Benjie de la Peña
Benjie is an urban nerd and a transportation geek. His sweet spot is anticipating, planning, and managing systems change while keeping equity and justice front and center. He believes the emerging transportation technologies should serve as critical leverage points for correcting societal wrongs and dismantling racism and injustice.
He chairs the Global Partnership for Informal Transportation and serves on the US Advisory Group of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy. He also founded the boutique consulting firm Agile City Partners.
Benjie served as Chief of Strategy and Innovation for the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) where he led the development of ground-breaking and nationally recognized technology and mobility strategies such as Seattle’s New Mobility Playbook and the draft Transportation Information Infrastructure Plan. He initiated lean transformation and also introduced agile methodologies at SDOT.
Benjie writes and curates Makeshift Mobility, a fortnightly newsletter on innovations in informal transportation. He serves on the boards of Project for Public Spaces, Gehl Institute, and was an advisor to the Roddenberry Prize.
Chief Operations Officer
Brian is a city planner dedicated to building equitable and climate-friendly urban systems. As Chief Operations Officer with SUMC, he manages programs that advance this goal, including SUMC’s Shared+Electric Mobility Initiative and the organization’s pilot projects in underserved communities across California. Prior to joining SUMC, he managed climate change programs for ICLEI USA, part of a global network of nearly 1,000 cities focused on sustainability and resilience. In this capacity, he led a team that created industry-leading standards, software tools, and training programs for climate mitigation and adaptation, while spearheading U.S. city involvement in initiatives such as the 21st UN Conference of Parties in Paris and the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy.
He has also developed sustainability plans, programs, and partnerships for San Diego’s Metropolitan Planning Organization (SANDAG), California consulting firm PlaceWorks, and Atlanta non-profit Southface Energy Institute. Brian holds a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Georgia and currently lives in Pasadena, California.
Director, Learning Center & Accessibility Programs
Albert Benedict is the Director for Learning Center and Accessibility Programs at SUMC, where he is responsible for managing several national projects to evaluate opportunities and economic and environmental benefits related to shared mobility and integrated transportation systems.
Prior to SUMC, Albert worked at the Center for Neighborhood Technology for 10 years as a Senior Planner & GIS Analyst. His work at CNT combined his expertise in both Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and economic development. He has provided analysis for CNT’s projects in communities across the country and his research has been used to build sustainability strategies for cities in areas such as form-based code, location efficiency, bus rapid transit, streetcars and transit-oriented and economic development.
Albert has presented at numerous professional conferences and contributed to many research projects and publications, including: The New Transit Town: Best Practices in Transit-Oriented Development, by Hank Dittmar and Gloria Ohland (Island Press, 2004), Hidden in Plain Sight: Capturing the Demand for Housing Near Transit (Federal Transit Administration, 2005), Location Efficiency Model for the Greater London Metropolitan Area and the Walthamstow Town Centre Case Study Example (Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, 2008).
Albert holds an MA in Geography with an emphasis in Urban Planning from the University of Akron, Ohio and a BA in Psychology/Environmental Planning from The University of Wisconsin, Whitewater.
Research and Consulting Director
Colin works on SUMC’s research efforts, with an emphasis on newer shared modes’ interaction with existing transportation networks and their potential to transform our cities. He was lead writer and researcher on TCRP Research Report 188, Shared Mobility and the Transformation of Public Transit, and heads the research teams for other several other research projects currently underway at SUMC.
Before SUMC, he worked with Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition and the Center for Neighborhood Technology in Chicago. Colin has a BA from UT Austin and a Master’s in Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University, and enjoys hauling absurd masses of humans and materials by bicycle.
Program Manager, California
As SUMC’s Program Manager in California, Mary is responsible for assisting with the implementation of the Electric Vehicle Carsharing Pilot Program in Los Angeles. Before SUMC, Mary worked as a Project Coordinator with Hey!Tanks LA, a rainwater harvesting company in Los Angeles. She has also worked with Amigos de los Rios on project management, grant writing and volunteer coordination on the Emerald Necklace Project along the Rio Hondo and San Gabriel rivers in Southern California.
Mary holds a BA of Environmental Analysis from Pitzer College. Her thesis, Sediment Removal from the San Gabriel Mountains, explored the issues of sediment management, beach replenishment and riparian habitat restoration.
She has been a certified Master Gardner since 2008 and enjoys participating in regional habitat restoration efforts, hiking the San Gabriel Mountains and making chocolate for local community events.
Rudy is a Program Manager for initiatives throughout SUMC, from our consulting work to the Federal Transit Administration’s Mobility Innovation Collaborative.
