Archive for March, 2019

Life Lessons Ahead sign V2

3 Life Lessons Up Ahead

As a Community Engagement Specialist, it is my job to absorb information from one audience and translate it into relatable terminology for a different audience to build a connection and/or call to actions. The lines between personal and professional blur for me a lot because I can’t stop thinking about how to connect people with ideas to make the world a better place. On a recent road trip back to Washington, DC, I found myself driving through pockets of ice storms, extreme rainfall, sprinkles, fog and at times, all the above. While going in and out of the weather tantrums, I kept returning to the idea of how much of a life lesson it is to weather the storm(s) – pun intended. The life lessons I experienced held true for the road and in person. I learned to listen and read the signs ahead, to value operating at my own pace and to get to my destination I had to make a choice.rain

About two hours into the drive, the weather tantrums increased and the need for me to pay more attention and rely on the highway signs became more apparent. I quickly noticed that street lights didn’t exist on all parts of the roads. When parts of the mountains were foggy, the only thing I could see in front of me were the reflection on the road guidelines, arrows on the guard rails and highway signs to guide me in the right direction. I used the mile markers to identify how many miles I had left until my exit when my GPS went out. I heavily relied on the signs for at least 60% of my drive. After I was safe, I thought about the signs that I didn’t use such as the emergency pull off, gas, and food signs. Whatever scenario that could have happened on the road, there was a sign for it. I would like to share with you 3 lessons that I learned while using the highways signs to get to from Pittsburgh to Washington, DC

1. There’s always a sign, it’s your choice to accept it:

Whether you’re going through a good or bad phase in life, there are signs to guide you. It’s your choice to accept the meaning of it. During my drive, the reflectors from the road and guard rails guided me through the bad weather. I had a choice to follow the signs or pull over and wait for the fog to pass. I don’t know about you but driving through the heavy rain and fog isn’t my favorite thing to do. I chose to rely on the reflectors to bring me through. A real-life reflector could be constructive criticism from a trusted advisor. I emphasize trusted because you must value their opinion to accept it, rely on it, and use it to get to the destination or reach the goal that you want to meet.

2. Remember to travel at your own pace:

On every road, there is a speed limit. On the highway specifically, there’s a fast-lane and a slow-lane. To keep your pace, you choose if you want to abide by the speed limit, go above or stay below. Sometimes your pace can be interrupted by others. On the road, it can be in the form of people beeping, flashing their headlights or riding your bumper. In life, it’s feedback and projection of their experiences. Just remember that it’s your journey and choice to travel at your pace

3. There are multiple ways to get to your destination:

For the signs to be most effective, you need to know your destination. The options of destinations on both the highway and in life are endless. The responsibility of the destination is your choice. There are pros and cons on both sides a choice. Before I got on the road from Pittsburgh to Washington, DC, my GPS gave me two options: 1) Take the Turnpike for 3 hours and 27 minutes and pay a $15 toll or 2) No tolls and 6 hours and 2-minute trip. I chose to pay the $15. I valued my time over the money in this case. Sometimes in life, there are more than two choices, it’s okay don’t get overwhelmed. Take a deep breath and make the best choice for you.

Whenever you’re in need of guidance, listen to the signs up ahead and receive the message. I’d love to hear what signs you’ve received lately! Comment below.

Christina Glancy is a Pittsburgh Native who serves as our Community Outreach Specialist. She has built a unique perspective which blends project management, marketing, community involvement and data analysis. She has a successful track record of engaging diverse groups of stakeholders throughout the Transportation, Health Care and Cybersecurity Industries. She believes in changing the world one conversation at a time.

Image from of a horse and buggy and a motorized jitney bus

What will it Take to Change one’s Commute?

With the convenience of driving alone, what will it take to change one’s commuting pattern. Well, it may take some good old-fashioned marketing, and lots of it.

You like the convenience of driving your own car, right. Being able to get in your car and drive to anywhere you want to go, whenever you want to go.

You are not tied to anyone else’s schedule. You don’t have to wait for anyone. If you are running late, who cares. No one is waiting for you.

The same is true on your daily commute. You don’t want to be tied to someone else’s schedule. If you have to work late, there is no problem. Your car is there and no one is waiting for you or relying on you to leave at a certain time.If you feel sick, you can leave whenever you want.

The one draw-back in this type of thinking is the resulting congestion and bottlenecks on our nation’s highways when most of the people in a region drive to work alone. Unless you live pretty close to where you work, there is a good chance you sit in traffic a good part of your day. Since employers  rely on the productivity of their employees, sitting in traffic congestion inhibits one’s ability to be productive. And this is costly to employers, whether they are in the private or public sector.

To bear this out, I did a little research. From the Auto Insurance Center, statistics showed that approximately 86% of the U.S. Population drive to work. That is no surprise there, but I am surprised it is that high. Of those commuters, 75% drive alone and they lose approximately 42 hours a year stuck in traffic jams.


