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Member Profiles

Member Profile: Sophie Maerowitz

Sophie Maerowitz (she/her)

Project Manager, Bicycles Unit, NYC Department of Transportation

For the better half of a decade, Sophie Maerowitz has advocated for better cycling, pedestrian, and bus infrastructure in New York City, having served on Transportation Alternatives’ Manhattan Activist Committee and on Manhattan Community Board 3’s Transportation Committee as a public member. Notable advocacy milestones have included the Chrystie Street two-way protected bike lane and the 14th Street Busway in Manhattan and City Council legislation mandating Open Streets permanence. 

In 2020, Sophie co-launched the Loisaida Open Streets Community Coalition, a volunteer group managing the operations and programming of Avenue B’s Open Street in Manhattan. 

Sophie graduated from CUNY Baruch College’s Marxe School of Public and International Affairs with a Masters of Public Administration in Fall 2021 and in April 2021 started as a Project Manager at the New York City Department of Transportation’s Bicycles Unit. A lifelong New Yorker, she holds a BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

1. What is your favorite YPT-NYC memory?  


I attended a networking event as part of a larger multi-day conference and didn’t know anybody there, but swallowed my nerves,  walked over to a table of YPT members, and soon we were merrily talking bus infrastructure. It stuck with me that the group made an effort to make me feel included even though I come from the advocacy world rather than a traditional planning background.

 
2. If you could snap your fingers and make one change to regional transportation, what would it be?


Fewer and smaller cars in the roadway—prioritizing space for pedestrians, buses and bikes over less equitable street uses like free curbside parking for private vehicles. 


3. What sparked your passion to work in the transportation industry?  

I started biking to work about 10 years ago and it woke me up to the unconscionable way we treat our most vulnerable road users. I became thoroughly invested in trying to promote safer, carbon-free, and carbon-light ways of getting around cities. 

While I’m by no means a hardcore cyclist—I’ve never completed a century ride, and can’t change a tire for my life—I firmly believe the best way to experience cities is by bike. Case in point: A close friend threw her bachelorette party in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, and I insisted we all try out their bikeshare system while we visited. Turned out it was the easiest and most fun way to hop between parade routes! I later noticed she added an e-bike to her wedding registry….Coincidence? I think not!


4. What are you working on that you’re most excited by? 


As a new recruit, I’ve been running support on some bike network expansions and improvements in the Bronx and Brooklyn, as well as on our new Bike the Block program which brings learn-to-ride and bike repairs to neighborhoods that have long been underserved by bike infrastructure. It’s awesome to see a new generation embrace active transportation!


5. What career advice would you give to other YPT’ers interested in your career path?

Active transportation happens in the open air and is therefore social by nature. There are ample opportunities to meet like-minded people on group bike rides, Open Streets events and through volunteering and organizing at advocacy organizations like Transportation AlternativesOpen PlansRiders Alliance, and Families for Safe Streets. And Twitter has been a great place to meet planners, nonprofit pros, and advocates. Simply by using #bikenyc #OpenStreets hashtags, you can build out a great network of locals with their ears and eyes on the transportation beat.


6. What famous celebrity do you think should be given the opportunity to voice a NYCT Subway Announcement?


I’ll level with you, I’m still kind of annoyed at Natasha Lyonne for her anti-bike lane comments a few years ago, but the newest season of Russian Doll is a love letter to the subway at a time it could really use a boost, so her iconic rasp would be a win in my book.

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Member Profiles

Member Profile: Priyanshu Sharma

Priyanshu Sharma

Urban Planner & Designer at Equitable Cities

Priyanshu is an urban planner and designer at Equitable Cities who specializes in transportation planning, design, data analysis, and visualization. He holds a master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University’s Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, as well as a bachelor’s degree in Planning from CEPT University, India. His work and research primarily focus on transportation planning and design, land use, spatial analysis, and data analysis and visualization. Moreover, his academic and professional experience in the planning profession has also inculcated the art value of good communication, which is not limited to maps, visuals, and interactive platforms, but also persuasive and engaging storytelling for our communities.