He comes to the Shared-Use Mobility Center from a career in book publishing in New York and Chicago, which has left him with a love of good writing in many genres. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Chicago and a Masters in Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Currently a Chicago resident, Rudy is a New Jersey native and sometime Adirondack resident. He holds a deep love for urban, suburban, and rural areas alike, and is always looking for hikes or bicycle rides—“even in this weather(?)”—accessible by transit in each one. Rudy may also be found washing pots at Ravenswood Community Services or enjoying a post-ride coffee.
Senior Project Associate
As a Senior Project Associate, Kevin spends his time supporting a wide range of research and communications efforts at SUMC.
Kevin received a Bachelor of Science in Geography and a Masters of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Minnesota. During this time, he worked for the university on transportation and environmental quality initiatives as an engineering technician, AmeriCorps fellow and assistant researcher. His past work for state and local government includes comprehensive and strategic plan updates, public outreach campaigns and legislative policy research.
Outside of work, Kevin can be found enjoying Chicago’s great live music and arts scene or exploring a new neighborhood on his bike.
Senior Policy Advisor
Alvaro Villagran, AICP
Director, Federal Programs
Alvaro leads SUMC’s work for the Federal Transit Administration’s mobility innovation programs, providing technical assistance to transit agencies across the country in developing a wide array of innovative mobility projects.
Alvaro holds a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), and a Master’s Degree in History from Northwestern University. Prior to SUMC, Alvaro worked for the Transportation Improvement Program at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP).
Alvaro is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), a member of Young Professionals in Transportation (YPT), and a steering committee member of Transport Chicago. Alvaro serves as the Greenways Advocate at the Town of Chapel Hill, NC’s Transportation and Connectivity Advisory Board.
Senior Program Coordinator
Peter is a Senior Program Coordinator at SUMC supporting a range of research projects including the Mobility-On-Demand Learning Center, a national analysis of mobility partnerships, and a job access study in Texas. Peter brings a data-driven approach to problem solving from his previous career as an engineer.
After completing his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maryland, Peter worked as a manufacturing engineer in the automotive and healthcare industries. He came to SUMC as a research fellow while completing his Master of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
In his spare time, Peter enjoys following Philadelphia sports teams and exploring Chicago’s neighborhoods on Divvy bikes.
Lauren N. McCarthy
Director and Strategic Lead, California and Western States Programs
Lauren is the Strategic Lead of California and Western States Programs at SUMC. Her work includes managing and contributing to various dimensions of the Clean Mobility Options Program and supporting multiple SUMC research initiatives. Lauren is also a Ph.D. Candidate at the Schar School for Policy and Government. Her dissertation work investigates the applicability of established policy process models in the introduction of novel technologies, with a focus on micromobility.
Before joining SUMC, Lauren was Program Manager and Senior Researcher for the Center for Transportation Public-Private Partnership Policy at George Mason University. In 2019 Lauren was selected as a Google Public Policy Fellow. Lauren has presented her research at numerous conferences, such as the Transportation Research Board Conference and the World Conference on Transport Research, and published work in multiple outlets, including the peer-reviewed journal Transport Policy
Lauren is a proud Buffalonian (Go Bills! Go Sabres!) and enjoys walking around cities and striking up conversations with the people she meets along the way. She received a B.S. in Business Administration and an M.A. in Geography from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Director, Partnerships & Engagement
Hannah comes to SUMC with a background in project management and research and with a passion for understanding how the spatial and social dynamics of city-making affect community health and happiness; she believes improving transit and mobility for all is at the core of this relationship. Prior to graduate school and SUMC, she worked for a patient engagement company that delivered products, rooted in behavioral science and human centered decision, to improve patient empowerment and decision-making. Working for SUMC, she is applying her background and education to planning and organizing meaningful conversations at events such as SUMC’s annual National Shared Mobility Summit as well as consulting on a project centered around inclusive planning.
Hannah received her Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Society from Cornell University and her Master’s degree in City Design and Social Science from the London School of Economics. As a sociologist, she loves to explore and people watch in new cities and parks.
Nate comes to SUMC with a strong background and passion for transportation, public policy, and social justice. Prior to working at SUMC, Nate worked at two separate municipal agencies, a transportation consulting firm, and a survey research organization; now he is channeling his experiences in research and urban planning into developing new content for SUMC’s online Learning Center.
Originally from the Midwest, Nate prides telling people that he has lived in four states (and one district) throughout his life: Missouri, Washington, DC, Illinois, North Carolina, and California. Outside of work, Nate lives a car-free lifestyle and loves biking, reading, exploring Chicago, and spending time with his family, many of whom live nearby.
