Executive Spotlight: Matt Caywood, Actionfigure

Member Spotlights,
Many of you know Actionfigure by our original name TransitScreen - we created the original "TransitScreen" real-time transportation displays (now known as Actionfigure Screen). A few months ago, we decided to change our name to help our customers and partners within ACT and throughout the world better understand that we provide an integrated platform of transportation information solutions - including screen, mobile, and web based commute planning and employee onboarding.

You can think of "Action" + "figure" as "Movement" + "data" - what we're building is the most comprehensive commute management platform for the workplace.

What are you and your organization seeking to achieve?

We aim to improve the quality of life of commuters everywhere. Right now employees around the world are being asked to travel or commute again for the first time in a long time. Our goal is to help employers, TMAs, and other real estate owners and operators engage and communicate with employees during this return to office process. Our solutions are best positioned to help you take advantage of the “fresh start effect” that will come into play as folks start commuting again, and your plans to drive long-term, positive change by facilitating a transition towards better, more sustainable modes of transportation at scale.

How did you get to where you are today?

When I was a kid, I took a ride on the London Underground, and the rest is history. I've really always been interested in transportation. A number of years ago, I was working in AI and neuroscience in the Washington, DC area and started volunteering with Arlington County's renowned TDM program. Through this work, a side project I had been tinkering with (TransitScreen), turned into a real product that met a real need for real estate and employers! Eventually, this became a full time project, and then a thriving company based next to the White House.

How have you seen the TDM industry change?

Over the past few years, there has been a steady policy movement among US cities to create conditions for more efficient transportation through TDM measures. We’ve seen technology become much more central to TDM, in everything from implementation to measurement and enforcement. Technology gives TDM an opportunity to be more results oriented, data driven, and to establish its value and return on investment.

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

Data driven approaches will become way more popular and more powerful. Traditional metrics like mode shift will evolve as new metrics like CO2 and VMT reduction become more central to TDM. As the industry becomes more metric driven, transportation efficiency and TDM will become more mainstream and impactful, as energy efficiency has done.

What brought you to ACT? What has been the most memorable part of your involvement in ACT?

When I was working with Arlington's TDM program, the esteemed Howard Jennings suggested that I check ACT out and mentioned the important work the organization was doing. I followed his advice and have thoroughly enjoyed being involved.

The most memorable part of my involvement was a couple years back when David Straus asked me to give a talk on curb management. Talk about learning on the job!

What keeps you motivated?

Actionfigure’s vision is to help cities become more efficient, more sustainable, and to increase the quality of life for the residents of those cities. While US cities may not compete with the likes of Amsterdam in their lack of reliance on SOVs, we are working toward offering the largest set of mobility choices - and making sure people are fully informed about those choices.

What has been the most fulfilling moment in your career?

I take a lot of pride in the work that my team has done here at Actionfigure, and our rebrand and recent launch of Actionfigure Insights (originally CommuteWise) has really been a culmination of our growth and maturity as a leader in TDM technology. In addition, seeing Actionfigure continue growing  through two years of a global pandemic with severe impacts on urban transportation has been extraordinary.  It’s a testament to the team’s work and the strength of our vision. 

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

As a kid when someone would call another person weird, my Dad would assure me that “everyone is weird in their own way.” Believe it or not, this has really informed my philosophy when it comes to leading my company. Authenticity is one of Actionfigure’s core values and we continue to strive to allow everyone to be authentically themselves, it makes for an environment where interesting ideas and people can thrive.

Any additional thoughts to share?

We've all heard a lot about the "fresh start effect" at this point, but this year is the one when we get the real opportunity for an exciting fresh start for our industry. It's one that I'm very much looking forward to.