1. What is your favorite YPT-NYC memory?  


It was fascinating how I joined this group. I had an opportunity to speak with some New York-based transportation professionals during one of the career workshops. After that session, I contacted that person on LinkedIn to ask more questions about transportation planning opportunities. And they recommended that I join this group, and I’ve been a member of the YPT-NYC group for a year now. I am always on the lookout for new opportunities and events within the group. And it was really helpful. It’s wonderful to be a part of this and to be able to share and learn from the other group members. I’m excited to meet some of them in person.

 
2. If you could snap your fingers and make one change to regional transportation, what would it be?


When it comes to planning, there are many things I’d like to change, but having last-mile connectivity would be interesting if I had to specify changes for regional transportation. Create active transportation or bike-share programs that connect our neighborhoods to major transit stations, for example. I believe that the way we plan our cities, particularly in suburban areas (which encompasses the majority of America), has made us overly reliant on automobiles, and that small changes can make a significant difference. Cities and communities will benefit from differences not only in terms of connectivity, but also in terms of economy, environment, and improving public health.


3. What sparked your passion to work in the transportation industry?  

People spend an ample amount of time of their day on the streets or commuting through various modes to reach their destinations. It is intriguing for me while commuting to observe people and see how people respond to their surroundings.After my undergraduate degree in planning, I spent considerable time living in two metro cities i.e. Mumbai and Bangalore for work. On one of the monsoon days, while heading back home, as I was getting down to my metro station suddenly it started pouring heavily and everyone was rushing towards finding a safe place and tried gathering under a cantilever. Some held their bags on their head to try to escape the rain. I was amazed when I saw that chaos. That day I realized the role of urban professionals in planning and designing cities beyond just the provision of infrastructure to create livable environments where people can stop, pause and play instead of just treating them as spaces they need to pass by to reach their destinations.These encounters reasonably entrenched my interest in planning and design, especially in transport and urban design where I, as an urban planner and designer, can create a better urban environment by working on the most used public spaces and transit systems.


4. What are you working on that you’re most excited by? 


I don’t know where to begin, but I suppose being a young professional in this fraternity, I got an opportunity to work in a diverse sector and with some really amazing people. To start with now, a lot of my work focuses on transportation equity, planning, and research which is exciting. Previously, I had an opportunity to work with the NYC Ferry team where I was responsible for developing a framework for the database system to facilitate the operation and maintenance of the waterfront development and ferry projects. Before that, I provided technical assistance in the implementation of a micro-mobility project for the City of Newark. So, these two work experiences were really fulfilling because I was involved in the planning throughout the project. But prior to that, I had two years of work experience in the field of planning, design, and research in India, where I worked in different capacities with social entrepreneurs, planning organizations, and research institutions.


5. What career advice would you give to other YPT’ers interested in your career path?

I would definitely say build your technical skills, as it will be helpful to brand yourself while giving interviews or working with the team. Don’t limit yourself to your area of interest, especially during the initial years of your career. Find out what opportunities you think are right for you, learn new things, and broaden your skills and knowledge. It will boost your network and help you to identify your area of interest because in the real world things are very different from the academic world.


6. What famous celebrity do you think should be given the opportunity to voice a NYCT Subway Announcement?


It would be amazing to hear the announcement in Abel Makkonen Tesfaye’s Voice aka “The Weeknd” or Alicia Keys since her work is strongly associated with New York.

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Member Profiles

Member Profile: Eric Rago

Eric Rago

Director, Location Partnerships & Strategy at Getaround

“I currently work for Getaround, a leading car-sharing company that operates in over 950 cities worldwide. I lead our public partnerships, private partnerships, strategy, and operations teams. These teams are focused on creating partnerships to grow carshare from a single hotel to entire cities. Prior to joining Getaround, I was one of the first employees for ParkWhiz, a platform that makes it easy to find, book, and pay for parking, where I helped scale the company nationally and launched the NYC market.”

