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DEI Chats: WCX to tackle the Future of Mobility and How to Achieve Equitable Mobility for All

Posted: March 24, 2022

When it comes to the future of mobility, these women are making a CASE for the transformative power of technology to empower equitable access to transportation for all.

SAE International will host a women-led panel discussing connected, automated, shared, and electrified (CASE) technologies and the power they have to transform mobility as part of WCX, April 5-7, 2022, in Detroit, Michigan.

The panel discussion will be moderated by Toyota Motor North America’s Colleen Casey, featuring Laura Demeo Chace, ITS America; Valerie Lefler, Feonix – Mobility Rising; and Ellen Partridge, Shared Use Mobility Center. Alisyn Malek of Mae Mobility Inc. will set the stage for the discussion with a brief keynote address titled How a CASE future can Transform Mobility for All.

“WCX is an important stage for conversations around diversity, equity and inclusion because it is a place we can gather. Once we are together, we can identify actionable steps as we aim to increase the diversity, equity and inclusion of SAE member organizations and work to ensure diverse groups are designing and developing our CASE future.” Casey said.  “Secondly, we can also identify actionable steps to help make the promise of a CASE future equitable for all communities. While we could do these independent of a gathering like WCX, having an opportunity to be together with other like-minded organizations and people really makes the synergy needed to help us push things further than we might otherwise.”

The women bring unique perspectives from personal experience.

“I think it’s really important to have this panel led by women,” Chace said. “Women are a minority in the industry – we only  make up about 15 percent of the transportation workforce. I was excited when Colleen asked me to be a part of this because I think it’s a really important conversation.”

Having these diverse viewpoints allows innovation to come through and combat some of the challenges in mobility, included limited access to transportation, which studies have shown disproportionately affect women and people of color. An approach that prioritizes the users while making use of these new and emerging technologies can improve safety, sustainability, and access issues these communities face.

“Amid the rush to adopt new technology, it is essential not to lose sight of the human element,” Casey said. “Following the core Toyota philosophies of acting for others and showing respect for people, Toyota’s ‘human-centric’ approach— key to Toyota Motor North America R&D efforts— aims to help innovations improve safety and benefit society. As a result, sometimes we use the acronym ‘CHASE’ rather than ‘CASE’ to emphasize this.”

Casey outlined two dimensions—an internal and external dimension—where this technology can have the greatest impact. Internally, she noted, involves giving a voice to diverse perspectives in the industry to understand a modern set of consumer and community segments. Externally, this means delivering CASE products and services that increase quality of transportation in under-resourced communities.

To make this future a reality, there is a need for information sharing across industry and a willingness to come together to find the best solutions. During the panel, the women will address potential uses of these technologies and the positive effect data sharing can have in shaping a more equitable future.

“Everyone talks about data, and the importance of data and data sharing,” Chace said. “When we talk about challenges, that’s something I do see as a challenge. For these technologies and services to create the equity, safety, climate, and access benefits we want, we need to use data in a way that allows us to make better decisions.”

Want to learn more about the equitable transportation revolution and how you can be a part of it? Join the discussion during the panel at WCX, April 5-7, in Detroit, Michigan. Register now.