Diane Xiao, PE, ENV SP: Project Engineer at VHB
Diane is a Project Engineer at VHB. She specializes in traffic and pedestrian analysis with a background in Transit Signal Priority (TSP) projects and simulation modeling. She is passionate about Complete Streets, sustainable transportation, and pedestrian/bicyclist-oriented design.
Linkedin: dianexiao (https://www.linkedin.com/in/dianexiao/)
1. What is your favorite YPT-NYC event and why?
I loved the YPT-NYC/WE Bike NYC Queens Bike Tour with NYCDOT. Not only was it educational, but I also got to bike with other transportation enthusiasts which is always a good time. It was great to meet and talk to the community members behind the Open Street efforts on 31st Avenue and 34th Avenue Open Street.
2. If you could snap your fingers and make one change to regional transportation, what would it be?
I love biking and the city has improved significantly in its bike infrastructure. However, there lacks a feedback system in the maintenance which often makes it feels more unsafe to bike on the bike lane than in traffic (glass, potholes, etc). I wish I could snap my fingers and make NYC so bike friendly that everyone prefers and WANTS to bike.
3. What sparked your passion to work in the transportation industry?
I have always been passionate about sustainability and climate change. I remember hugging a tree on Earth Day in middle school. In many ways, transportation and climate change goes hand in hand. In the United States, transportation accounts for 29% of the nation’s total emission (15-20% globally)1. A lot of the analyses and design we do are still car-centric. I hope to be part of the group that works in making the city more multimodal and greener.
4. What are you working on that you’re most excited by?
A project I worked on recently that still excites me to talk about was the Princeton Washington Road Planning Study. We looked at Washington Road, which is the singular north-south connection that will bring the new campus to the existing campus (North Campus). We created a comprehensive pedestrian, bicycle, and cart mobility plan for the Washington Road corridor.
5. What career advice would you give to other YPT’ers interested in your career path?
I would say get involved and stay active in professional organizations. Talk to people about things you care about and learn about what other people are doing. Talking things through with people helps you realize what is important to you.
6. What famous celebrity do you think should be given the opportunity to voice a NYCT Subway Announcement?
Full heartedly would pick a comedian and let them have free range on the script. Some suggestions from NY: Hannibal Buress, Chris Rock, Awkwafina.