September 21, 2023
by Meg Daly
The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) announced today that Miami-Dade County will host the 2024 Designing Cities Conference. The conference will take place at the Intercontinental Miami from Tuesday, May 7 to Friday, May 10, 2024.
The Designing Cities Conference brings together 1,000 officials, planners, and practitioners to advance the state of transportation in cities across North America. The 2024 event in Miami-Dade will be NACTO’s 12th conference, and the first held in the Southeast U.S. The conference is designed to equip city staff with the resources, information, and relationships to build safe, sustainable, equitable, and accessible streets.
In line with this mission, NACTO is focusing the 2024 conference around the following themes:
Miami-Dade County was selected as this year’s conference host because the region embodies the challenges and opportunities facing North American cities. With 2.8 million residents, Miami-Dade is the most populous county in the State of Florida and a vibrant tapestry of cultures, with more than 50% of residents identifying as Hispanic* and more than half born outside of the United States. It is a truly bilingual metropolitan region, with most Miamians speaking Spanish at home. The Miami-Dade Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTPW) runs the 15th largest public transit system in the U.S. as well as the 4th largest traffic signal network, and over 9,000 miles of roadway infrastructure. Encompassing 34 municipalities, Miami-Dade is uniquely poised to offer lessons on regional collaboration to conference attendees.
Miami-Dade also faces significant challenges with housing affordability, traffic safety, climate impacts, and threats to physical and mental well-being, especially to marginalized communities including immigrants, Black people, and LGBT+ individuals. Florida is one of the most dangerous states for pedestrians in the U.S., and the Miami metro region is the 14th-most-deadly in the country. The region is also highly susceptible to the impacts of climate change, and is among the most unaffordable in the U.S.
The ability to move safely, easily, and comfortably through streets and public spaces is a cornerstone of freedom–and one that continues to be out of reach for many people in every city in North America. Too many people are unsafe on our streets, public spaces, and public transportation because of how they look or present, including visibly trans people, Black people, and non-English-speaking immigrants. NACTO stands in strong opposition to laws and policies that limit the ability of people–including Black people, LGBT+ people, and immigrants–to fully, safely, and comfortably access the resources of the city they are in, and NACTO intends to program the conference in support of the organization’s values of fostering community, centering justice, striving for impact, and leading with imagination.
NACTO and its member cities are motivated by the belief in the potential for transformative change through urban design and transportation policy. This belief emerges from the conviction that transforming streets is necessary to address climate change and structural inequities. The 2024 Designing Cities Conference is an opportunity to explore these issues, and to learn about Miami-Dade’s efforts to address them. The conference will feature programming focused on strategies to address the roadway safety crisis in Florida and around the country; the impacts of Miami-Dade’s strategy to build climate resilience; varied approaches to building streets as social infrastructure that support and empower marginalized communities; tactics for managing the intersection of housing demand and transportation; and strategies for regional collaboration.
Programming for the Designing Cities Conference will be informed by a robust network of NACTO and Miami-Dade staff, NACTO’s Board of Directors, advisors, and partners to ensure that the conference advances the state of transportation, equity, and sustainability in cities–and especially for the aforementioned groups.
“NACTO and our member cities lead the way in tackling the most difficult challenges, convening the most crucial conversations, and elevating the most innovative solutions in urban transportation,” said Janette Sadik-Khan, NACTO Chair and Principal at Bloomberg Associates. “Miami-Dade has been at the forefront of grappling with the key issues of our time—from climate change and traffic safety to the struggle for equity. The 2024 Designing Cities Conference is an opportunity to face those issues head-on, and work together to build a better future.”
“We’re facing a safety crisis on our roadways, and as city transportation leaders, we must be on the front lines fighting for solutions and supporting the communities that are most impacted,” said Michael Carroll, NACTO President and Deputy Managing Director for the Philadelphia Office of Transportation and Infrastructure Systems. “Local leaders in Miami-Dade are working hard in the face of enormous challenges to offer residents the safe, equitable transportation system they deserve. I’m excited for NACTO and our members to uplift that work, to learn from each other and to stand unapologetically in support of our vision for a better future.”
“The value of the NACTO network is in the way it supports city governments and leaders to meet the needs of our residents,” said Veronica O. Davis, NACTO Vice President and Houston’s Director of Transportation & Drainage Operations. “Whether in Miami-Dade or Houston, city transportation professionals must often find ways to serve our communities in the face of numerous challenges, including state governments with values different from our own. The Designing Cities Conference is an opportunity to celebrate our progress, share ideas and re-affirm our vision as we prepare to confront the challenges ahead.”
“We are thrilled that Miami-Dade County has been chosen to host the 2024 NACTO Designing Cities conference,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. “Accessible communities and reliable public transit connect residents to more than just their destinations – but also to opportunity. I look forward to sharing and collaborating with other cities, as well as showcasing the innovation Miami-Dade is known for.”
