2020 40 Under 40: Tyler O. Means, AICP

Aug. 18, 2020
Tyler O. Means, AICP, Senior Manager of Solutions Engineering, TransLoc-Ford Mobility
  • One word to describe yourself: Grateful
  • Alma Mater: University of Kansas
  • Favorite hobby: Cooking
  • Fun fact about yourself: I speak Spanish and spend a month each year in Spain.
  • Favorite station or stop that you have ever visited or frequent: Goya metro stop in Madrid. It's the stop closest to my in-law’s place and the smells and noises of the Salamanca neighborhood always make me feel at home.
  • Favorite route you have ever ridden or frequent: The Blue Line in Chicago heading out to O'Hare. There are so many great neighborhoods and restaurants west of downtown that can be accessed by the Blue Line. Plus, growing up in the Midwest, Chicago was my big city to visit growing up.

Tyler O. Means, ACIP, started as a transportation planner at TransLoc-Ford Mobility when a month into his new role, his grandmother, who is blind in one eye, died from a car accident when she was driving because there was no accessible transit. From there, he made the decision to devote his energy to improving the transportation and mobility landscape.

Means began his career at Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) where he developed advancements for transit services and created cost-effective service options, including overseeing a project that redesigned how the organization programmed funding to transit agencies across the region. By creating coordinated service delivery across county and state boundaries and consolidating the application process, he led a team that helped increase the number of residents who used transit in the Kansas City area.

His work at MARC led him to TransSystems where he was a transportation planner focusing on policy development and implementation to enhance customer experience and simplify transit agency management of services before moving on to the Kansas City Transportation Authority. There, he spearheaded the redesign of the agency's on-demand program, RideKC Freedom. The same-day mobility service that subsidized taxi rides gave unprecedented access to persons with disabilities and the elderly at virtually no cost. The program changed the way transportation was delivered to Kansas City, giving people without cars the same level of mobility as others.

After the success of RideKC Freedom, Means recognized the impact software could have on transit. He joined TransLoc in 2019 to continue his mission to help improve mobility for all. He began his career at TransLoc as senior project manager and was quickly promoted to his current role of senior manager of solutions engineering. In this role, he is responsible for equipping agencies with the appropriate tools and data to ensure they provide a seamless transit experience for their riders. In this capacity, he is tasked with helping transit providers make critical decisions about route optimization and payment options, such as ensuring that providers and routes that serve impoverished areas maintain cash options for the unbanked.

During the COVID-19 crisis, Means has pioneered TransLoc’s Fixed to Flex program, an emergency demand response program that helps transit agencies quickly pivot their fixed-route service to on-demand services. This free service for transit providers has proved invaluable, helping agencies continue to provide essential transit to critical workers during this crisis.

Means is part of the American Planning Association, the Transportation Cooperative Research Program (TCRP), the Transportation Research Board and APTA. At TCRP, he was part of a group that oversaw the

creation of reports on redesigning transportation networks in the face of new mobility and how to coordinate payment for services across multimodal mobility. Means regularly speaks on industry panels, as well as contributing as a guest speaker at the University of Kansas.

“Right at the start of my career as a transportation planner I lost my grandmother in a car wreck. After that, I put all my drive towards improving mobility and building mobility ecosystems that were scalable and easy to recreate in other places. All in the hope of creating more safe, accessible transportation for those that need it most.”

“Fighting the misconception that public transit is for the lesser [is the most challenging part of my job]. If there is one thing about transit that should be taken away from the COVID situation, it is that transit kept communities moving when communities needed it most. Transit is a great equalizer in ensuring that everyone has the mobility they need to connect to their community.”

“The most driven and selfless people I have ever met are in public transit. I love people who put their heart and soul into making not only today, but tomorrow a better place. It's a constant source of inspiration.”

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Dec. 30, 2013