1. What is your favorite YPT-NYC memory?  


I really enjoy all the great panels where we can learn from thought leaders in transportation. I am looking forward to meeting more of the YPT-NYC community in person.  

 
2. If you could snap your fingers and make one change to regional transportation, what would it be?


Increase the utilization of curb space by reserving more for Open Streets, restaurants, loading zones, and shared mobility like carshare, bikeshare, and micromobilty.   


3. What sparked your passion to work in the transportation industry?  

At a young age, I struggled to understand why traffic and congestion couldn’t be solved. This led me to join a startup to help reduce congestion by directing cars to off-street parking. From there I was hooked, now I collect subway cards and look at parking garages wherever I travel. 


4. What are you working on that you’re most excited by? 


Getaround’s vision is to make cities and communities better places to live, which means bringing affordable transportation options to NYC and other cities. Transportation is the second-highest cost for households. Increasing shared mobility in areas that have few accessible transportation options means a more equitable transportation network. I’m proud that Getaround rates are significantly less than other carshare providers and can help extend the reach of fixed-route transit. 


5. What career advice would you give to other YPT’ers interested in your career path?

Find an organization that you are passionate about and find a way to get your foot in the door. Do not focus on the initial title or role, instead put yourself in a position to prove your value and the rest will work itself out. If you’re passionate about reducing traffic and bringing mobility options to cities, our team is growing!


6. What famous celebrity do you think should be given the opportunity to voice a NYCT Subway Announcement?


Mars Blackmon, AKA Spike Lee with a cameo from Michael Jordan. [Ed. This would be sick.]

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Member Profiles

Member Profile: Axel Hellman

Axel Hellman

Co-Founder and Special Vice President of Lines at Rally OurBus

A co-founder and I started OurBus, one of the leading brands for intercity bus service in the Northeast. We are a tech and marketing platform and do not actually own any buses—they are contracted out. We recently merged with Rally, another tech platform for bus trips, to become Rally OurBus. I went to college in California (USC) but have been in the NYC area since. If you need a ticket to Boston, Washington, or anywhere else in the region let me know!

1. What is your favorite YPT-NYC memory?  


I’ve enjoyed the happy hours in 2021 more than before. After the first couple of lockdowns, this type of human contact was really something I appreciated!

 
2. If you could snap your fingers and make one change to regional transportation, what would it be?


I’ve become so jaded at the slow pace of progress that it’s hard to think about this! This answer is self-interested, but I would restore the Decamp commuter bus to Port Authority that used to stop on my corner. It has been suspended for 2 years now. I live in the suburbs but before COVID, in the right conditions, I could take that bus and get home in 40 minutes. 


3. What sparked your passion to work in the transportation industry?  

I was always interested in transportation, but what opened my eyes was doing a summer internship at NJ Transit in the Bus Service Planning department.  It taught me a lot that I still use on a day-to-day basis at Rally OurBus.


4. What are you working on that you’re most excited by? 


We have a microtransit pilot in-house called OurBus Door to Door.


5. What career advice would you give to other YPT’ers interested in your career path?

Choose a very specific, niche thing that no one else is recognized as an expert in. If you focus on it, it is very easy to become the world’s greatest expert in that one tiny area
 
6. What famous celebrity do you think should be given the opportunity to voice a NYCT Subway Announcement?


Bernie Sanders. His classic Brooklyn accent would be perfect for this.

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Member Profiles

Member Profile: Lauren Rushing

Lauren Rushing
Lauren Rushing Consulting, LLC
Mobility Planner and and Cycling Advocate

Twitter: @CycleRush

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lauren.rushing.16 

Instagram: @laurenrushing

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lauren-rushing-832a47102/ 

Lauren Rushing is a former YPT-NYC board member and an independent mobility planning consultant and cycling advocate. Lauren works with clients to develop strategic mobility plans for local governments, with a focus on creating complete and integrated multimodal transportation systems that serve people and provide mobility choices. Lauren is driven by her belief that bicycles are the missing link to many urban challenges, and puts her professional skills to work advocating for policies and infrastructure that will facilitate a cultural shift to legitimize cycling (and other active modes) as a mode of transportation in urban areas.

