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The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis October 10, 2011
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IN THIS ISSUE: Coverage of the 2011 APTA Annual Meeting & EXPO in New Orleans!

EXPO 2011: Bigger and Better Than Ever

To the sounds of a New Orleans jazz band, thousands of U.S. and international public transportation professionals streamed into the massive exhibit space of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center for the gala opening of the 2011 EXPO—at the conclusion of APTA’s Opening General Session.

In the Center were nearly 800 exhibitors covering 274,000 net square feet—displaying their newest and most innovative ideas, products, services, and technologies. With 54 buses, two train cars, two railcar mockups, and golf carts running continuously for people who just couldn’t walk one more step, this was an opportunity for APTA members and the interested public to talk with equipment manufacturers, consultants, and researchers.

Even Administrator Peter M. Rogoff of the Federal Transit Administration put in time at the FTA booth. “Everyone from FTA who is here in New Orleans takes a turn at the booth,” he said.

The first APTA EXPO was held 30 years ago in Chicago. When it opened in 1981, there were 265 exhibitors and 5,500 attendees.

By way of further comparison, 15 years ago 600 exhibitors occupied four halls of the Anaheim Convention Center, making use of 173,000 net square feet.

All those connected with this year’s EXPO agree that both APTA and this exhibition—the largest public transportation showcase in the world—have come a long way since then!

The range of exhibits was close to mesmerizing—from smaller companies with tabletop displays to very large companies with two-story revolving and illuminated signs and seating areas so prospective customers could talk comfortably with the business representatives.

There was significant foot traffic every hour the EXPO was open. One APTA member was heard to say: “If your feet don’t hurt, you haven’t walked around enough, and you haven’t learned all you can!”

Also on the floor were International Showcase sessions, numerous prize drawing moments, the Michelin Man, at least two magicians, and a small musical group dressed in lederhosen!

Held every three years in conjunction with APTA’s Annual Meeting, EXPO is the platform from which the public transit industry moves forward.

So, while some of what took place might seem a bit festive, it was all designed to attract public transit professionals who might be looking precisely for what some of the exhibitors could provide. That’s what an EXPO is about, and by all accounts, this EXPO did that—and much, much more.



Photos by Ken Bordelon

Visitors look at the latest technologies in buses. 

Attendees pack the EXPO floor. 


Photos by Ken Bordelon

The expansive EXPO 2011 exhibit floor in New Orleans, where nearly 800 exhibitors filled 274,000 net square feet on 22 miles of floor space.


So much happened at the 2011 APTA Annual Meeting and EXPO, it won’t all fit in one issue of Passenger Transport! See continuing coverage in the Oct. 24 issue.

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