Jeff Wood

New Media Director/Chief Cartographer

Reconnecting America

Jeff Wood, new media director/chief cartographer for Reconnecting America, works tirelessly to track national stories in transit and conduct innovative data analysis. He pushes for broader attention to transit and TOD-related issues in the news media, through his daily newsletter, "The Other Side of the Tracks," his own personal blog, The Overhead Wire, and Reconnecting America's Twitter feed and blog. He eats, breathes and sleeps transit.

Numerous non-Reconnecting America individuals have commented that they rely on his daily news feed as their core source of information about what is going on in the world of transit. It is no easy feat to put this newsletter together; Wood culls every article and blog post from his news feed before selecting the best of the best. This effort often takes him into the wee hours of the morning. He is only partially funded to do this work for Reconnecting America; much of it is on his own time.

Beyond his media work, Wood is Reconnecting America’s lead mapper. He pushes for innovation and quality in spatial analysis, and completes the majority of the maps that come from Reconnecting America and CTOD. When you go into his office he often has just completed some amazing map that tells the stories about how transit works in a whole new way. He has an incredible gift for spatial analysis and visual interpretation of trends.

His latest project is Reconnecting America’s online Maproom, which highlights some of his best work. This will hopefully be a useful resource to a broad audience: http://www.reconnectingamerica.org/resource-center/online-tools/map-room/

“I’ve always been fascinated with cities and transit, but probably the main influence is my dad.  We have a room devoted to Lionel trains which set me off on that kick, but he also set a really good example by taking the express bus to downtown Houston every day from our home outside of the city.  I didn’t think about it much then but it’s been a big influence on my work.  Because he had a choice, it meant that he wasn’t driving tired and wasn’t stuck in traffic every day trying to get home for dinner. At Christmas we visited our family in San Francisco, and my dad would take me on BART to the car show at Moscone Center.  I guess we now know which way I chose to go.”

“There are some really smart folks in this industry who know so much about how things work.  I’m always impressed by the APTA Streetcar subcommittee and how much they know about the details of track design and car types and operations. If I end up knowing a quarter of what those guys do I’d be pretty lucky.”   

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