1. What is your favorite YPT-NYC memory?  
This is a hard one, but I think it would have to be the YPT-NYC/WE Bike Queens Bike Tour last summer. Enjoying summer in the city by bike is always a favorite pastime, but on the Queens tour we also learned about the process involved in building bicycle infrastructure in the city and got to see many of the recent projects first-hand, including the famous 34th Ave Open Street. We had the opportunity to work with staff in the NYC DOT Bicycle Unit to organize the tour and also got to meet some of New York transportation and open space influencers including Jim Burke (34th Ave Open Street) Evie Hantzopolous and Irak Cehonski (31st Ave Open Street) and Kyle Gorman (Senior Program Manager of the Public Space Unit at NYCDOT), as well as local business owners. During the tour we also ran in to Clarence Eckerson Jr. of Streetfilms!
 
2. If you could snap your fingers and make one change to regional transportation, what would it be?
Hands down, the effective implementation of a strategic plan for bicycle (and micromobility) parking throughout the region. Bicycle parking is one of the biggest obstacles to conveniently using a bicycle as a mode of transportation in New York, both in residential areas and commercial areas. To provide a personal example, there is no public bicycle parking on the street where I live. So, before I moved into my 5-floor walk-up, I made sure it was clear that using the downstairs basement to store my bicycle was a condition of me signing the lease. At the time, and to my annoyance, the building management made me sign a waiver releasing them of liability if it were to be stolen – but fine. However, 10 months later, they gratuitously decided I wasn’t allowed to use the basement space anymore. Since there is no bicycle parking on my street and no “safe” parking anywhere nearby, I am now forced to carry it up and down five flights of stairs every time I want to use it. Needless to say, my usage definitely decreased. Policies that ensure space like this can be used for bicycle parking should be included in a strategic plan. In addition, since bicycle theft is a big issue, the plan should also consider ways of providing secure bicycle parking facilities throughout the region. Luckily, companies like Oonee are already getting creative and providing options, but we need the city to embrace these options. Lastly, travel outside the U.S. and you’ll find awe inspiring, massive bicycle parking garages at major transit stations allowing people to use bikes (and other emerging technologies) as a first-last mile solution. As the “greatest city in the world” we shouldn’t sell ourselves short on these important infrastructure investments.


3. What sparked your passion to work in the transportation industry?  

My journey to a career in urbanism and transportation began as a teenager living in Jacksonville, Florida – one of America’s most sprawled cities characterized by quintessential suburban development. Having grown up in a city built for cars and lacking an enticing and reliable transit system, I was awe struck by the multimodal cities I visited, and later moved to, as an adult. 

I remember when studying abroad, navigating and riding the metro was such a fun thing to me! I loved learning the system and memorizing the transit map. It was a very different lifestyle from how I grew up and somehow that felt more like freedom to me than when I first earned my driver’s license. That’s when I fell in love with cities. 

 
4. What are you working on that you’re most excited by? 
In 2021, I had the pleasure of managing community outreach for the Essex-Hudson Greenway campaign with the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition. The Essex-Hudson Greenway is a proposed, nearly nine-mile long, multi-use trail corridor following the abandoned Norfolk Southern rail line that runs through eight towns between Montclair and Jersey City. When complete, the Greenway will be New Jersey’s version of the High Line creating more than 135 acres of new green space, improved options for active transportation and recreation, and will act as an economic engine for nearby communities by attracting visitors to local shops and restaurants along the trail.

After decades of advocacy from local residents and electeds, more than three years of direct negotiations with Norfolk Southern, and personally more than one year of full-time work galvanizing community support for the project, in November the State of New Jersey committed to providing funding and securing purchase rights to the existing railway property identified for the Greenway!

