The event matrix at TransportationCamp 2012. Photo by justgrimes on Flickr.

The massive Transportation Research Board annual conference is coming up in January, which means tens of thousands of transportation professionals descend on DC. Even if you’re not going, there are a number of worthwhile events at or around TRB that are open to the public.

Jarrett Walker is giving a 2-day course in transit network design that will teach a lot to professionals and amateurs alike. TransportationCamp gets people talking about innovative technologies in an “unconference” before the stuffier main conference, and a YPT networking reception connects transportation professionals young and old.

TransportationCamp: The day before the conference starts, Saturday January 12, is the TransportationCamp “unconference” focusing on how innovative systems like information technology, bike sharing and more are transforming transportation.

An innovative theme gets an innovative format: In contrast to the structured sessions where people present papers they submitted many months ago, an “unconference” lets people propose their own sessions, and if folks want to attend, they do!

TransportationCamp is 9:30 am to 5 pm at GMU Founders’ Hall, 3351 Fairfax Drive, Arlington (Virginia Square Metro). It costs $20. Register here.

Jarrett Walker’s network design course: On the other end, right after TRB, transit guru Jarrett Walker is giving a 2-day course in how to design transit networks. Walker writes,

The course builds an understanding of network design by working in small groups on specific network design problems in a fictional city.  The whole course is about 65% fun and interactive exercises, 25% discussion, and 10% me lecturing.

People come out of the course with a much clearer sense of what transit can and can’t be expected to do in various situations, and the questions it requires communities to ask.  It also builds your understanding ofexactly how other areas of activity — including transport policy, development, and land use planning — profoundly determine public transit outcomes.

The course costs $495 for the 2 days, minus 5% if you register before December 28, 10% for full-time students, and 10% for a group of 5 or more. Register here.

Young professionals’ reception: The Young Professionals in Transportation and TRB Young Members’ Council are having a reception during TRB that’s open to everyone, TRB participants and not, young and not so much. The focus is helping young professionals network with each other and with their more established counterparts.

The event is 5:45-7:15 pm on Tuesday, January 15, on the mezzanine level of the Marriott in Woodley Park. The event is free.

Are there other events you know of during TRB that are open to folks not going to the conference? If so, post them in the comments!

David Alpert is Founder and President of Greater Greater Washington and Executive Director of DC Sustainable Transportation (DCST). He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. Unless otherwise noted, opinions in his GGWash posts are his and not the official views of GGWash or DCST.