2017 Conference Theme

Beyond Boundaries: Building on Common Ground

"Common ground" is defined as "a basis of mutual interest or agreement." Transportation and ecology professionals are continually challenged to find commonly shared goals between diverse—and sometimes divergent—groups in order to build and maintain safe, sustainable transportation systems within an increasingly sensitive environmental context. The ICOET 2017 theme highlights those efforts to forge cooperative agreements, progressive partnerships, and practical solutions that successfully move us beyond partisan and physical boundaries to achieve ecologically sound transportation practices.

The movements of wildlife, plants, and natural ecological processes—including climate change and extreme weather events—fundamentally pressure the boundaries of our built environment. Managing and mitigating for these interactions to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes for both human and natural environments is the central tenet of transportation ecology. As our society continues to grow, so does the need to increase the pace and scale of our efforts to protect and restore fragile natural resources impacted by our transportation systems.

Similarly, transportation development inherently traverses the geographic and jurisdictional borders of various stakeholders. In reaching across these boundaries to develop collaborative relationships, we find the common ground to accomplish successful projects and program management. Solutions to seemingly insurmountable challenges can be realized in a more efficient, transparent, and productive manner by focusing on our similarities rather than our differences. Building strong, interdisciplinary relationships at the local, regional, national and global scale is necessary for preserving the health and connectivity of our ecosystems and the resiliency of our transportation systems.

ICOET 2017 will emphasize the ‘boundless’ efforts being made around the world to improve our common understanding of the critical connections between vital transportation infrastructure and our irreplaceable natural environment. In its ninth biennial conference year, ICOET continues to serve as an invaluable conduit for transportation and ecology professionals to share applicable research and best practices, and to transfer knowledge between experienced practitioners and future leaders.