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The Future of Mobility in Santa Monica | A TechFire Panel Discussion


Sunday, November 10, 2019 from 2:30 PM to 4:30 PM (PST)

The Future of Mobility in Santa Monica | A TechFire...

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TechFire Presents:

The Future of Mobility in Santa Monica:

Equitable, Sustainable Transportation Options that Tackle the Climate Crisis

Join us for a discussion on the future of mobility in Santa Monica, and on the vitally important role that sustainable and equitable transportation options play for tackling the climate crisis, addressing equity issues, and improving mobility and quality of life for all.

Santa Monica already leads the region in so many ways on mobility issues -- but as Santa Monica's Climate Action & Adaptation Plan notes there is still much more progress to be made. Join us for what promises to be an enlightening, wide-ranging, and fun discussion as we think big and look to the future of what's possible.



  • Rick Cole, City of Santa Monica (City Manager)
  • Douglas Curl, Spin  (Regional General Manager - West)
  • Robert J. Lempert, RAND Corporation (Director, Frederick S. Pardee Center for Longer Range Global Policy and the Future Human Condition; Principal Researcher; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School)
  • Hilary Norton, California Transportation Commission (Commissioner); FAST (Fixing Angelenos Stuck in Traffic) / FASTLinkDTLA (and Executive Director)
  • Cynthia Rose, Santa Monica Spoke (Director)
  • MODERATOR: David Murphy, TechFire (Founder/CEO)


Just a few of the themes to be addressed:

  • expanding protected bike lanes: Santa Monica already has some protected bike lanes in limited locations, but their spread pales in comparison to green bike lanes, which are great but offer far less protection
  • positioning Santa Monica to take advantage of a Green New Deal: strategies for getting the extension of the Metro Purple Line ("D Line") to Downtown Santa Monica in the pipeline to take advantage of a possible federal Green New Deal down the line in the future
  • what's next for scooters and micromobility more broadly in Santa Monica: lessons from the Shared Mobility Pilot Program as the City prepares for the next permit program in 2020
  • autonomous vehicles: how will the change Santa Monica, and how do they help or hurt environmental and equity issues?
  • the Big Blue Bus battery-electric bus pilot
  • lessons from other cities around the world
  • mobility as a human right: ways to further address equity issues relating to mobility (from micromobility to transit to EV carsharing, and beyond)
  • an update on next steps on implementing the transportation components of Santa Monica's Climate Action & Adaptation Plan, and the latest on the work of the Task Force on the Environment and Subcommittee on the Electric Vehicles (including the  Electric Vehicle Action Plan)
  • and more!

Panelist Biographies:

Rick Cole, City of Santa Monica (City Manager)
Rick Cole has served as City Manager of Santa Monica since June 2015. During his tenure, he has spearheaded work on the City Council’s five Strategic Goals: converting the Santa Monica Airport to parkland; forging a new model of mobility; taking regional leadership on homelessness; fostering an inclusive and diverse community; and promoting wellbeing so that residents Learn & Thrive.

Rick has been recognized as one of “America's Public Officials of the Year” by Governing Magazine and one of the "Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers" by Government Technology Magazine. He has won awards for municipal management excellence from the American Society of Public Administrators and the Municipal Management Association of Southern California, as well as for urban planning leadership from the Congress for the New Urbanism.

Prior to coming to Santa Monica, Rick served as Deputy Mayor for Budget and Innovation for the City of Los Angeles where he was responsible for a budget of $8.6 billion and oversaw five city departments. Rick also spent 15 years as City Manager of two Southern California cities, Ventura and Azusa. He served 12 years in elective office in his hometown of Pasadena, California, including as deputy mayor from 1990 to 1992 and as mayor of Pasadena from 1992 to 1994.

Rick received a degree in American Studies from Occidental College in 1978 and earned a Master's Degree in Journalism from Columbia University in 1979.


Douglas Curl, Spin (Regional General Manager - West)
Douglas Curl is Spin’s Regional General Manager for the Western United States. Spin provides shared electric scooters for cities and campuses. Spin has had more than a million rides across 62 cities (including Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Francisco, and San Jose) and 17 campuses. Prior to his current role across the entire West, Douglas was Spin's General Manager in Los Angeles.

In November 2018, Spin was acquired by Ford, which will continue to operate Spin as a standalone business within Ford Smart Mobility, poised to expand aggressively. Founded in San Francisco in 2016, Spin has launched dockless mobility systems in cities and campuses around the US. Spin’s core team is comprised of engineers, designers, operators, lawyers, and public policy makers with experience from Y Combinator, Uber, Lyft and other technology companies.

Formerly with Tesla, Doug is also an early stage tech investor and advisor (Vantage Robotics, Hyper Sciences, NowRx).



Robert J. Lempert, RAND Corporation (Director, Frederick S. Pardee Center for Longer Range Global Policy and the Future Human Condition; Principal Researcher; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School)
Robert Lempert is a principal researcher at the RAND Corporation and Director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for Longer Range Global Policy and the Future Human Condition. His research focuses on risk management and decision-making under conditions of deep uncertainty, with an emphasis on climate change, energy, and the environment.

Lempert is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a chapter lead for the US National Climate Assessment and for the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He was the Inaugural EADS Distinguished Visitor in Energy and Environment at the American Academy in Berlin and the inaugural president of the Society for Decision Making Under Deep Uncertainty.