Playing a part in bringing such an impactful project to success and being a part of the community of support that built up around the project has been truly amazing and definitely the highlight of my career.

 
5. What career advice would you give to other YPT’ers interested in your career path?

Don’t be afraid to fail. I know it sounds cliché, but I held myself back so much early on in my career with my imposter syndrome. Push yourself to do things that are out of your comfort zone. Say yes to things when you want to say no. You might surprise yourself. You WILL surprise yourself!

That would be a great YPT event. A webinar on how to overcome imposter syndrome. Or perhaps a good topic for the next YPT Podcast club!
 
6. What famous celebrity do you think should be given the opportunity to voice a NYCT Subway Announcement?
I absolutely adored Schitt’s Creek and think Catherine O’Hara’s character, Moira Rose, is hilarious. I would love to hear Catherine do an announcement in character as Moira. 

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Member Profiles

Member Profile: Lauren Clark

Lauren Clark
NJ Transit
Principal Projects & Strategic Investment Program Coordinator.

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/laurclar

Lauren Clark is a writer and transit professional who specializes in driving organizational transformation.

1. What is your favorite YPT-NYC event and why?  
Each event I attend successively becomes my favorite.  I loved going behind the scenes at Grand Central this fall.  Can’t wait to have a new favorite soon.
 
2. If you could snap your fingers and make one change to regional transportation, what would it be?
All transit should be free for all riders.  Transportation is a right, not a privilege.  I’ll live and die on that hill.


3. What sparked your passion to work in the transportation industry?  
I’ve never owned a car, so I depend on public transportation to get everywhere I go.  I understand how absolutely essential transit is, and I know how sacred and safe a space it can be when it’s done right.  I’m honored to have a hand in making sure as many people as possible have access to these resources.

 
4. What are you working on that you’re most excited by? 
It was a privilege to lead NJ TRANSIT’s ten-year strategic planning effort back in 2019 and 2020.  Since then, I’ve been working closely with the Human Resources team to drive progress toward their identified strategic initiatives, which includes implementation of a Human Capital Management system and major changes to most of our processes.  I’m a sucker for driving transformation efforts—the more impossible change feels, the bigger the knot or the puzzle, the more I want to tackle it.

 
5. What career advice would you give to other YPT’ers interested in your career path?
Find the system you’ll never get tired of riding and dedicate yourself to it.  Worked for me.
 
6. What famous celebrity do you think should be given the opportunity to voice a NYCT Subway Announcement?
The weird robotic voice who announces (and adorably mispronounces) the stops on NJ TRANSIT trains, of course.

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Member Profiles

Member Profile: Modou Cham

Modou Cham
ICF
Senior Associate, Transportation & Smart Mobility

Twitter: @modoucham

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/modoumcham

I’m originally from the Gambia, West Africa, but live in Brooklyn, New York. I currently work at ICF as a Senior Associate in Commuter Services and Mobility Specialist within the Climate, Energy and Transportation division working on Transportation Demand Management (TDM) projects and studies across the U.S. I work on a project that assists local governments, municipalities, and major employers in New York State implement green transportation programs.

Prior to ICF, I worked as the Chief Administrative Officer for an international, not-for-profit organization at the United Nations promoting environmental health and literacy. While I was at the UN NGO, I served as the Executive Secretary on the board of the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development from December 2013 to December 2016, through which we assisted in influencing the Post-2015 Sustainable Development negotiation to mainstream climate change in the Global Goals.

I earned a M.Sc. in Sustainability Management from Columbia University and a B.A. in Political Science & International Relations from West Chester University of Pennsylvania.

1. What is your favorite YPT-NYC event and why?  
 
My favorite YPT-NYC event was the first one I attended, the annual end of the year event! I very much appreciate that YPT-NYC opens the door for potential new members to meet members that have been with the organization for a while to learn more about the association in a relaxed atmosphere.
 