Nate holds a Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a certificate in Advanced Leadership Studies from American University.
Senior Program Coordinator
Manali is an urban planner and storyteller who is passionate about designing better cities and systems for people. As one of our Program Coordinators, she supports the Accelerating Innovative Mobility National Network program and the Clean Mobility Options program. Manali loves to brainstorm at a whiteboard with teammates, visualize information, capture people’s stories, and keep humans at the center of design solutions.
Prior to joining SUMC, Manali helped to design buildings at Arup and conducted cutting-edge research at the Urban Freight Lab. She received her Master’s in Urban Planning & Design from the University of Washington. In her free time, she likes to discover new places by foot, read, and try her hand at digital art.
Senior Program Coordinator
Sarah is a Program Coordinator at SUMC, where she supports the Clean Mobility Options Program to provide clean and accessible transportation solutions to California’s underserved communities. Sarah comes to SUMC with a background and interest in the intersection of transportation, climate change, and public health.
Prior to joining SUMC, Sarah worked with the Local Government Commission and the CivicSpark Program to support fellows, local governments, state agencies, and nonprofit partners to implement capacity-building projects to address California’s biggest challenges in climate change and community resiliency.
Sarah received her B.A. in Geography & Environmental Studies from UCLA. She is currently a member of the American Society of Adaptation Professionals and serves as a Steering Committee Member for Orange County Environmental Justice. Outside of work, Sarah enjoys cooking and baking, starting new art projects, and reading books.
As the Operations Manager at SUMC, Dauren co-leads the management of HR, finance, and administrative projects.
Dauren has several years of experience working with and for nonprofit organizations. Prior to Joining SUMC, Dauren worked in operations for the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation. Before they began work in nonprofit operations, Dauren worked as a consultant and project manager doing marketing, event, and strategic planning for nonprofits and foundations.
Dauren has a B.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College in Santa Fe, NM, where they studied the history of Western thought through primary sources in science, math, language, literature, and philosophy. They also hold a M.F.A. from Columbia College Chicago in Creative Nonfiction, with a focus on the essay form.
Hani comes to SUMC with a passion for transportation and a drive to make it sustainable, equitable, and accessible. As a Program Associate, he primarily helps with Federal Transit Administration projects.
After completing his Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology at Lawrence University, Hani worked in the legal field for several years. He then completed his Master’s degree in Public Policy and Public Administration from Northwestern University, where he wrote his thesis on transit equity, bikeshare, and multi-modal transportation.
Partnerships and Engagement Associate
Macey’s passion for social change and love of the bus led her to SUMC. Starting as the Communications Intern, her passion for shared mobility blossomed. Now as the Partnerships and Engagement Associate, she directs this passion into design work, social media marketing, relationship building, and event planning to assist SUMC’s mission.
She received her Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in Public Relations and Advertising from DePaul University. When she is not talking about BRT to anyone who will listen, Macey likes to spend time walking around Chicago, making art, watching bad movies, and dogsitting.
Miriam comes to SUMC with a background in equitable transportation research. Her scholarship focuses broadly on travel and the built environment (including parking), transportation economics and finance, and travel among demographic groups that face barriers to mobility, including women, older adults, and people with low incomes.
Her doctoral degree and Master’s degree are both in urban planning from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her dissertation tracks the evolution of driver’s license policy, from a tool to address road safety to a lever to coerce monetary sanctions. Miriam has presented her research at conferences, and been awarded research fellowships for her work, including the U.S. Student Fulbright Fellowship and the Haynes Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship.
Miriam can be found traveling through Los Angeles by bike, and enjoys watercoloring the cityscape.
Partnerships & Engagement Specialist
Like many others, Megan fell into the public transit industry and has since become captivated by how the industry intersects mobility, equity and sustainability. As the partnership and engagement specialist, she leverages her public relations and journalism background to work with internal and external stakeholders to further SUMC’s mission in helping communities realize a vision of an equitable and sustainable mobility future for all. Prior to SUMC, Megan served as the associate editor of Mass Transit magazine. She’s a national award-winning B2B journalist, a board director for Latinos In Transit and a member of the APTA Marketing and Communications Committee. She holds a bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism with a concentration in magazine writing and a minor in public relations from Columbia College Chicago.
