Local author and former Queen Anne’s County government official Paul Comfort.
“The Future of Public Transportation” (2020) is Paul Comfort’s third book written and the inspiration for the interviews that make-up “Conversations on Equity and Inclusion in Public Transportation” (2022) set for publication in October. This book dives a little bit more deeply into current public transit practices.
In “Full Throttle: Living Life With No Regrets” (2018),
“Public Transportation: From Tom Thumb Railroad to Hyperloop and Beyond” (2017), is Paul Comfort’s first published book on public transportation, a children’s book that tells the story of
Local author and former Queen Anne’s County government official Paul Comfort.
“The Future of Public Transportation” (2020) is Paul Comfort’s third book written and the inspiration for the interviews that make-up “Conversations on Equity and Inclusion in Public Transportation” (2022) set for publication in October. This book dives a little bit more deeply into current public transit practices.
In “Full Throttle: Living Life With No Regrets” (2018),
“Public Transportation: From Tom Thumb Railroad to Hyperloop and Beyond” (2017), is Paul Comfort’s first published book on public transportation, a children’s book that tells the story of
STEVENSVILLE — With two books written on the topic of public transportation already published — ”The Future of Public Transportation” (2020) and “Public Transportation: From Tom Thumb Railroad to Hyperloop and Beyond” (Children’s Book 2017) — Kent Island native and former Queen Anne’s County Commissioner Paul Comfort is set to release his third book “Conversations of Equity and Inclusion in Public Transportation” in October of this year.
Comfort always had an interest in public transportation and the local government has inspired him to give back to the community.
In 1986, when he was only a junior at University of Maryland Baltimore County, he ran for county commissioners office. Though he lost, he entered the Queen Anne’s County Department of Aging as the county’s first Transportation Coordinator.
Later, in 2014, he would be elected to serve as county commissioner, and in his six months serving District 1, Comfort succeeded in accomplishing all six of his campaign goals before being appointed Chief Executive Officer for the Maryland Department of Transportation Authority for the Baltimore area upon Governor Larry Hogan’s first election into office.
There he oversaw the bus, metro subway light rail, and paratransit systems in Baltimore and helped develop the Purple Line, the nation’s largest current Public Private Partnership project.
Now, Comfort is working in the private sector again working as a SVP & Chief Customer Officer for Modaxo, a global collective of technology companies passionate about changing the face of public transportation, according to their website.
His new book, according to Comfort, is an extension of “The Future of Public Transportation” (2020) where he “examines the transformations coming this decade of the 2020’s to North American and global cities and the public transportation systems that serve them allowing readers to become more informed and ready for these changes.”
Comfort explains that conversations that surround public transportation and its uses have shifted from thinking about getting commuters in out of cities to how everyone can access public transportation after the start of the pandemic when only essential workers were needed and were permitted to use public transportation.
“It was a good chance for the transportation agencies to reflect because up until then, our goal for public transit was getting people to ride,” he said.
During his time with the Queen Anne’s County Department of Aging, Comfort started the countywide bus system.
Comfort said that to reach this goal of accessibility to public transit, most cities across the nation are piloting or experimenting with systems of “micro-transit” that provide on-demand transit similar to Uber Pool where citizens can order a car to take them somewhere (work or errands) with multiple stops, picking up multiple people. These systems would be for not just for those with disabilities, but for those with “diversibilies” — a term that embraces the uniqueness and potential in every human being, disabled or non-disabled.
“The transit systems decided to focus on people who didn’t have mobility or access to mobility,” he explained. “[public transportation] is not just about getting commuters in and out of the city, now they’re about ensuring everybody has access to life’s opportunities.”
In his 2022 book, he focuses on the different accessibility citizens have to public transportation in rural areas versus urban and urban-located areas. He interviews twenty of the country’s leading transportation executives and asked what they are doing now that’s different form they’re operations three years ago.
Comfort used one of his interviews with Julie Tim, Richmond’s Chief Executive Officer for their GRTC Transit System, to exemplify that changes are small like adding more bus shelters in rural regions to replace signs that submit rural riders to inclement weather.
Other general improvements he has seen include adding more frequent bus routes during non-peak usage time to underserved communities; however he said that there is a big trend to add on-demand transit to “transit deserts.”
“I am a people person; I enjoy meeting people, so I really enjoy the conversations [I have] with people [about this topic],” Comfort said.
Comfort will be attending a book launch/signing in Seattle, WA in October to celebrate the launch of the book followed by seven trips to talk about it globally.
“Conversations on Equity and Inclusion in Public Transportation” will be available for purchase in ebook and physical copies on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop, and other retailers in October.
“My personal goal for my life is to make an impact and I chose local transportation and local government as the way to do that,” Comfort said. “Public transportation is changing for the better.”
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