Hi & Welcome to my website.
I’m Rachel and I’m passionate about Cycling, Cities and Changing behaviours.
I love solving real problems: traffic congestion, road safety, obesity, mental illness and the cost of living.
I work with schools, businesses, hospitals, governments and tourism operators. We identify their biggest problems, we set precise goals, we create realistic and cost effective solutions and then we implement them one by one.
- Increasing walking to school from 38% of all trips to 92% at selected UK schools. What this really means is that we removed 200 cars from the streets around each primary school we worked with in Cornwall.
- I took my ‘Ready Steady Road Safety’ and ‘Finding Nemo’ school assemblies to 100 UK schools. Empowering children to walk to school or to ‘park and walk’ meant that UK councils did not have to spend millions of pounds in traffic calming studies and projects.
- Writing a ‘Tourism without Traffic’ publication for the UK Government and then delivering a series of training seminars for tourism operators and destinations. We empowered businesses. They increased their visitor numbers and sales whilst reducing traffic congestion, eliminating car parking issues and increased the number of people arriving by bus, boat, bicycle, train and on foot.
- My research for the Further Education Funding Council and Devon County Council was award winning. It allowed a fully funded partnership of transport operators, colleges and retail outlets to be formed. The group created products and promotions as affiliates of student public transport season tickets. What it really meant was that more students caught the bus to college which eliminated car parking chaos from college campuses.
- I developed the world’s first crowd solving bicycle map with the BMW Guggenheim Lab. Used by thousands of people in more than 40 cities around the world the tool allows everyday citizens to rate streets on how safe they are and their amenability to riding a bicycle. This tool has the potential to save Councils and Governments around the world billions of dollars in black spot and safety hazard identification.
When I’m not solving problems, I’m an eloquent speaker, a respected writer and blogger, a thinker and an internationally recognised thought leader.
I’ve been hand-picked to partner high profile brands:
- The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
- National Trust
- UK National Health Service
- Queensland Government art+place
- University of Queensland
- Within 2 years of entering the transport profession I was retained by the UK Government for 6 years as an advisor on three national transport expert panels; schools, businesses and tourist destinations.
’One of Australia’s brightest thinkers on the perpetual challenge of urban planning’ News Limited
‘An Emerging International Talent’ The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York
“Rachel’s dedication to the environment is inspiring and her passion for cycling is unmatched” TED Talks, New York
I’ve been in the media:
- The Economist, BBC TV Breakfast Show, Disney Playhouse Television, DW-TV ‘Agenda’ chat show, BBC Radio ‘Today’, BBC Breakfast, ABC National Radio ‘By Design’, ABC Digital ‘Sunday Spin’, Daily Express, Daily Mail, Springwise, Fast co, Guinness Book of Records, Sunday Mail U magazine, B-Mag, Map Magazine and ThisBigCity.
I’ve two TED talks
- Can we dream a New Australian Dream? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGoDBIGAmVY
- Who says building the impossible is impossible? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZCDBT5dEuY
I am enthusiastic about creating ideas which have the potential to change the way we move around where we live, that revolutionise how we construct transport infrastructure and which could change the way we look at waste – things like plastic and coke cans and see them as the minefield of the future. My vision for the future is that anyone will be able to safely ride a bicycle regardless of their age, gender, physical abilities, cycling skills and road safety awareness.
To achieve my vision I have 2 Passion Projects:
- My 1st dream is to build Cycling Super Highways; 7 metre wide bicycleways with 6 lanes for slow, medium and fast bicycle riders, and, completely separated from all parked and moving cars. When the Los Angeles Department of Transport said “for the bike to catch on we need a revolution in our bicycle infrastructure” they were right. If we really want riding a bicycle to be a central part of our lifestyle, our transport system and our cities we need an ‘infrastructure revolution’ and that’s why I developed my plans for Cycling Super Highways http://www.cyclingrachelsmith.com/
- My 2nd dream is a floating bikeway on the Sydney Harbour or on the Thames in London made out of waste plastic and cans. Let’s use our waste. David de Rothchild built his Plastiki boat using used plastic drinks bottles, Vertec build road bridges with waste plastic and in Kuranda, Australia benches in public places are made from old plastic milk bottles. I’d like us to innovate and build floating bicycle paths from waste plastic http://www.cyclingrachelsmith.com/media-articles/1722/
I’ve won awards:
- Shortlisted as a 2012 TED Global Fellow
- Winner 2008 AITPM Janet Brash Memorial Scholarship
- Winner 2003 CIHT BP International Road Safety Award
- Finalist 2004 International Walk to School Week Award
I’m the co-founder of 2 community groups:
- Lazy Sunday Cycle https://www.facebook.com/lazysundaycycle
- Brisbane’s biggest clothes swap https://www.facebook.com/events/671307699597872/671855809543061/?notif_t=plan_mall_activity or http://undressrunways.com/swap/
I support my industry. I’m a member of:
- Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation
- Australian Institute of Traffic Planning and Management
- Former president of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Transport Institute of Australasia
DDRC is my charity of choice.