Board of Directors
Clayton Lane, Board Chair
Senior Director, Public Policy, BIRD
Clayton has 20 years of experience as a social entrepreneur, mobility expert, and international program director. Clayton co-founded PhillyCarShare and grew it to become the largest regional car-sharing system in the world, displacing about 20,000 cars, reduced driving by about 50 million miles, and avoiding about 46,000 tons of CO2. More recently as CEO of ITDP, COO of EMBARQ, and Deputy Director of WRI Cities, Clayton has led 100-200 passionate professionals to influence mobility policy & plans in over 50 cities worldwide. Clayton has played key roles in raising over $100 million; leading strategy; and forging partnerships with governments, banks, UN agencies, NGOs & companies. He also has overseen top-notch research teams authoring the “Bike Share Planning Guide” and BRT and TOD Standards.
Scott Bernstein, Board Treasurer
Founder and Chief Strategy + Innovation Officer, Center for Neighborhood Technology
Scott leads CNT’s work to understand and better disclose the economic value of resource use in urban communities, and helps craft strategies to capture the value of this efficiency productively and locally. He studied at Northwestern University, served on the research staff of Northwestern’s Center for Urban Affairs, taught at UCLA and was a founding Board member at the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Center. In addition, President Clinton appointed Scott to the President’s Council for Sustainable Development, where he co-chaired its task forces on Metropolitan Sustainable Communities and on Cross-Cutting Climate Strategies and contributed to other federal advisory panels on global warming, development strategy, and science policy.
President and CEO, Eno Center for Transportation
Robert Puentes is President and CEO of the Eno Center for Transportation, a non-profit think tank with the mission of improving transportation policy and leadership. Prior to joining Eno, he was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program where he directed the program’s Metropolitan Infrastructure Initiative. He is currently a non-resident senior fellow with Brookings. Before Brookings, Robert was the director of infrastructure programs at the Intelligent Transportation Society of America. Robert has worked extensively on a variety of transportation issues, including infrastructure funding and finance, and city and urban planning.
Emily Castor Warren
Head of Public Policy, Embark
Emily is a mobility technology pioneer with a wealth of experience in transportation policy and tech regulation. As Head of Public Policy for Embark, she leads the company’s policy and government affairs work to bring autonomous long-haul trucking to market. She also serves as a venture partner for Fontinalis, a mobility-focused venture capital firm. Emily started her career as a Congressional legislative aide and municipal financial analyst before making the shift into Silicon Valley as a member of the original Lyft team in 2012. At Lyft, she led teams focused on transportation policy, public transit partnerships, environmental impact, and community engagement during the formative years of the industry. Emily later held public policy leadership roles at Lime and Amazon. She serves on the advisory board of the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies.
Kevin is a mobility entrepreneur, passionate about turning great ideas into products and services that improve people’s lives through better mobility and healthier cities. He is a 4-time founder of successful Canadian mobility and healthy city ventures, including AutoShare, Toronto’s original carsharing service (1998), now part of Enterprise CarShare; Vancouver’s Modo – the Car Co-op (1997) and Evergreen.ca (1991), Canada’s leading NGO that works to make cities flourish. He is currently CEO of his latest startup Zygg—the first subscription service for personal e-bikes in North America, based in Toronto. Kevin was recently a Vice President at Free2Move, the urban mobility service that allows users to search, compare and choose from a variety of mobility options on a single app.
Senior Strategic Policy Advisor, AARP Public Policy Institute
At the AARP Public Policy Institute, Jana manages AARP’s transportation research agenda and is responsible for the development of policy adopted by the AARP Board of Directors. Jana’s areas of expertise include livable communities, transportation, and land use planning and policy. Her current research explores how “disruptive” technologies may influence the form and delivery of transportation services of the future. In 2015, Jana was responsible for the development of AARP’s groundbreaking Livability Index, which measures how well every neighborhood in the United States meets residents’ needs. Jana previously served as director of transportation planning for the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, where she designed and managed an influential study on the link between land use and the mobility of older adults.
Stefanie Brodie, PhD
Research Practice Lead, Toole Design
Stefanie Brodie specializes in research for transportation planning and policy. With her expertise in transportation equity, she works with cities to develop equity frameworks for planning processes and conducting equity analyses. Her past research focused on performance-based transportation planning, especially how to incorporate equity and other social sustainability considerations into decision making. Stefanie takes a pragmatic approach to transportation research and believes that it should help public agencies make informed decisions.
Prior to joining Toole Design, Stefanie served as a research program specialist for Washington, DC’s District Department of Transportation. Stefanie’s published works cover topics of equity, performance-based planning, sustainability, and environmental justice, all within the transportation context. She has presented at numerous conferences and has participated in panels on topics such as active transportation, dockless micromobility, project evaluations, and the future of transportation.
Danielle J. Harris
Managing Director, Engagement & Innovation, Elemental Excelerator