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Kevin Borras

A strangely anthropomorphic tale of ITS trade shows and bicycles...

Kevin Borras is editor ofThinkingHighwaysand publishing director/co-founder of H3BMedia.;

rational thought and applying it to 99 per cent of their daily lives, they oſten find that they have grown inexplicably attached to inanimate objects. An eminently sensible friend of mine recently bought a new bicycle and gave his old one away. I saw him on his new, £900, high-tech, graphite-framed, razor-saddled bike the following day and he looked a bit down. I asked him what was wrong and he said that he really missed Melissa and that he knew it was stupid but he couldn’t help it. I was about to commiserate with him when I suddenly realised that his wife is called Jen and they have two sons… so I gently enquired who Melissa was. “My bike, I gave the old girl away


yesterday and…I don’t know…it’s just…it’s just not the same…she was my first racing bike…and I just hope she’s gone to a good home and the kid looks aſter her. Daſt, isn’t it?” Well, yes but I can kind of empathise.

I am like that with ITS America’s Annual Meeting & Expo. I suppose feeling emotionally attached to a bicycle is no better or worse than feeling emotionally attached to a trade show, but the empathy is shared because just as Melissa was Rob’s first racing bike and from that day on would be the machine by which all other bicycles are measured, ITS America’s 1998 Annual Meeting & Expo was my first ITS show and is indeed the show by which all other ITS shows are measured. For me, at least. I have come to see it as an old friend, and by attending all

Europe/Rest of the World Vol 8 No 2

umans are strange, unpredictable creatures. Despite being capable of

The ITS America Annual

Meeting & Expo is like an old friend of mine – I have a

long-lasting affinity with it

but one of them since it somehow feels that I have come to know it really well – I appreciate its foibles, am amused by its ever-changing location and actively enjoy being in its company. I have a long-lasting affinity with it. I have come to view it as a friend that I

only get to see once a year…and over the past few years they haven’t been looking so well. Trough no fault of their own, they have started to show their age, look a bit unsteady on their feet and from our first encounter 15 years ago they have shrunk to half their original size. Only this year, things were surprisingly and encouragingly different. ITS America’s 2013 Annual Meeting

Listen now to the Thinking Aloud

podcasts at thinkinghighways. com/podcasts

& Expo was by some margin the best since maybe 2003 in Minneapolis. Yes, the exhibition aisles were narrower, but it wasn’t just the proximity of other delegates, or how much noise they were making, it was how many of them there were. Not only that, they were high quality, top level delegates from all over the US and from a whole range of DOTs. Te exhibitors were happier than I’ve seen ITS America exhibitors for a long time, the aisles were crowded for large swathes of both days, the sessions were well timed and expertly staged, people had new stuff to show you and even the food was pretty decent. It was great to see and it made me think that maybe this tough last couple of years might be finally coming to an end. Te rest of the world, particularly

See us in Dublin on stand C40

those of us in Europe, oſten look to the US for cues, clues and inspiration. If those two days in Nashville in April were anything to go by, we could be in for some interesting times ahead. Oh, and by way of emotional

balance, Rob had his new bike stolen while I was at the show.


THE VIEW Foreword Thinking

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