Meghan Makoid

Sept. 18, 2012
Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) Transportation Planner Meghan Makoid.

"A hundred years after we are gone and forgotten, those who never heard of us will be living with the results of our actions."  -Oliver Wendell Holmes

A self-proclaimed transit geek, Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) Transportation Planner Meghan Makoid finds the opportunity to shape travel and land-use patterns for future generations the most fulfilling aspect of transportation planning.

Makoid is committed to transit, committed to CATS and committed to spreading the word aobut transit. As a NEPA practitioner, Makoid works on large-scale public transportation projects and seeks out the newest and most effective ways to communicate, educate and empower the public.

Makoid has been very involved with the Blue Line LRT system extension and has sought out a variety of training opportunities and worked with Planning in developing station area plans for the stations. She’s also been involved in coordinating the SAP public involvement effort.

Makoid is dedicated to making Charlotte a better place to live by increasing transit awareness in the community by providing information that is easy to understand, accessible and informative by using new public involvement tools that are available. She provides clear information in plain language that helps the community and the decision-makers make more informed decisions.

She is very involved in spreading transit news through social media, especially Twitter. She started the #TransitThursday effort and keeps it going every Thursday, with more and more people taking part. 

Planning for the Future

"When you ride public transportation, rarely do you think of the individuals who helped plan and design the line. You are probably too focused on the next stop; perhaps thinking about what you need to pick up on the way home, or who you need to meet later at the new hot spot in town. Yet, everything from where you are going to what is available along your journey was influenced by past plans and the community who supported public transportation investment.

"For me, this is the most fulfilling aspect of transportation planning; the opportunity to shape travel and land-use patterns for future generations. Public transportation projects may be as strong and lasting as the steel and concrete used to construct, but these investments also profoundly influence development patterns for the lifetime of a city. Investments in transportation help keep the community healthy, sustainable and competitive for decades to come.

"While no one may ever know that I helped plan the transportation system in my community, I know that my community will be positively influenced by these plans; and it is this small thought that motivates me to work harder every day to serve my community." 

Public Involvement

"Social media, infographics, webinars, smart phone apps and other new technologies are profoundly influencing the future of public transportation. These new tools are changing how practitioners communicate and interact with the public. Internet and live-streaming of public meetings, webinars to educate community and advocacy groups, service updates to customers via twitter and text message, one and two-way communication on facebook, proactive pinterest transit promotions; and yes, if you can believe it … social media, infographics, webinars, streaming videos and apps are even being used in the NEPA public involvement process!

"I believe in open, transparent and informative planning. It is the right of the public to participate in changes that will affect their future, but it is also our duty as transportation professionals to ensure that they are well-informed. 

"It is my goal to provide information that is easy to understand, accessible and informative. I want the community to not only feel that their voices are heard, but I also want them to be empowered with the information to advocate for the project.

"The complex nature of the NEPA process is often seen as a barrier to garnering public interest. However, these new public involvement tools will change how practitioners communicate with the public. I strongly believe that these new tools offer a great opportunity for practitioners to provide clear, concise information in plain language that will help decision-makers and the public to make more informed decisions.

"Notwithstanding, it is important to recognize that new public outreach tools also represent a new challenge, as practitioners may not fully understand how to effectively use social media, infographics, apps and other emerging technologies. But, it is our responsibility to the public to continue to learn and grow; to understand how the public is communicating, and not expect the public to conform to the methods we learned back in planning school. While these new tools and technologies will not likely replace traditional forms of public outreach, we should recognize the value of these additional tools; and we should educate ourselves."

Outside the Office

"Like most people, I enjoy traveling. Anyone who has ever traveled with me will attest that I can be a bit of transit geek. I will stop to take pictures of bus stops, shelters, vehicles, amenities, signage, station finishes, little design details, public art and environmental mitigation. My friends and family have come to appreciate this fact, or they at least try to humor me.

"I feel that traveling significantly influences how I approach planning in my own community. Whether I am an hour away from home or traveling abroad in another country, I make a point to learn how other planners approach the same situations and challenges I face every day.  

"I recently returned from a European bike trip. My husband and I cycled from Portugal to Spain. When we returned, my husband noted that 95 percent of the pictures from our trip were of bus shelters and trains. I calmly responded, 'But, it’s making me a better planner; besides we took turns to make sure one of us was in the photo.' He rolled his eyes, smiled and said, 'That’s my transit planner!'"