Public Policy Committee Spotlight - Rob Sadow, Scoop
Category: Member Spotlight
General background: how did you get involved in public policy? What connection does it have to your job/career/other activities (especially those related to ACT)?
My interest and work in public policy was a natural outcome of my work in the transportation space in general. At Scoop, we work with a variety of partners, from public, to private, and many in between to drive commuter behavior change at scale. It’s been a natural evolution as our company – and the scope of work and impact – grows. I was particularly excited to join the Public Policy Committee this year as it feels we’re truly on the precipice of continued change on a local, state, and federal level.
What do you see as posing the most significant opportunity or challenge to TDM on a federal (or state or local) level?
I was honored to join ACT’s annual Fly-In to Capitol Hill and speak on a panel for the FTA and FHA, where we covered this in detail. One of the topics we touched on was the evolution of policies in support of the many innovate modes coming online – from bikes, to scooters, dynamic carpooling, vanpooling, and more. The truth is, many emerging modes are focused on short, first and last-mile solutions for commuters, primarily in dense urban areas. However, for over 70% of commuters in the United States who are forced to drive alone during their daily commutes, these emerging modes just aren’t a viable solution. I believe that it’s our job as companies, organizations, and professionals not only to solve the immediate problems at hand, but also to understand and make the broadest impact we can on the ecosystem at large. Potential legislation this year focused on expansion of pre-tax commuter benefits could make a huge impact on accessibility of alternative modes to commuters and financial feasibility to invest for employers.
What do you see as the future of public policy?
I see it continuing to evolve as a more opportunistic and consultative relationship between the government and its citizens. There’s an increasing opportunity and appetite for citizens like us, who are professionals and experts in the field, to consult with lawmakers and help share our learnings, feedback, and ideas to help influence future decisions. I also look forward to seeing continued support from both a state and federal level not only to allow for exploratory pilots, but to encourage and provide the resources for longer-term solutions that would ultimately enable us all to effect greater change. A few that come to mind include loosening requirements on real estate parking, reducing the availability of free parking, offering incentives and tax structure to encourage employers and commuters to reduce drive alone rates, and supporting infrastructure that reflects the desire for shared modes.
What is your take on the role of ACT in public policy?
It’s my belief that companies like ours – and many of the others represented within ACT – have an obligation to explore, pilot, and provide long-term support for public and private partnerships that will ultimately drive commuter behavior change at scale. ACT has taken the first steps towards being the connecting thread between many of these organizations, which is incredibly valuable. We’re all working toward the same goal: making transportation easier, more efficient, and more equitable and accessible for everyone. At the same time, it’s impossible for any one of us to do it alone. We can all work together to make our cities, counties, and metro areas better places to live. It starts with small steps, but those are steps we can – and should – take together.
Why should ACT members get involved in public policy?
First of all, I consider it an honor and a privilege to have an increased role as a part of ACT – it was incredibly powerful to speak to Congressional staffers during the Fly-In and share insights and feedback from our daily work. It’s an incredible opportunity and I encourage all ACT members to participate.
What outside interests do you have? Are there any details about you that might surprise ACT members?
I’m a fan of pretty much any sports team out of Atlanta, especially the Georgia Bulldogs.
Outside of that, I spend my time exploring the San Francisco Bay Area with my fiancée, Jess, my brother (and cofounder!) Jon, and his family.