Katie Knapp

With her brothers (a/k/a Chimi’s orthodontists) at a recent family wedding.

Katie Knapp
Transportation & Mobility Coordinator
City of Evanston, Illinois

Challenge

Twenty percent of Evanston’s population of 75,000 will be 65 years of age or older by 2020. Although the city had a taxicab coupon system for older adults, up to a quarter of its older adults and residents with disabilities still couldn’t get to their destinations because of physical or financial barriers. Moreover, doctor’s appointments and other services are often in neighboring communities to which the coupons didn’t apply.

Solution

In 2013, the city created an Age-Friendly Evanston task force, which developed a 2016 plan calling for a connected inter-city transportation network. Following recommendations from the task force, the city secured a federal grant under the “Transit Planning 4 All” program to assess coordination with transportation services from Chicago (12 miles south of Evanston) like the Chicago Transit Authority (fixed rail and bus) and the Metra rail for commuters, plus suburban bus services, ADA paratransit providers, and private shuttles like one operated by Northwestern University.

The senior taxicab service was expanded in 2016 to include service across city boundaries from Evanston to Skokie, Lincolnwood, and Wilmette. This May, the city also launched a pilot program in partnership with the Council for Jewish Elderly, a local non-profit with wheel-chair accessible vans and buses and experienced drivers that could expand cab voucher service across community boundaries. Each month ridership increases, Katie says, though it’s still a small share of total riders. The partnership with CJE added WAV vans and buses to the Evanston service portfolio.

The current pilot ends in October, but the city is already looking at developing a way to replace paper vouchers with swipe cards that could be reloaded and in the future tied into the existing regional transportation card system or local library system.

Katie’s Job

Day-to-day and long-term coordination with local and regional transportation service providers and operators. Also, works with engineers to implement transit programs like the recently expanded Divvy bike-share program.

Katie’s Background

Born and raised in Kalamazoo in the fruit-belt of Michigan (the north produces cherries; the middle peaches; the south, blueberries and grapes). BA in environmental studies from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (’12); masters of urban and regional planning also from Michigan (’14). Recently married and has one 5-month-old Airedale puppy, Chimichurri, and one fish, Churro. (Chimi is just starting to lose her teeth, so it’s helpful that Katie’s brothers are both orthodontists.)

Startling Fact

Hasn’t owned a car in 10 years, walks, bikes and uses public transit everywhere she goes.

Connect with Katie!

kknapp@cityofevanston.org

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