TransLoc welcomes AICP-certified planner Tyler Means to the team as Senior Project Manager. Tyler comes from one of TransLoc’s transit agency partners, Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA), where he served as Operations Manager. He is passionate about mobility and improving the lives of others by making transportation more accessible and more affordable.-------
After receiving a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning, my fascination with how we connect to our community became a mission after the death of my grandmother. She died from injuries sustained in a car wreck, and I still believe her death could have been prevented by better transportation. See, she was 86-years-old, legally blind in one eye, and still driving her early 90s Oldsmobile that I had dubbed the “Grandma Cruiser.” The reason she was still driving is because she lived in a transit-poor Kansas town and felt she had no choice but to drive herself to the grocery store, doctor’s appointments, and to see friends.
Her death put me on a mission into uncharted territory to innovate how to increase access to transportation services. While working for the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) in Kansas City I met Jameson Auten, Vice President of Regional Service Delivery and Innovations for the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA). We quickly formed a partnership between the MPO and KCATA, the bi-state regional transportation authority, to coordinate transportation services offered by county and municipal governments throughout the region into a singular, easy-to-use transit system. By reaching out to other public, non-profit, and private operators we were able to cast a wider net and cover service gaps to ensure that anyone living anywhere in the region had access to at least one form of transportation.
A few years into the future, Jameson became my boss and mentor. Together we worked to set up an innovations department within the KCATA. Our practice was to always work towards “yes” and take calculated risks to create private-public partnerships that improved on our previous work of coordinating regional services. The mission of the KCATA is “connecting people to opportunities,” and we intentionally focused our efforts of finding private tech companies, service providers, and organizations that shared our mission. We wanted to leverage our local understanding of transportation and the political landscape to partner with private entities that could bring equity, expertise, and new opportunities to the table. But we also wanted to make sure that any entity we partnered with understood that any work done must be focused on how to improve the lives of customers.
One company in particular that we began to develop a partnership with was TransLoc. Their mission of “making transit the first choice for all” and their focus on creating a microtransit solution that is agency-owned was intriguing. As KCATA and TransLoc began to develop their pilot program in Kansas City, the KCATA team was absolutely enamored with their professionalism, timeliness, expertise, and understanding of agency challenges. TransLoc shared our viewpoint that the future of transportation was an integration of all service options servicing the areas they were best suited for in a manner that accented the importance of offering services that were personalized, accessible, and connected. In other words, TransLoc shared our mission and vision of creating and improving access to services that were accessible to all and allowed customers to move from mode-to-mode throughout their community.
As I explored a potential job opportunity with TransLoc, Jameson and my other colleagues encouraged me to grow and take opportunities that would continue to strengthen the nexus between public and private transportation organizations. The fine folks at KCATA supported me in my move to TransLoc because they, and the other agencies that are leading the conversation in re-inventing public transportation networks, understand that the future is an integrated mobility network of public and private offerings that are managed by transportation authorities and/or municipal governments-- those that control how and where services can operate. For me personally, this was a direct conduit to continue my mission of improving public transportation for those who need it most on a much grander scale. My promise to KCATA and any other transit agency, city, or county that I have the opportunity to work with while at TransLoc is that I will provide the best guidance while leveraging the top-notch software, customer service, and support of TransLoc. Everything is in an effort to allow agencies and cities to create safe, accessible, customer-focused transportation solutions that will prosper well into the future.
Tyler Means serves as Senior Project Manager at TransLoc. When he’s not geeking out over the future of mobility, he enjoys hiking, live music and taking in the North Carolina food scene.