Robin Phillips joined National RTAP in December 2014 with almost 18 years of experience working with FTA programs. Robin went to law school after getting a BA in history from Reed College in Portland, OR, and practiced law for five years. She decided that municipal bonds and energy litigation were not connected enough to community development issues to be truly satisfying, so she went on to work for Oregon DOT, where she was hired to write and implement a multimodal intercity policy. The Oregon Intercity Network was the result. This collaboration between the 5311 program and the rail program shifted the paradigm from community projects to regional connectivity and access to transportation networks.
Parallel to service development was the realization that information about services was as important as the services themselves. In 2005, as Administrator of Coordinated Transportation at Washington State DOT, Robin hired staff to create the simplest data schema possible to run the Google transit trip planner. She then worked on finding ways to help rural providers input their data, to increase awareness and access to services.
Finding the right balance of public and private investment has been integral to Robin’s career. In Oregon there was little money, and private transportation services needed to stay in business in order to meet access and connectivity goals. The integration of public and private operators into the OR and WA state networks was key to their success. In 2007 Robin was hired as Senior Policy Director at the American Bus Association, where she facilitated private operators trying to work with the states and federal programs, and vice versa. Working at National RTAP is a natural culmination of Robin's experience and her dedication to improving transportation options in rural communities.
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