Changing How We Get There

Ten Reedies changing the future of transportation.

March 7, 2019

Flying Cars

Aerospace startup Joby Aviation, where Evan Peairs ’16 is an electromechanical engineer, is working on a fully electric personal airplane. Faster and quieter than a helicopter, with vertical take-off and landing, the vehicle has been described as a cross between a drone and a small plane.

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Appy Travels

In 2015 Knock CEO Will Henderson ’08 realized that apps like Waze and Google maps were wreaking havoc on city transportation systems, clogging arterial streets and overrunning bike thoroughfares. Cities needed a way to ensure these technologies did not overtax local systems. His answer was Ride Report, a bike commuting app that helps commuters and delivers crucial bike data to the cities they ride in for improving conditions.

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Go by Bus

Senior Operations Analyst (and former bicycle racer) Miles Crumley ’07 keeps TriMet's buses on time and running smoothly with the power of data. Once a bus operator himself, Miles now finds ways to use information such as GPS data to improve city bus operations. He’ll get to the bottom of any delays, whether caused by bus mechanics, pedestrian crossing, or traffic signals.

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Two-Wheel Revolution

Writer, producer, and feminist book publisher Elly Blue ’04 gets the word out about all things bicycle in her quarterly zine Taking the Lane; in her many books like Bikeonomics and Pedal Zombies; and in a video project called Groundswell about amazing people using bicycling to improve their communities. She co-owns Microcosm Publishing, which published Bicycle/Race by Adonia Lugo ’05.


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RKSK to Rideshare

Ezra Goldman ’03 began working on the share economy when he masterminded the RKSK (Reed College Shit Kollective) mini-bike share—a collection of kids’ bicycles distributed around campus to help students get to where they were going, faster. Now, he is the founder of Upshift cars, a San Francisco-based startup that delivers a Prius to you with a text message, via a car concierge who bikes away afterward.

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It’s Electric

Danny Kim ’02, CEO of Lit Motors, has been building cars since 2003, when he redesigned and built two biodiesel SUVs. He didn’t stop there. Most recently he invented a gyroscopic electric motorcycle called the C-1. A fully enclosed two-wheeled vehicle, the C-1 is designed to be as safe as a car, and to alleviate traffic congestion and the environmental impact of single-occupant vehicles.

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Trip Check

When you consult your department of transportation for news about road conditions and traffic, you might be saving yourself a trip down a closed highway thanks to Kristin Virshbo ’98, CEO of Castle Rock Associates. The company‘s software platform CARS is used by many transportation agencies to capture and share information about the roads for which they are responsible.

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Pedals to the People

Lifelong bike commuter Kasandra Griffin ’95 is increasing access to bicycling in Portland, Oregon, as the executive director of the Community Cycling Center, an organization which began with the mission to get bicycles to kids in low-income areas as well as the skills and resources necessary to maintain them. 

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Keel Over

By day Bernard Smith ’48 was a rocket scientist and weapons expert for the US Navy. But his true passion was designing sailboats. In 1963, he published The Forty-Knot Sailboat, in which he set out a revolutionary design for a high-speed sailboat. Almost 50 years later the Vestas Sailrocket, which was based on his ideas, smashed the world speed sailing record, clocking well over 75 miles per hour.

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Liberating Hydrogen

Prof. Miriam Bowring [chemistry] and her students are working on catalysts that speed the production of hydrogen through a mysterious mechanism known as quantum tunnelling. The potential implications of using hydrogen as a fuel are huge. Pound for pound, hydrogen contains three times the energy of gasoline and burns clean—its only exhaust product is water.

Tags: Alumni, Business, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Life Beyond Reed