Paul Casey, senior service planner for Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus, has been awarded the Swedish Institute's Swedish-American Bicentennial Fellowship. This prestigious grant recognizes Casey for his professional work and accomplishments at the Big Blue Bus for more than a decade.
"Paul Casey's willingness to try new things has made a significant impact within the Big Blue Bus. His global perspective and creativity have allowed him to bring innovative ideas to our community," says Joe Stitcher, assistant director of Transit Operations.
The Swedish Institute, a government agency that values culture and education, administers the Swedish-American Exchange Fund for non-academic research and professional enrichment. This travel grant allows recipients to travel to Sweden for up to four weeks to generate projects in fields including public administration and the human environment.
Casey's fellowship begins Sept. 1, 2011 in the Malmo, Sweden – which is the fourth most sustainable city in the world – where he will conduct research on sustainable city planning. He will then travel to Stockholm to research their transit system and learn about their innovative transit solutions to traffic congestion.
"While I've traveled the world and been fortunate to study in many places, I am particularly excited about the experience the Swedish Institute fellowship will provide me in generating new sustainability strategies to help improve transit within Santa Monica and the west side of Los Angeles," says Casey.
Casey is an avid world-traveller, which allows him to be open-minded to many different perspectives. He strongly believes in delving into unfamiliar situations in order to broaden one's horizons. He received a Bachelor's degree in geography at the University of Chicago, a degree in Architectural Studies at the University of Louisiana, and a master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Southern California.
Locally, Casey has worked with the city of Los Angeles Department of Transportation, where he managed contracts with private companies for the operation of community transit services. In 1999, Mr. Casey began working with Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus. Casey has designed two rapid transit routes, negotiated service parameters with Los Angeles County MTA, secured cooperation of other city departments for street related improvements, and completed the service planning for several Mini Blue routes.
Casey has also negotiated agreements for innovative fare payment programs with UCLA and Santa Monica College that allow students, faculty, and staff to ride the Big Blue Bus at no charge with the schools compensating Big Blue Bus based on ridership. The Big Blue Bus has seen a 40 percent increase in riders from the SMC program alone.
"The Santa Monica Big Blue Bus congratulates Paul Casey for being awarded the Swedish-American Bicentennial Fellowship. While the Big Blue Bus has long benefitted from his innovative transit planning, we believe this recognition is an endorsement of his efforts and creativity," adds Stitcher.