2. If you could snap your fingers and make one change to regional transportation, what would it be?
The proliferation of micro mobility programs and vehicles such as bikes, electric bikes, e-scooters, mopeds, e-microcars, etc. in rural/suburban communities. And mostly importantly, micro mobility infrastructure!

Micro mobility infrastructure is deficient in many rural/suburban communities. So, in short, the enhancement of micro mobility infrastructure & the proliferation of micro mobility vehicles.


3. What sparked your passion to work in the transportation industry?  
I studied Sustainability Management at Columbia University Climate School at graduate school and during this time I was exposed to many courses, projects, and discussions related to Transportation and Sustainability.

I took a course called Access, Innovation and the Urban Transportation Transition and this course made me more aware of how transportation can change people’s lives globally. My professors were brilliant and worked on projects from all over the world (New York, London, Kenya, etc.). One of my professors, Dr. Jacqueline Klopp worked on a project called the Digital Matatus – a research project involving Columbia University, MIT, the University of Nairobi, and Groupshot Design Consultancy with the goal of mapping an unofficial network of minibuses and minivans that do not have centrally controlled schedules, fares, or route plan. After the class adjourned, I wanted to work on projects like the Digital Matatus project.
 
4. What are you working on that you’re most excited by? 
 

I’m currently working on a TDM project with the goal to reduce single occupancy vehicles. In this project, we administer an annual campaign called Car Free Day to encourage commuters to leave their cars at home for one day and use an alternative commute mode. It’s a very exciting time for the team I work with because this gives us an opportunity to introduce innovative and alternative travel options such as electric shuttles and autonomous vehicles to urban and rural communities.  
 
5. What career advice would you give to other YPT’ers interested in your career path?
Let your network know you are open to new opportunities and when opportunities come along respond with enthusiasm!
 
6. What famous celebrity do you think should be given the opportunity to voice a NYCT Subway Announcement?
 
Eddie Murphy!  80’s SNL/Coming to America Eddie Murphy!!

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Member Profiles

Member Profile: Daniel Wood

Daniel Wood
MTA – New York City Transit
Manager, Ridership Modeling Development

I grew up on Cape Cod, Mass, where I eventually got tired of living in a completely car-dominated place, and went off to college in Philly, where I first became interested in transportation professionally. After a couple of transportation-related internships, I went to grad school for transportation at MIT, where I did research for the Hong Kong metro system as a member of MIT’s Transit Lab. After graduating, I landed a job in the data analysis and research group at New York City Transit’s planning department, where I’ve worked for the last six years analyzing bus and subway data and helping to create data-driven applications like new subway performance metrics, real-time applications for subway train dispatchers and customer communication staff, and ridership models. Outside of work, some of my favorite things are runs around Prospect Park, long walks through the city, museums, board games, and (when it’s not a pandemic) exploring cities in other countries, nerding out about the local trains and buses.

1. What is your favorite YPT-NYC event and why?  
 
Transportation Trivia! I love trivia in general, so a transportation-themed trivia night is right up my alley.
 
2. If you could snap your fingers and make one change to regional transportation, what would it be?
 
Remove all single-family zoning in the NYC area. Technically this isn’t transportation, but since higher density is correlated with higher transit use, this change could pave the way for increasing transit use and lower car use in the NYC region.
 
3. What sparked your passion to work in the transportation industry?  
 

I took a city planning class as an elective in college, and really liked it, especially the parts relating to planning transportation systems. I was a mechanical engineering major, but starting to doubt I’d like working in the “traditional” fields recruiting mechanical engineers—fossil fuel energy, defense, HVAC, widget manufacturers, etc. After the class, it occurred to me that transportation was a field where I could apply both my quantitative skills, and my interest in urbanism and social sciences, and generally “doing good”.
 
