May 19, 2017


Innovating in Public: Disruption and Risk in Public Transportation


1:40 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.


1605 Tilia, Room 1103, West Village


Public agencies like LA Metro, the nation’s third-largest public transportation agency, are not generally known for being at the leading edge of innovation. However, with rapid evolution of technology and new service models expanding within the transportation sector, public transit officials have never faced more challenges, or had more opportunities. Overcoming these threats and utilizing new tools is mission-critical for transportation officials working to ensure that cities and towns can provide high quality transportation options, along with the social, environmental, and economic benefits that they drive. LA Metro’s Office of Extraordinary Innovation is taking this head on by redefining the role of risk in the public agency context and seeking opportunities to disrupt existing mobility and business strategies to allow new and better models to emerge. This talk will explore the theory and practice of this approach, seeking to answer some initial questions about why and how public agencies can innovate, but will likely raise even more. Because it is only in embracing the uncertainty of experimentation, failure, and reiteration that we can hope to find truly new solutions.

Biographical Sketch

Colin F. Peppard is Manager for Outreach and Strategic Relationships with the Office of Extraordinary Innovation (OEI) at LA Metro, the nation’s third-largest public transit agency. Colin works with private sector stakeholders to develop partnerships to explore new models for delivering Metro’s capital program and utilizing emerging technologies to improve Metro’s service. He manages the agency’s industry-leading Unsolicited Proposal policy as a key innovation tools.

Previously, Mr. Peppard served as Senior Policy Advisor to United States Senator Thomas R. Carper, of Delaware, where he oversaw policy development and legislative strategy on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, with jurisdiction over federal transportation policy. He helped to negotiate two federal transportation bills, where he took a lead role in drafting several provisions to facilitate capital financing of public infrastructure, enhance system and environmental performance, and deploy innovating new technologies, among others.

Before working with Senator Carper, Colin was the Deputy Director of Federal Transportation Policy with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) where he focused on advancing mobility policies and projects with mutual that could deliver environmental benefits, in particular greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Colin has developed and run transportation policy programs for several other national NGOs, and is a graduate of the University of Virginia.

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