Top 40 Under 40 2013: Anna Rahtz

Anna Rahtz has accomplished a lot in her career so far including working in partnership with the county transportation commission, San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG), on the design of the new San Bernardino Transit Center project. She successfully obtained more than $8 million in needed funding for the project.

She has also worked with Parsons Transportation Group and Omnitrans’ member cities to produce the Omnitrans Transit Design Guidelines, which has earned the Focused Issue Planning Award from the American Planning Association — Inland Empire Section. The Omnitrans Transit Design Guidelines document is a lessons-learned guide based on Omnitrans’ experience with developing its first bus rapid transit (BRT) corridor. It answers the questions cities have when trying to plan their future corridors or when building traditional bus stops.

Rahtz is currently working with consultants and five cities on an alternatives analysis for the West Valley Connector BRT corridor project. And she also obtained a grant for the Planning Internship program, which currently is employing two college interns.

She recently passed the American Institute of Certified Planners exam and was selected by Omnitrans as employee of the quarter for the period October - December 2012.

Rahtz is an enthusiastic transit rider and bicyclist. In her spare time, she serves as a volunteer member of the city of Redlands Traffic and Parking Commission.

“As a summer job during college, I worked in the pass sales office for SORTA (Metro) in Cincinnati. I started memorizing the schedules and I loved being able to help people navigate to where they needed to go on public transit.

"To get to work that summer I also found it was affordable and convenient to take an express bus downtown; I could relax and skip the parking hassle. This gave me a first impression of how efficient public transit could be and I was hooked.”

“Two years later when I started in the Masters in community planning program at the University of Cincinnati I started riding the bus to work and school and I decided I wanted to go into transit planning. I became driven to find ways to provide high-quality, efficient public transit options for everyone. Six years later I’m as dedicated to that mission as ever.

“Someday I hope to see public transit fully integrated into American communities and widely accepted as a choice mode of transportation. I would like to see public transit agencies with stable funding, providing high-frequency express routes and strong local routes that compete with the automobile.

"I would like to see patterns of land development that are walkable and oriented toward transit access. These trends are already emerging in communities across the nation and I’m excited to see how things change over the coming years.

"I’m very fortunate to be working with communities in Southern California that started planning a decade ago to develop a system-wide bus rapid transit network with transit-oriented development at the stations. I’m glad to be working at such a forward-thinking agency as Omnitrans that is a leader in this industry.”