Graduate Degree:Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Undergraduate Degree:Johns Hopkins
Area of Interest:Transportation Issues
Mentors:Paul Scapicchio, Senior Vice President at ML Strategies and Devin Quirk, Boston About Results Program
Supervisor:Josh Robin, Director of Innovation and Charles Planck, Senior Director of Innovations
Project Description:As a Rappaport Public Policy Doctoral Fellow at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Candy conducted a significant amount of research to inform the MBTA’s Mobile Strategy. Transit riders in Boston are rapidly adopting smartphones, which can be used to provide transit information and, in the future, to pay transit fares. Her summer research gauged the customer perspective for using mobile technologies on the Commuter Rail. In June, she led an on-board survey on two Commuter Rail lines - the Worcester and Newburyport/Rockport - to assess adoption of real-time information available on smartphone applications (http://www.mbta.com/rider_tools/apps/) and forecast demand for an upcoming Mobile Ticketing pilot program (http://www.mbta.com/fares_and_passes/passes/MobileTicketing/). Candy also helped lead a series of focus groups with Commuter Rail riders for the Mobile Ticketing project, which was featured in the Metro newspaper (http://www.metro.us/boston/boston/article/1148071--a-smarter-way-to-pay). Her research has informed the MBTA’s mobile strategy and helped to promote implementation of innovative technologies that will be used by transit riders in Boston.
Candy says that the Rappaport Public Policy Fellowship gave me the invaluable opportunity to gain hands-on experience at a public agency in Boston. By working with public officials this summer, I had a behind-the-screens look at how a major public agency runs on a daily basis. Moreover, the fellowship provided me the financial and institutional support to promote my ideas for improving the transit system in Boston. I was able to get involved with projects I am passionate about, provide input, and directly influence their outcomes. Being a Rappaport Public Policy Fellow was an enriching experience, and I would encourage other graduate students who want to get involved in the public sector to apply for this unique fellowship.