A professor of policy analysis in the Pardee RAND Graduate School, Lempert is an author of the book Shaping the Next One Hundred Years: New Methods for Quantitative, Longer-Term Policy Analysis.

Lempert received his Ph.D. in applied physics and S.M. in applied physics and science policy from Harvard University.

Hilary Norton, California Transportation Commission (Commissioner); FAST (Fixing Angelenos Stuck in Traffic) / FASTLinkDTLA (and Executive Director)
Hilary Norton brings over 28 years of experience in transportation and community development to her newly appointed role as California Transportation Commission (CTC) Commissioner. As founding Executive Director of FAST (Fixing Angelenos Stuck in Traffic), Norton has mobilized a diverse coalition of business, labor, civic groups, educational institutions and transit organizations to support policy and infrastructure improvements to LA’s mobility, livability and economic prosperity. FAST’s major initiatives include: 1) FASTLinkDTLA – a new Transportation Management Organization (TMO) for Downtown LA, which operates one of the first ever in LA County micro-transit systems which connects travelers through the flexLA multi-mobility app, and connecting new on-demand wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAV), transit, vanpools, carpools, scooters, bike share, biking and walking; 2) Mobility Hubs – carshare, bikeshare, bike parking, EV charging and traveler services at transit stations, job and education centers; 3) comprehensive arterial improvements to improve travel time, encourage mode shift, and promote safety and transit connectivity; 4) Metro ExpressLanes implementation throughout LA County, creating the Metro ExpressLanes Business Roundtable to support the pilot corridors and expand into a network; 5) Expanding LA County’s bus rapid transit (BRT) network; and 6) Sixth Street Viaduct, Sixth Street Park and Arts District Station – which is the largest bridge reconstruction project in LA’s history, adding bicycle and pedestrian lanes, and connections to the LA River and the Metro Red/Purple Line.

Norton served as 2018 chairwoman of the Los Angeles County Business Federation (BizFed), and is on the Board of Directors of the Central City Association. She co-chairs the Transportation Committees for BizFed, the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and the Los Angeles Business Council. Norton also served as the Business Representative on LA County Metro’s Policy Advisory Committee and was a member of the Advisory Boards for Metro’s Office of Extraordinary Innovation and Metro’s Next Gen Bus Study. Norton is a member of SCAG’s GLUE Council and its TDM Working Group. Norton holds a Bachelor of Arts from Wellesley College and a Master in Public Policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Cynthia Rose, Santa Monica Spoke (Director) & California Bicycle Coalition (CalBike) (Board Chair)
Cynthia Rose is co-founder & Director of Santa Monica Spoke, a local chapter of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC), and is currently Chair of the Board of the California Bicycle Coalition (CalBike).

Santa Monica Spoke is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to improving walking, biking and healthy active transportation in the City of Santa Monica, and to making Santa Monica more sustainable, and a better place to live, walk, bike, work and play. Santa Monica Spoke advocates the implementation of Complete Streets Policies that support and protect all users, (pedestrians & people on bikes) and the use of public transit and shared mobility options to promote fewer single car trips for a healthier, safer, more sustainable environment for the community at large.

She has been a primary catalyst in the vision and creation of LACBC’s Local Chapters program. Cynthia is a League Certified Instructor with the League of American Bicyclists, teaches Traffic Skills Cycling Classes throughout Los Angeles County as well as coordinating Safe Routes to School programing in the City of Santa Monica.

She is a strong and committed advocate for improved pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure and Complete Streets Policies at the local, state and national levels. Living a nearly car-free lifestyle she loves to be in her community garden where she grows organic heirloom vegetable and fruit or off on a bicycle adventure or just enjoying the everyday ride.




Sunday, November 10, 2019 

2:30 pm: doors open

3–4:30 pm: panel discussion



Santa Monica Public Library (Main Library)
Multipurpose Room (2nd Floor)
601 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

This program is not sponsored by the Santa Monica Public Library; it is organized by TechFire, which was founded in Santa Monica in 2013 and has organized 50 events with speakers ranging from a former Santa Monica Mayor, to a former US Secretary of Transportation. View photos from past events and a history of TechFire (PDF).


Presenting Sponsor:


Special thanks to our presenting sponsor, Spin.


The Climate - Transportation Link: 

The following graphic is from Santa Monica's Climate Action & Adaptation Plan:

 Santa Monica Climate Action Plan - transportation goals

Have questions about The Future of Mobility in Santa Monica | A TechFire Panel Discussion? Contact TechFire

When & Where

Santa Monica Public Library - Main Library - Multipurpose Room (2nd Floor)
601 Santa Monica Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Sunday, November 10, 2019 from 2:30 PM to 4:30 PM (PST)

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TechFire organizes tech conferences and fireside chats with titans of tech. Visit us at to learn more.

ABOUT TECHFIRE: TechFire is a leading producer of tech conferences and events, known for attracting high-profile titans of tech from Silicon Valley and beyond to come speak in the Los Angeles region. TechFire's events have been featured in Techmeme's list of nationally significant tech conferences and on national television on C-SPAN. Our 40+ past events have featured speakers such as VCs from Greylock, CRV, Kleiner Perkins, Lightspeed, First Round, and Upfront, and founders/CEOs from HotelTonight,, Dollar Shave Club, and many more. Learn more at

Follow TechFire Founder/CEO David Murphy on Twitter at @DavidCMurphy

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