Hey fellow travelers! Ready to navigate into the undercover world of a transportation planner? Buckle up and come along for the ride. While Foursquare ITP staff are planners by day, we have different talents by night! We enjoy merging these talents with those we possess at the office to create better transportation systems for all.

Adventures Through Travel and Food

As a transportation planner for the past six years, I have finessed urban ingredients like a chef in a kitchen in order to improve the offerings on the transportation menu. By day, I assemble the city’s transportation network, arranging platters of urbanism and sprinkling in seasonings of micromobility options. But beyond the city grids, I lead a secret life as a foodie adventurer. Yes, I’m that stealthy critic exploring restaurants incognito, turning dining into a serious epicurean journey.

After hours, catch me at a local joint, passionately scribbling down my latest food haven discovery. Food is an adventure, and I’m here to make sure it’s a blast. I utilize the same lessons learned from work. While I savor the surrounding aromas and embrace unique plating decisions, I focus on creating restaurant criteria matrices, scoring the taste and environments of BBQ places and dessert cafés, mapping the favorite spots.

Kaiqi watching food being prepared.

Being a transportation planner isn’t just about maps, though; it’s about applying people skills, crafting complex criteria, and possessing a dedication to exploring the pulse of the city. Transportation planning is a puzzle-solving exercise where strategy unlocks the solutions. Food critiquing, similarly, is about finding that perfect combination of flavors. People need transportation, but they also need food! Both should be the best they can possibly be.

A Musical Interlude

Enter undercover colleague Sam McCormally. He has been orchestrating the urban ballet of buses and streets as a transportation planner, turning the daily commute into a well-choreographed dance. But come sundown, he unveils his secret life as a maestro of a different kind: one with a musical history.

In the past, he was a guitarist and singer in a band that the Washington City Paper characterized as “[infusing] its indie rock with an unmistakable folk twang.” He has also fronted a “pop-kissed indie-rock band” (thanks, WAMU) that even had its own video produced. Sam has continued on his musical journey in several roles: as a music teacher, co-writer and performer in a rock opera, and co-composer for a DC-area play.

Sam (left) posing for an official band picture.

Sam’s symphonic life helps him seamlessly integrate musical techniques into our transportation planning domain. How? His transit plans embody rhythmic patterns and harmonious arrangements to form instrumental assets for traveling throughout city grids.  Indeed, Sam’s secretive life helps turn transportation planning into an art form that also serves the people!

Our Secrets, Revealed

So now you know about the secret lives of two of Foursquare ITP’s transportation planners! Yet whether we’re writing about food, creating music, or doing something else entirely in our off-hours, we can’t help but infuse these interests into our planning decisions.

We endeavor to make every commute as ideal as possible and draw upon our own (now not-so-secret) experiences to help us do so. Join us on this journey and see how all the Foursquare ITP planners improve transportation options for everyone. Cheers to the ride!