4. What are you working on that you’re most excited by? 
 

Right now, I am working on developing an integrated bus and subway ridership model that will be able to trace the paths of NYCT customers across the network, including their transfers between the bus and subway systems. Up until now, my group has had separate bus and subway models that don’t “talk” to each other at all.
 
5. What career advice would you give to other YPT’ers interested in your career path?
 

First, don’t be afraid to jump into the transportation world from another industry if your degree isn’t in one of the fields people typically associate with transportation—civil engineering, city planning, etc. A lot of people I know who have succeeded in this field come from “non-traditional” backgrounds. Second, don’t feel you need to commit to the public sector or private sector for your career; moving between the two is very common. Finally, if you’re aiming for work that involves a lot of data analysis and coding, having some coding knowledge is useful for getting your foot in the door, but once you’re there a bigger determinant of success is being able to research and reason your way through problems, and understand the context of the task in the overall “big picture” of the transportation system. “Muddling your way through” and “sanity checking” are really important skills!
 
6. What famous celebrity do you think should be given the opportunity to voice a NYCT Subway Announcement?
 

Bill Hader as Vincent Price.

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Member Profiles

Member Profile: Diane Xiao

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. 

1 https://www.nationalgeographic.org/media/transportation-and-climate-change/

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Member Profiles

Member Profile: Daniel Muniz

Daniel Muniz works for the New York City Department of Transportation where he has served as a Legal Consultant, Analyst, Senior Analyst, Deputy Director, and more recently as the Acting Chief of Staff for the Sidewalk Program. His current role focuses on Program Management which includes budgeting, planning, project delivery, and most importantly – the construction of sidewalks throughout all five boroughs of New York City. Improving New York City’s sidewalk infrastructure and making it more accessible to all pedestrians is the key driver of all his work.

1.What is your favorite YPT-NYC event and why?  

I would say YPT Happy hour! Being able to connect with fellow transportation enthusiasts in a laid-back social setting allows everybody to network and share experiences. It’s the best way to get to know others and engage with people in the transportation field.

2. If you could snap your fingers and make one change to regional transportation, what would it be? 

I am probably biased because I live in Rockland County but being able to take a “one-seat” train ride directly into Manhattan without having to do multiple connections/transfers would be a huge improvement. There are options available such as driving to Tarrytown/White Plains and taking Metro-North or riding a Coach bus but commute times aren’t the best. There is talk in Congress to change this, so I am hopeful this will come to fruition.

3. What sparked your passion to work in the transportation industry?

The transportation industry lured me in when I started my first job as a Legal consultant assigned to the NYC Department of Transportation. I was researching trip and fall claims related to the City’s infrastructure and that’s where I first started learning about the Agency and its operations. I obtained a B.S. in International Relations and Politics, so naturally, my next step was to go to Law School. However, by the time I became an Analyst for the Sidewalk Program, my interest quickly shifted to Public Administration and Urban Planning. Understanding how our cities connect and how the movement of people influences community development was what ultimately pulled me into the transportation world.

 
4. What are you working on that you’re most excited by?  

I introduced a model to prioritize sidewalk repairs around New York City Housing developments. We were able to build out a tool in ArcGIS that automated a ranking system based on inputs that accounted for both condition and demographic scores. This allowed us to factor equity more easily into the work we did. It’s been two years since we started piloting this new tool and we are looking to expand its use for other work we do. Shout out to the team of analysts and our Information Technology team for making that project a reality! We are also working on a complete overhaul for all our internal databases and incorporating them all into one centralized system. Being a part of the engineering of a completely new system that will handle all our operations in a more efficient way is truly rewarding.

5. What career advice would you give to other YPT’ers interested in your career path?

Be curious and ask questions! Try to find an area that you feel most connected with and surround yourself with others that are already in the field. Networking events and socials may not be your cup of tea, but once you get out there and start making connections, it all becomes a lot easier.


6. What famous celebrity do you think should be given the opportunity to voice a NYCT Subway Announcement?

Not sure why, but I feel Samuel L. Jackson would be a perfect fit for that role.