Episode 79 - Improving Mobility Access for All: Transportation Innovation Starts in Pittsburgh

Motorists are only one mode of travel on the streets of a city. Pittsburgh is an innovation testbed for the next generation of technologies and policies to harmonize roadways for pedestrians, bicycles, autonomous vehicles and micromobility.

In a final interview before leaving her role as the inaugural director of the City of Pittsburgh’s Dept. of Mobility and Infrastructure, Karina Ricks states: “Pittsburgh has an important role to play — it’s small enough to get things done, but big enough so it matters when we do.” 

Ricks talks about the Move PGH launch that addresses viability for underserved areas, cost concerns, fear of the unknown and more. She discusses the city’s audacious 2070 Mobility Vision Plan that lays the groundwork for addressing climate change, connecting communities and creating resilient mobility for all.

And you'll want to check out Pittsburgh's new music video featuring local artist, Benji.

Meet Our Guest

Director, Department of Mobility and Infrastructure, City of Pittsburgh

Karina Ricks was the City of Pittsburgh’s first Director of Mobility and Infrastructure. Brought on by Mayor Bill Peduto, she established the Department around the mission to “provide the physical mobility necessary for the economic and social mobility of all Pittsburghers.” In this role, Karina has worked to modernize nineteenth infrastructure to support the needs and ambitions of a twenty-first century city.

Prior to joining the Peduto Administration, Karina established the Mid-Atlantic office of Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates where she was Principal and Multimodal Practice Area Lead. Karina served the City of Washington, DC for over a decade as the Director of Transportation Planning, Great Streets Manager, and Transit-Oriented Development Coordinator at various times in her time with the city. She has worked at the federal level at the EPA and internationally as a Peace Corps volunteer and Fulbright Fellow.

Karina is a graduate of Cornell and Michigan State Universities; the mother of two zesty adolescents, owner of a dog who relishes COVID-induced work-from-home and housemate to a cat that is happy we are returning to work!




Our Host


Innovation Strategist & Co-Founder, Brulte & Company

Grayson Brulte is an autonomous mobility advisor and consultant who provides strategic counsel and political insights to help clients navigate what’s next.

As an SAE strategic partner since 2017, Grayson brings his in-depth industry knowledge to host SAE Tomorrow Today. His unique perspective factors in economics, politics and technology into one-of-kind weekly conversations with innovators changing mobility and its impact on society.

Grayson is a thought-leader who regularly provides insights to publications including Bloomberg, Reuters, The Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Hollywood Reporter and Forbes. His written opinions and insights have been featured by organizations including the Consumer Technology Association in presentations to the Federal Trade Commission.

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