Growing up in a one-car family, thinking creatively about getting places has always been part of Eleni’s life. She studied Environmental Policy at UC Davis, and was drawn there by its famed bike culture. After studying, working, and living in Davis, Eleni moved back to the SF Bay Area to find work in Transportation Demand Management – and landed at WeDriveU, a company that specializes in shuttle solutions for corporations, universities and hospitals. WeDriveU serves 7 million passengers a year in markets such as Austin, Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, Portland, the SF Bay Area and Seattle.
What brought you to TDM/how did you get involved in the field?
I was drawn to TDM as a career because it is a solutions-oriented industry promoting a basic freedom – freedom to move around the space we live in – for people of all backgrounds in our society. Though I was drawn to the field for environmental reasons, I emphasize the physical and psychological benefits of spending less time driving in traffic congestion when talking to the community. WeDriveU prioritizes and advances TDM solutions for our customers, and as a member of the Customer Success team, I help implement many types of TDM best practices to bring these benefits to a wide variety of organizations and their commuters.
Why did you get involved in ACT?
I learned of ACT when one of my mentors, and an ACT 40 Under 40 recipient, Ramon Zavala, sent me a link to my first ACT webinar, which was “Opening the Toolbox to Maximize the Benefits of Park-N-Ride”. To reduce reliance on SOVs, we benefit from being educated on the other players in the field. ACT is a space to share solutions within the transportation environment and avoid tunnel vision about the mode or organizations we work most closely with. WeDriveU and our clients find that learning about and sharing TDM solutions through ACT events elevates our abilities to move people with a variety of transportation options.
Within your work, what do you see as the future opportunities/challenges for TDM?
In addition to helping commuters overcome first-mile/last-mile barriers and my personal interest in giving working parents more flexible commuting options, there are lots of ways to maximize our most abundant transportation infrastructure (surface streets) by promoting HOV options and innovative trip planning and on-demand technologies.
The biggest opportunity is one I enjoy tackling every day: helping clients address the “Three ‘Ps’” at their workplaces and campuses (a hot topic at our Shuttles roundtable at the recent Emerging Mobility Summit): reducing reliance on parking, improving recruitment and retention of talented people, and improving productivity. I look forward to exploring all these topics, and many more, at the upcoming International Conference in August!