My personal case for safe and joyful transportation

Introducing our data storytelling intern, Angela Urban

Hi! I’m the data storyteller intern at Mobility Lab and a civil engineering student at the University of Pittsburgh. Over the next few months, I’ll be reporting back with stories about ongoing research in Arlington and beyond.

I’m interested in transportation, since I commute by bike, bike for fun, fix bikes for fun, use public transit as needed, get car rides from family and friends if we are going places together, and walk to near-to-home locations for a nice change of pace. I also have a particular interest in pushing sustainable transportation options forward, after getting hit by a distracted driver in 2016.

The story is such: My sister and I are biking for fun one night, with our bike lights on. The driver behind us is texting, and fails to see our lights. The driver behind us runs over me, runs into my sister, hits a parked car, then stops. A nurse who happened to be walking by calls the police and an ambulance, a crane pulls the SUV off me, and I get taken to the hospital. My sister’s wrist is broken, and I am in a coma for a month. The driver gets a negligent driving citation instead of a criminal case because I didn’t die.

I survived a broken femur, fractured ankle, broken jaw, lung contusion, and traumatic brain injury. The coma was not medically induced. Doctors said that the percentage likelihood of an adult surviving what I went through was in the single digits. My parents and my sister were right beside me this whole time. My parents flew back, as soon as they heard what happened, from a family visit in Hungary that they had just started a couple of days before the crash.

After three weeks, I started to wake up. I don’t remember this because I couldn’t remember beyond a couple of hours. Over the next month, my memory slowly built back up, as I recovered in the Rehabilitation Unit of a hospital, and learned how to walk again. I continued to recover at home with my parents for the next month, and went to outpatient therapy. Then I started school again, and still passed my classes with flying colors.

After all that, I’m still riding my bike through the streets whenever I can, and you better believe I am motivated to make a change in transportation. So, after connecting the dots directing me towards transportation engineering (bike commuter, biker-for-fun, dangerous roads), I focused on transportation engineering as a sub-unit of civil engineering, and sang out of joy that I chose the right major.

The dream I had created for myself: To make transportation a joy, not a drag of sitting in rush hour alone. To make all forms of transport easily accessible, safe, practical, and affordable. To have everyone feel comfortable with their mode of transportation, with its time commitment, consistency, and flexibility.

Thus, I came to Mobility Lab to pursue my dream of promoting sustainable transportation through TDM, and here I am, storytelling. I brought my trusty bicycle steed, Rusty, to take me through the streets whenever I’m not writing. Keep an eye out in the next few months for more stories from me.

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2 Comment(s)


Fabulous. Inspiring. Important.


Angela your point is valid. With the level of knowledge & funding available in our society, there should be zero accident tolerance.

Dream big and design top down and you should achieve your goal.



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