“In Miami-Dade, our lofty vision is to become the world’s best provider of transportation options,” said Eulois Cleckley, Director and CEO of the Miami-Dade Department of Transportation and Public Works. “Having the honor of hosting the 2024 NACTO Conference advances this vision, inviting global collaboration. We look forward to the insights and innovations that will emerge, amplifying our commitment to a well-connected, sustainable, safe and equitable future for our communities through expanded transportation and mobility solutions for all.”
“I’ve always advocated for transportation that bridges equity gaps, ensuring every resident truly has access to affordable housing, quality education, healthcare, well-paying jobs and the arts,” said the Honorable Eileen Higgins, Chair of the Transportation, Mobility, Planning Committee; District 5 Commissioner; and the 2023 American Public Transportation Association Board Member of the Year. “Miami-Dade hosting the 2024 NACTO Conference signifies the global acknowledgement of our leadership in the realm of sustainable and innovative transportation. We are eager to welcome leaders from throughout North America and beyond to engage in meaningful and productive conversations about the future of mobility.”
“Our agency, our Board Members, and our stakeholders believe that creating a safe, reliable and interconnected urban core is paramount in attracting businesses, talent and residents, and to remain competitive among other desirable metropolitan areas,” said Christina Crespi, CEO and executive director of the Miami Development Authority (DDA). “Whether it is moving people via Brightline, Tri-Rail, Metrorail, Metromover, buses/trolleys, protected bike lanes, or large sidewalks, mobility is key in providing quality of life, improving bike/pedestrian safety and reducing harmful greenhouse gases. We are proud to work with our partner agencies to host the 2024 NACTO Conference and ensure that we are building the most livable urban center in the world, and an urban core that is rich with commerce, culture, and community.”
“As the only public healthcare system in Miami-Dade County, Jackson Health System is committed to building a healthier and thriving community by providing a single, high standard of quality care for all county residents,” said Carlos A. Migoya, CEO, Jackson Health System. “As health providers, we understand efficient and reliable transportation is essential for ensuring timely access to preventive care, enabling individuals to attend regular check-ups and screenings that can help detect health issues early and improve overall well-being. The 2024 NACTO Conference will provide a platform for experts and stakeholders to come together, exchange ideas, and develop innovative solutions to address pressing transportation issues in our county, ultimately enhancing the mobility and livability of our community.”
“We welcome NACTO members and colleagues to Miami-Dade County to learn and share best practices next year,” said Meg Daly, Founder of Friends of The Underline. “We have a shared vision to build cities as places for people, with safe, sustainable, accessible, and equitable transportation. The Underline’s focus on multimodal transportation is a model for all cities to rethink their public spaces to support people on foot, bike and enhance connections to transit.”
The University of Miami’s WalkSafe and BikeSafe Programs are excited about this conference and what it will bring by supporting safe streets and injury prevention,” said Gillian A. Hotz, Ph.D., Director of UHealth KiDZ Neuroscience Center’s WalkSafe & BikeSafe Programs. “NACTO’s presence has influenced safe street design that has helped to unify engineers and advocates throughout the US, and their design guides are amongst the pillars from which equitable, human-scaled streets are created today.”
Learn more about the 2024 NACTO Designing Cities conference at the dedicated conference website.
*While terminology varies across North America, and no term can inclusively capture the vast diversity of Hispanic/Latino/a/e/x communities, in Miami-Dade, the term “Hispanic” is generally preferred and will be used in #NACTO2024 materials and communications.
About the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)
NACTO is an association of 96 major North American cities and transit agencies formed to exchange transportation ideas, insights, and practices and cooperatively approach national transportation issues. The organization’s mission is to build cities as places for people, with safe, sustainable, accessible, and equitable transportation choices that support a strong economy and vibrant quality of life. To learn more, visit NACTO.org or follow us on Twitter at @NACTO and Instagram at @NACTOcities.
About the Miami-Dade County Department of Transportation and Public Works
The Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTPW) develops, coordinates, and operates the County’s transportation networks with the goal of advancing mobility to create a safer, more resilient, connected and sustainable community for our residents, businesses and visitors.
The department manages the County’s public transportation system, Miami-Dade Transit, which is the 15th largest public transit system in the country, and the largest transit agency in Florida. Miami-Dade Transit system includes Metrorail, a heavy rail on an elevated 25-mile dual track with a connection to Miami International Airport (MIA); Metrobus, a public bus network that serves all major shopping, entertainment and cultural centers, as well as major hospitals and schools; Metromover, a free elevated people mover system that operates seven days a week in the Downtown Miami as well as the art and financial districts; Special Transportation Service (STS) and now MetroConnect on-demand services.
DTPW also manages a myriad of public works functions including all traffic signals countywide, along with all traffic control signs, street signage and pavement markings and all County and State-owned streetlights. The Department builds, operates, and maintains nearly 200 fixed and movable bridges, swales, and two major causeways. Other public works functions include managing the County’s Stormwater Utility for flood and water quality protection, maintenance of the secondary water canal system, roadway surface and guardrail repairs along County roads and a Passenger Transportation Regulatory Division, among other responsibilities.