,
Texas A&M Transportation Institute, College Station, TX, USA

Cathy Leong, P.E. (F)

(Western District), Associate Director,
Wilson Okamoto Corporation, Honolulu, HI, USA

Mark Spencer, P.E. (F)

(Western District), Senior Principal,
W-Trans, Oakland, CA, USA

Ex-Officio Members
Eric Rensel (M)

(Coordinating Council Chair) Vice President,
Gannett Fleming, Mechanicsburg, PA, USA

Abbas Mohaddes, P.E. (F)

(Industry Council Chair)
President and COO, Econolite, Anaheim, CA, USA

It's difficult to project the long-term effects of the pandemic on
transportation and our communities. While Las Vegas, NV, USA
is a rather unique place, with its primary reliance on gaming and
hospitality, there are trends and factors that may be relatable to
other communities as we emerge from the pandemic.
Despite an unemployment rate well above the national
average, the Las Vegas housing market is on fire. Inventory is
low and prices continue to climb. According to a January 2021
article in Forbes, Zillow reports more than 60 percent of searches
ALYSSA A.
for Las Vegas homes come from outside the valley, and of those,
RODRIGUEZ, P.E., PTOE (F)
about a third come from the southern California area. There are
ITE International President
likely a number of reasons for the phenomenon, but one factor is
the ability to telecommute. The Nevada tax environment is attractive to out-of-state workers-
coupled with historically low mortgage rates, the buying ensues. This has a few impacts on
transportation. The first is obvious-fewer work-related commutes due to a higher percentage
of telecommuters. The second is related to inventory for locals. Should the trend continue, new
inventory is constructed on the edge of town at greater volumes. These newer communities are
longer distances from the Strip, the primary employment center, and have no transportation
alternatives beyond the personal automobile. Thirdly, community members who have given up
their commutes may be more desirous of transportation infrastructure that allows walking and
biking to nearby amenities.
A Trip Advisor review in 2006 of the Red Rock National Conservation area listed two stars,
and stated that traffic was awful. Visitor volume has since tripled. The pandemic exacerbated
the issue. Parking lots were overflowing, and gate traffic queued onto the highway. When other
recreation options were closed and many were stuck indoors, the ability recreate outside has
proved enticing. However, this emphasized the fact that most areas are only accessible by car,
with insufficient facilities, resulting in disturbances to natural areas as a result. Fortunately, a
multi-use trail is planned for Red Rock in the near future, but other areas aren't so fortunate.
Las Vegas is asking the same questions about conferences as ITE. An in-person event
requires attendees willing to travel, employers willing to fund, and vendors and sponsors
willing to showcase. In 2019, more than 6.6 million people attended conferences in Las Vegas.
Interestingly, while convention attendance decreased by 74 percent during COVID, visitor
volume was down about 55 percent, indicating that the desire to travel still exists. Additional
statistics from the Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Authority show that while airport
traffic was down 56.9 percent for the year, vehicle traffic was only down 16.2 percent. Backups
continued on I-15 at the California border during busy weekends. Air travel may rebound
at a slower rate, affecting taxis and ride-share companies as well as arterials throughout the
resort corridor. The ability for tourism-based communities to recover will depend on vaccine
distribution and trust in air travel. However, if anything is apparent by our smothering love of
local outdoor spaces, people want to get away.
What phenomenon are you seeing in your communities as a result of the pandemic and how
may they affect transportation? Find me on the ITE e-Community or on Twitter: @a2reyrod,
and let me know.

Institute of Transportation Engineers
1627 Eye Street, NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20006 USA
Telephone: +1 202-785-0060 | Fax: +1 202-785-0609

www.ite.org

4

April 2021

ite j o urn al

Alyssa A. Rodriguez, P.E., PTOE (F)
ITE International President


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ITE Journal - April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ITE Journal - April 2021

ITE Journal - April 2021 - 1
ITE Journal - April 2021 - 2
ITE Journal - April 2021 - 3
ITE Journal - April 2021 - 4
ITE Journal - April 2021 - 5
ITE Journal - April 2021 - 6
ITE Journal - April 2021 - 7
ITE Journal - April 2021 - 8
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