Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto has hired transportation expert Karina Ricks as the City's first director of the new Mobility and Infrastructure Department. The department will lead efforts to provide residents with safe, accessible, sustainable and efficient transportation options.
Ricks is the former Associate Director of the District of Columbia Department of Transportation. She left to join innovative transportation consultancy Nelson/Nygaard Associates, where she established their Mid-Atlantic presence and worked with cities and communities nationwide and internationally. Ricks led the firm's multimodal practice, in which she developed integrated, implementable mobility solutions that serve local values and aspirations.
"Transportation is changing at top speed, from ride-sharing services to autonomous vehicles, and Pittsburgh is becoming a world leader in such initiatives. Karina will help guide us as we embrace our city's emerging transportation opportunities, and make them accessible to all city residents," Mayor Peduto said.
Ricks starts tomorrow. Her main objective this year is to establish the City's new Mobility and Infrastructure Department, which was approved in the City's 2017 Operating Budget, in which she and a small staff will work with Public Works, Planning and other departments on transportation initiatives.
The department will work with residents and external stakeholders (such as the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Port Authority of Allegheny County) on multi-agency projects; integrate technology into transportation initiatives; and further prepare the city for "shared mobility" options (such as bikeshare and ride-sharing services).
The formation of the Mobility and Infrastructure Department was recommended by a report the City commissioned in conjunction with the National Association of City Transportation Officials, and contained interviews with people across the City and the nation about Pittsburgh's transportation needs and the best practices of other cities in such initiatives.