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Meet the Team: Ruth Miller

Meet the Team: Ruth Miller

Jawnt's Director of Product Partnerships, Ruth Miller, is a fixture at TDM and transit industry events across the country. Read on to learn more about Ruth!

Jawnt Team
June 20, 2024

Jawnt's Director of Product Partnerships, Ruth Miller, is a fixture at TDM and transit industry events across the country. Read on to learn more about Ruth!

How do you get around where you live? (Ex, what subway lines do you take, are you a bike-rider, etc)

I live off the new Green Line extension, but I prefer my e-bike. Look for me hauling plants back from the nursery on my bike trailers. I do own a car, but it’s almost exclusively for exploring mountains and coastlines.

How long have you been working for Jawnt?

Just over one year.

How would you describe your role at Jawnt?

I have the best job at Jawnt. I joined as our first product hire, so I spend a lot of time listening to everyone internally, learning from our external partners, and keeping on top of industry trends. With all this information, I’ve been responsible for making sure we all know exactly what we’re building, what we’re not building, and why.

But I also have a wealth of experience and knowledge about transportation planning, and often get called in to be a subject matter expert for our partners and speak at industry events. For example, I co-wrote a TRB paper last year with SEPTA about ridership gains from the SEPTA Key Advantage program. I’m excited to keep building the best transit benefits platform in the world, and that includes expanding the idea of what a transit benefits provider can do.

What is your favorite thing to help Jawnt customers with?

My favorite days at Jawnt are the ones where I get to talk with transportation coordinators about how to get more people to use their transit benefits. I enjoy learning about what obstacles they face and figuring out what information or programs might help them choose transit.

What do you hope to see in the future of transit & commuting?

Smaller vehicle formats. Bikes have been around for longer than cars, but for decades we’ve prioritized the majority of our public space for cars. Biking really took off during the pandemic, especially e-bikes, to the point where cities can finally reallocate some of our public space for real bike infrastructure. With more interest in e-bikes, you’re also seeing rebates and support for bike-delivery from the public sector, as well as more private investments in cheaper cargo bikes, subscription services, and other ways to make biking work for a wider range of trips. While the US auto industry offering bigger and bigger vehicles, I’m heartened to see bikes, scooters, golf carts, Japanese mini trucks, and anything else that uses less energy to make, less energy to operate, emits fewer particulates, does less damage in collisions, and generally takes less away from people.

What have you been listening to or reading during your commute lately?

I hauled a copy of Robert Caro’s Power Broker through two cross country moves, so I’m thrilled by this year’s 99% Invisible Power Broker Book Club. For those that don’t know, The Power Broker is an epic, 1200-page biography about Robert Moses. Growing up, like everyone, I took the built environment as a given, and have since become aware that everything around me had been shaped with intention and put there by people. Robert Moses likely had more influence on the built environment of the United States in the 1930s-60s than any other individual before or since, and (spoiler) did not always wield his influence for good! A lot of urban planning and community development practices today are backlashes to the backlash he earned. It’s such an enormous story that it fills 1200 pages. Thankfully this year, 99 Percent Invisible, a fantastic podcast that celebrates the invisible effort and thinking behind ordinary things, is breaking this story up into a manageable 100 pages a month. The March episode features an interview with AOC about the nature of power and is worth multiple listenings.

Where’s your next vacation?

My partner and I lived in Oakland for many years, and go back every Fourth of July to spend time with our chosen and extended families. This year includes staying in a friend’s barn in wine country and a birthday camping party up the North Coast for our dog, Whiskey.

What was your first job?

I grew up in a very small town outside Atlanta. As a freshman in high school, a local real estate office hired me to put together their new computer. When I realized their office was air conditioned, and all my friends were getting jobs in fast food, I proposed that they hire me over the summer to type up all their old photocopied contracts, and then later that they keep me around a few hours a week after school to type in the blanks for each new contract. I had that job for three years.

Real estate was a huge business in Metro Atlanta for more of the 00’s, so it was very exciting. I had this incredible vantage point, typing up contracts that turned thousands of acres of forests into subdivisions. I remember naively being excited to see how many houses they would fit on an acre next. It was life changing money for everyone involved, and exciting to see new restaurants and grocery stores opening up. But while I was at college, the negative impacts started to become more apparent, because this was as unplanned as sprawl can get. It was a strain on water, roads, schools, everything. It was the most fascinating thing I’d ever seen, and I switched majors from computer science to urban planning to learn how to help make it better. It fundamentally shaped the way I see the world, and I’ve been working at it ever since.

Jawnt Team

The Jawnt blog

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