About

MelissaPlautAs a writer and an urban planner, I focus on the impact of innovative technologies on labor, transportation, and accessibility. My expertise centers on technologies that offer rides on demand as well as emerging technologies that are concerned with car-sharing and bike-sharing (such as Car2Go, CitiBike, and, of course, Uber). I also work to advocate for increased accessibility to public and private transportation modes for people with disabilities, older adults, parents with small children, and other riders who may not be able to use stairs.

I first became interested in urban planning and policy in 2004 when I became a NYC yellow taxi driver – an experience I documented in a memoir, Hack, published by Villard/Random House in 2007. From 2012 to 2014, I was the Director of Driver Operations at the on-demand taxi app Hailo, where I engaged in rigorous advocacy efforts to get New York City’s first “e-hail” pilot program passed. Most recently, I was a Program Analyst at TransitCenter, a research and advocacy organization that works to improve public transportation and urban mobility in the United States.

I have lectured and published widely on taxi service in New York, including several op-eds in the New York Times arguing for improvements to the industry. My writing has also appeared in USA Today, The Daily NewsThe Huffington Post, Bust Magazine, The San Diego Reader, and Girls Like Us Lesbian Quarterly. I’ve also written and recorded radio stories for NPR’s “All Things Considered” and “Weekend America.”

I have a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from Hunter College.

In addition to my other projects, I’m also the creator of the humor blog, Voicemails From A Jewish Motherwhere I upload and chronicle the messages my mother has left me over the years.

I currently live in Eatonton, Georgia.

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