Rebecca (Ray) Noble works at New York City Emergency Management as a Transportation and Infrastructure Specialist. She hails from the Midwest and relocated to NYC to pursue a graduate degree in Urban Planning at Columbia University. When she’s not nerding out about transit, you can probably find her running around Prospect Park, reading, or playing board games.
What do you enjoy most about YPT?
The Transportation group at my office is very small, so I enjoy YPT because I get to meet people with shared interests who I would not encounter directly through my job.
What’s your preferred transport mode and why?
I really love all transport modes for different reasons, but biking is special to me. Biking around Chicago as a young adult drastically changed the way I experienced the city, and getting involved in bicycling advocacy propelled me into thinking about mobility justice from a structural perspective.
What are you working on that you’re most passionate or proud about (transit/COVID-related)?
I’m really proud of the work I’ve gotten to help out with behind the scenes at Emergency Management during the COVID-19 response. There’s a lot of planning that we do year-round to prepare for power disruptions, building vacates, and evacuations, for example, and we had to rapidly adapt a lot of our planning assumptions. I’m proud of the inventive solutions we developed, especially since we produced them in the midst of a global crisis.
What is the biggest transit-related problem that you’d like to help solve?
I would love to eliminate private automobile ownership (except as a reasonable accommodation). I know there’s a lot of ways this could be done wrong, but wouldn’t it be amazing if we got it done right?
Do you have any tips (career advice) for YPT’ers interested in your career path?
Emergency managers have to be able to toggle back and forth between a lot of different roles (at our agency, we each have a day-to-day job, and a “grey sky” role during emergencies). We also collaborate with a lot of external partners during planning and response. A calm temperament is an asset; if you can encounter novel or high-pressure situations without getting riled up, this career might be a good fit for you.