2021 YPT International Board of Advisors Spotlight: Audrey Wennink

Audrey Wennink

Director of Transportation
Metropolitan Planning Council

Bachelor of Arts, English and Spanish  |  Colby College

Master of Urban Planning and Policy  |  University of Illinois – Chicago

Years of Professional Experience  |   20

Current City  |  Chicago, IL

Hometown  |  Glastonbury, CT

Favorite Mode of Transportation  |  Walking

Interests & Hobbies  |  Photography, Travel, Knitting

Fun Fact     |

During COVID, I walked a 3-mile loop every morning for the entire year before starting my workday at home….for a couple weeks in January when we got a lot of snow, I did the loop on cross country skis.

Please describe your current role within the transportation industry/community.

I work for a nonprofit policy and advocacy organization. We seek to create a more equitable, sustainable and prosperous Chicago region by working on a range of intersectional planning issues.

How did you get started in your career and what led you to your current role?

After grad school, I worked for a transportation planning consulting firm for more than a decade. I was excited to move into my current role because I am now able to work with partners to identify needed changes to our region’s transportation policies, conduct original research to define the issues, shape the narrative, and advocate for change.

What motivates you as a person and as a professional?

I am very motivated to create a transportation system that works for people of all ages and abilities. Improving walkability is a huge opportunity for improving quality of life in communities, improving public health and safety, and addressing climate change.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

We are an advocacy organization, so we do not have direct control over the systems and policies we seek to change – so that requires partnerships and determination.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Being able to change the conversation about transportation to be less about auto speed and distance, and more about livability, sustainability, and inclusivity is very rewarding. I want everyone to have safe, affordable, healthy transportation choices.

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