Getting around: Transportation experts hold 1st (of many) meetings on World Cup

Leaders from host committee, NJ Transit, Rutgers Center and global experts share insights and best practices

It’s never too soon to discuss transportation logistics around the FIFA 2026 World Cup.

On Monday, New Jersey Transit hosted a workshop at Rutgers University – Newark with transit leaders, as well as event-planning experts from around the world, to share insights and best practices for planning and executing large-scale events.

The workshop was held in partnership with the International Association of Public Transport and Rutgers Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation. It was the first in a number of similar events to be scheduled in advance of the FIFA World Cup 2026, when eight matches — including the final — will be held at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford.

Attendees at the conference shared best practices from their experiences with major international events and touched on topics including crowd management, security, mobility/transport management, integrated ticketing, travel information and wayfinding.

Participants of the workshop included Sir Peter Hendy, who was commissioner of transport for London from 2006 to 2015. He led the successful operation of London’s transport for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Lauren LaRusso and Bruce Revman, co-host city managers of the FIFA World Cup 26 New York/New Jersey Host Committee, stressed the importance of transportation logistics.

“With the FIFA World Cup 2026 less than two years away, there is a concentrated focus on transportation, infrastructure and security efficiencies for the highly anticipated Final match,” they said in a statement. “Working in tandem with NJ Transit and leveraging the expertise of UITP and Rutgers CAIT, we’re committed to further enhancing our transportation system and making the FIFA World Cup 2026 a remarkable experience for all who visit.”

In recent years, NJ Transit has seen great success in safely transporting sports fans and concertgoers to and from MetLife Stadium, including for the stadium’s record-breaking attendance at last year’s Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran concerts.

NJ Transit CEO Kevin Corbett said his group is confident but eager to learn more.

“This partnership with UITP and Rutgers CAIT allows us to take best practices from around the globe and incorporate them in our planning to make this the best World Cup ever,” he said. “This workshop represents a key component of our broader strategy to ensure the best possible transit experience for all those attending the FIFA 2026 World Cup Final, along with the seven additional matches at MetLife Stadium.”

Mohamed Mezghani, the secretary general of UITP, said transportation will play a key role in the event.

“Public transit is essential to make large events successful,” he said. “Major gatherings offer the opportunity to upgrade and extend transit systems, which will not only benefit the visitors, but also exist as a legacy for the citizens.

“Workshops such as this are an opportunity to learn from cities which have hosted large events and allow for the sector to become more informed, to adopt best practices and to implement these new learnings in their own companies to best prepare them for increased usage of their network. I’m pleased that our partnership with NJ Transit and Rutgers CAIT continues to offer such rich resources.”

Rutgers CAIT Director Ali Maher agreed.

“A successful FIFA World Cup 2026 will require cross-agency collaboration to ensure transportation infrastructure is reliable, accessible and accommodates the diverse needs of millions of fans worldwide,” he said. “This workshop is the first of many to bring stakeholders and experts together to share best practices. CAIT is proud to be at the table and leverage our resources to support this major undertaking.”

The Rutgers Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation tackles some of the country’s most pressing infrastructure challenges, especially those that are endemic in high-volume multimodal corridors like the Northeast.

The bulk of its efforts fall within several broad areas: assessing and monitoring the health of bridges, roads and pipelines; creating and implementing revolutionary technologies, materials and tools; formulating strategies to prolong the service life of infrastructure; and training the current and future workforce. Since 1998, CAIT has been a University Transportation Center — a group of academic research institutions sanctioned and supported by the U.S. Department of Transportation. It was named one of only five National UTCs in 2013 and has led the Region 2 UTC since 2018.

Also participating was Felicia Alexander, deputy assistant secretary for transportation policy at the U.S. Department of Transportation. Before joining the Office of the Under Secretary, she served as the associate administrator for the FTA’s Office of Planning and Environment, providing executive direction to all FTA activities relating to transit and transportation planning and environment while also leading FTA’s $4 billion Capital Investment Grants Program.