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TRC Alum at Work: Jonathan Maddison, Travel Training Coordinator, Ithaca, NY
- By Jordan Posner
As the Travel Training Coordinator at Way2Go, a program of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, Jonathan Maddison (MPA 2012), has the opportunity to apply his knowledge of transportation governance and transportation systems on a regular basis. As a Transportation graduate research assistant and a student of the Masters of Public Administration program, he worked with Drs. Richard Watts and Tom Macias studying the social construction and framing of tailpipe emissions in the media that led to a thesis of the same name. This research required him to synthesize a large quantity of research about transportation policymaking and how the public understands impacts of tailpipe emissions. “Participating in TRC seminars, transportation conferences and courses like “Critical Issues in Transportation” provided me with firm grasp of current issues in transportation and transportation governance” stated Maddison who was TRC’s UTC Student of the year in 2011.
The Way2Go mission is to transform our community's culture of transportation among users, providers and decision makers, so that everyone can meet their transportation needs in an equitable and environmentally sustainable way. Jonathan’s position requires him to operate as a hub among diverse stakeholders from health, transportation, human services, education, etc. With such an expansive scope Maddision credits the foundation of knowledge he gained at the TRC and at the Master of Public Administration program to help him hit the ground running.
When he was hired at Way2Go in June 2012 he was tasked with creating a network of human service agencies with the goal of professionalizing travel training services for individuals with disabilities, older adults and people with limited English proficiency. Travel training is an emerging service typically provided by transit providers, schools, or disability service agencies in larger urban areas and supporting a vision of a more inclusive and accessible transportation system. Jonathan worked with this network to submit a proposal to fund a 2-year pilot travel training program in Tompkins County which is currently being reviewed by the New York State Department of Transportation.
Meanwhile, he has taken the initiative to start offering travel training to community members. Jonathan reflected that “this experience has led me to become much more aware of the transportation barriers that are present in all communities that prevent people with low vision, people who use mobility aides or people with mobility impairments from fully participating and accessing communities.”
His other role at Way2Go is to encourage community members to adopt environmentally friendly modes of transportation. The program does this through media outreach and talking with community members at workshops and community events.
Most recently he participated in organizing a community-wide event called Streets Alive. More than 12 blocks in downtown Ithaca were closed to cars in order to celebrate walking, cycling and other forms of active transportation.
Moving forward, Jonathan plans to continue working directly with community members and, local agencies to help create an inclusive and environmentally sustainable transportation system. This year he hopes to fully fund, and implement a two year travel training pilot program in Tompkins County.