If you want to understand the true costs of this phenomenon, each commuter wastes an average of 19 gallons of gas while sitting, and fuming, in traffic. That takes about 163 million barrels of crude oil to produce, almost two months of Texas’ total annual oil output, which is hard on the environment as well as the pocketbook. In fact, based on both the cost of time and the price of fuel, traffic jams cost a commuter approximately $960 per year. Think about how many bags of groceries that could buy.

With the expense of more highway or mass transit infrastructure, the logical approach is to address the demand of our roads and highways instead of scrambling to keep-up the supply. But again, that means changing one’s habit which is very difficult. And the convenience of driving alone is tough to compete against, even if driving alone leads to worsening congestion.

It certainly is much cheaper to encourage carpooling, vanpooling, telework, or flextime than to build another road. The problem is how to sell other commuting modes. Well, it takes good marketing. Though it is a transportation problem, it takes a marketing approach to sell the advantages of other commuting options over the convenience of driving alone?

Take for instance the recent ad campaign by the DC based Commuter Connections, a network of transportation management organizations based throughout the Washington metropolitan area. Commuter Connections began airing a short radio commercial that spells out how carpooling makes people happier and saves them time and money. Since many people listen to the radio in their cars, they are bound to hear the ad during rush-hour while sitting motionless in traffic. I have heard the ad myself and remembered thinking, “what a good ad campaign.” And good timing too. Who says radio is dead?

Also, check out the promotional youtube video from Carpool.CA. It is entitled “Do Your Bit… Share It”! It’s always good to market to one’s pocketbook.

It is clear that to promote other commuting options, you need to work continuously at changing commuters’ habits and behaviors. And this takes time. If commuters receive repeated messages in the media about the benefits of transportation options, eventually they will start to consider carpooling or vanpooling over driving alone.

And it doesn’t hurt if companies or transportation agencies offer conveniences and incentives to help encourage other commuting options. Another strong program Commuter Connections offers, among others, is their Guaranteed Ride Home. If a commuter registers with the Commuter Connections database, and uses an alternative mode for commuting to work at lease twice a week or more, that commuter is guaranteed a ride home, four times per year, in case of emergency or unforeseen need to stay late at the office.

The America Marketing Association defined marketing as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” Seems to me that the promotion of carpooling, vanpooling and other commuter options to drivers on congested roads fits well with the principles of marketing, at least in this context. This is the case especially with the reference, delivering something of value to “society at large.” What could be more of value to society than reducing the number of cars on the highway and at minimal cost?

James Davenport is a TDM Employer Outreach Specialist, on contract with the Virginia Department of Transportation. Before that, James worked for Prince William County/Department of Transportation as a Regional Planner. In that capacity, he represented the county in regional forums and worked with planners and staff from other localities and transit agencies to help the region plan for its transportation future. For many years, James worked with the National Association of Counties as a project manager providing education and outreach to county officials, staff and key stakeholder groups on planning issues such as transportation, water quality, collaborative land use and economic development.


Inspire Me

Recently, I came across the phrase “Inspire me” and thought that this would be a great topic for my blog. I was able to relate to it in my personal and work life and thought that others could relate to it as well.
So, what does the word inspire mean? Inspire means to excite, encourage, or breathe life into. My inspiration comes from self-motivation, friends and family, personal growth, social change, inspirational videos, and spirituality. When I saw the phrase, it made me recognize that I recently had been inspired by a friend to work on some personal goals of mines.
What are somethings that inspire you? Listed below are a few inspirational quotes and a ted talk video for inspiration. Please provide feedback, your comments can help someone be inspired.
Inspirational quotes.
1. “Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.” Henry David Thoreau
2. “If you are not willing to risk the usual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.” Jim Rohn
3. “Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life-think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.” Swami Vivekananda
4. “If you are willing to do more than you are paid to do, eventually you will be paid to do more than you do.” Anonymous
5. “Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill
6. “Whenever you see a successful person, you only see the public glories, never the private sacrifices to reach them.” Vaibhav Shah
7. “Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value.” Albert Einstein
8. “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” Charles Darwin
9. “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” Eleanor Roosevelt
10. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Click the link to access the ted talk.

Video description:
Learning changes, us, sometimes deeply. When it transforms who we are and who we want to become, we call it “inspiration.” With personal stories and scientific research, Dr. Brad McLain provocatively explores the elusive psychology of inspiration and its implications for education and the journey of life itself through the lens of experiential learning theory and the power of narrative to effect deeply rooted changes in our sense of identity — nothing less than the keys to change our lives and ourselves. Brad McLain is an educational researcher and co-director of XSci at the University of Colorado Denver. XSci is the Experiential Science Education Research Collaborative and produces both projects and research based on experiential learning theory and the field of identity construction. McLain’s research focus is on science identity construction and the role of narrative (storytelling) in the transformation of knowledge into understanding and personal meaning.


Donica McNeill-Taylor, an Administrative Assistant who enjoys supporting a team of inspiring urban planners. I also enjoy socializing and living life to the fullest with friends and love ones.



We would love to help you with your sustainability goals.