Insights at UBC Sauder

UBC Sauder Professor Tae Oum named president of world’s largest transport research organization

Posted 2019-05-27

Tae Hoon Oum, UPS Foundation Chair in Transportation and Professor Emeritus, Operations and Logistics Division at UBC Sauder, will assume the presidency of the World Conference on Transport Research Society (WCTRS), the world’s largest transport research organization, on May 28th, 2019.

Prof. Oum will become the WCTRS president during the 15th World Conference on Transport Research, taking place in Mumbai, India from May 26th to 31st this year, with more than a thousand members attending.

Since the inaugural conference in Rotterdam in 1977, the World Conference on Transport Research has been held every three years.

“I’ve been associated with them since the 1986 conference in Vancouver, because I was the area manager for transport demand analysis and research at the time,” Oum said.

WCTRS boasts over 3,000 members from around the globe, with 35 special interest groups dealing with all aspects of transportation such as urban transportation, rail transportation, road transportation, taxis and shared rides, ports, shipping and air transport.

Attending many of the WCTRS conferences over the years, Prof. Oum steadily rose in the society’s ranks, being made vice chair of research publications, then vice chair of the society’s 35 special interest groups. Three years ago, he was made the editor in chief of ‘Transport Policy,’ a journal published jointly by WCTRS and El Sevier.

“As President I need to make most decisions with steering committee members, such as choosing where to organise the next conference”, Oum explained. Since conferences are usually organised three years apart, the venue for the conference to be organised six years later, is chosen at any given conference. The next conference will be in Montreal, but a decision on the 2025 conference location will be made in Mumbai.

After becoming President, Prof. Oum has many plans for WCTRS. “We recently opened a Transport Research Centre in Shanghai, and we plan to establish many more,” Oum said.

He also plans to form North American, Asian, and European task forces to compile data to investigate and do urban transport efficiency benchmarking for the top 100 cities in the world.

For UBC Sauder, there will be benefits to having one of their own as the WCTRS president. “We will have some close collaboration with the UBC Sauder School of Business, especially the Operations and Logistics division,” Oum said. “We will be working closely with them to get involved in our supply chain management license program and transport analyst license program, and faculty members will have the option to teach some related courses that the WCTRS will sponsor, which will be a benefit to both faculty and students.”