The premier organization for TDM professionals

Executive Spotlight: Erik Weber, Hip Mobility

Posted: 01/28/2021
Category: Member Spotlight

Hip gives companies, organizations, and communities turn-key commuter shuttle and employee transportation programs that are flexible & resilient, with a powerful technology platform to design, plan and manage services, both as SaaS and full-service transportation solutions.

What are you and your organization seeking to achieve?

We aim to give employers, real estate managers, and any other TDM professionals a way to offer transportation solutions that improve employee experience & productivity, while also mitigating company risk, optimizing their spend, and reducing SOV trips. This is especially important as companies formulate their office reopening plans and plan for the post-pandemic workplace.

How did you get to where you are today?

I started my career in the public sector at the Federal Transit Administration, though my work in mobility really started as a suburban American kid fascinated with the buses, trains and subways visiting Europe on a summer vacation for the first time. I left FTA to join a “new-fangled taxi company” -- as my family understood it at the time -- called Uber, where I spent 7 years building out products and teams across ridehailing, back-end map services, and bike sharing. I came to Hip as a way to fuse private sector technology innovation with more mass-transit-like shared transportation modes.

How have you seen the TDM industry change?

I’m relatively new to the TDM industry in its strictest sense, however, my impression is that observations I’ve made in the broader mobility space hold true here as well. In particular, there’s been a proliferation over the last decade of private sector product innovation focused on individual travelers as the paying customer, and not solely looking at a B2B or B2G sales or procurement strategy. This has led to a lot of the exciting expansion in choices and access for the average person needing to move around their community.

Where do you see the industry going in the next 10 years?

This is so hard to say! While COVID has accelerated workplace and transportation trends we were already seeing like remote work and micromobility, there are still some outstanding questions that will have a huge impact. Regardless, I expect many more employers to think about how their employees get to and from work, and whether that trip is necessary at all, which opens an exciting window of opportunity to engage a much wider audience. I also hope to see more holistic policy approaches at the national level to encourage, if not require, employers to continue thinking about it, given the necessity of climate change mitigation and the potential impact major changes in the commute can have.

What brought you to ACT?

I’ve been familiar with ACT since my time at FTA, but had never been a member. As a young tech company, building a business around the commute, ACT came up in a lot of our market research, so it felt like a place we need to get involved to understand gaps in the market as we are investing engineering resources in more product features.

What keeps you motivated?

Transportation is a great field to work in because it’s something everybody needs. Not everybody may use your product, but it’s usually pretty easy for anyone to understand why someone else might need it.

What has been the most fulfilling moment in your career?

It’s hard to pick a singular moment, but I can tell you categorically the moments that have been most fulfilling: launching a new mobility product and seeing the first customer. I’ve had the great fortune to do this a number of times in my career: uberX in Washington, DC and Louisville, KY. JUMP Bike in a number of cities around the world, and Hip’s public commuter services in the NYC area.

What is a great piece of advice you have received? Have you put it to use?

An early mentor of mine at FTA, Doug Birnie, used to say “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” In the mobility world it’s been especially useful to stay motivated and keep moving forward, because it’s pretty much impossible to create a whole transportation network all at once that solves everyone’s needs. It happens piece by piece, and individual pieces may be unsatisfactory some, but you can’t let that hold you back from sizable yet imperfect improvements that you implement continuously.

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