- In 2001 I was involved in a very serious scuba diving incident. Strictly speaking and according to medical research and statistics I should be dead. Thanks to the incredible medical team at DDRC (Diving Diseases Research Centre) in Plymouth, Devon, UK http://www.ddrc.org/ and my feisty determination I am alive and in perfect health. Cheating death changes your perspective on life and definitely makes you seize every opportunity.
and finally… I’m buying nothing new for a year!
“It was a pleasure to have you participate in our Global Innovation Series. Your lecture was engaging, informative and one of the most interesting talks of the day. Thank you for contributing to the success of the event” Mashable, New York
“Rachel’s knowledge, ideas and approach were crucial. In particular her ability to successfully and imaginatively facilitate our most difficult break-out groups and to collate comments during the wrap-up stage” Doug Wheeler & Associates, Brisbane
“Rachel is highly committed to the needs of cyclists and pedestrians” Sunshine Coast Cycling Alliance, Queensland
“The reports prepared by Rachel were delivered on time and on budget. The quality exceeded our expectations” Queensland Urban Land Development Agency
“I just want to say again for the record how blown away I was by your clearly evident energy and constancy to purpose the whole time you were running your programs for the Lab in Berlin. And you probably don’t need me to tell you this, but your involvement in any sort of project could clearly only make it a better, more successful project. You have my full respect and heart-felt admiration” Joe Hatchiban, Bearpit Karaoke, Berlin
“I wanted to congratulate you on the interesting release of the Dynamic Connections crowdsourced map — this is precisely the type of data that we need to start understanding travel patterns and how to improve our bike networks in an urban area” University of California School of Technology
“First up a big thank you Amanda for organising Rachel Smith. She is wonderful, passionate talent, and her project really strikes a strong cord with our audience” Janne Ryan, By Design ABC Radio National
“Rachel you are a constant burst of inspiroimagination” Mara Bun, Green Cross Australia
“You’re an inspiration – thank you for all you do!” Rebecca Lehman
“Thanks for your vision Rachel. Truly you are inspiring. I so very much respect your willingness to act, to make simple, to lead!” Denise, Monkeysee Cycle Safety
“You are an inspiration. Let’s do some projects together” Gilbert Rochecouste, Founder of Village Well
“Your enthusiasm for your work and for life in general is so infectious – I think you are great” Sue Philbin, Traffic Planning Consultants Ltd
“That’s fantastic Rachel! You are a fantastic ambassador for cycling” Aaron Ball
“Your passion for your work resonated throughout the room and your involvement in the evening’s activities with our members was much appreciated. Again, we thank you for the important contribution you have made to our organisation and the positive impression that you have made on many of our members” FutureNet Queensland Committee
“… However, the highlight of our visit was a workshop with Rachel herself during which we were able to provide her with detailed feedback regarding many of the cycling and walking facilities planned for the MMTC. We found Rachel to be receptive and highly committed to the needs of cyclists and pedestrians. I would not hesitate to recommend her as a cycling facility planner” Damien Jones, SunCoast Cycling Alliance
“… As well as being highly qualified Rachel possesses excellent communication skills, putting her audience at ease while getting the facts down in a readable format. I would go on to say that as cycling advocates we often encounter blockages due to uniformed people, especially among government departments, but in Rachel’s case her obvious grasp of sustainability concepts made our job easy. We have no hesitation in recommending Rachel as a highly qualified, motivated and productive member of any sustainable transport team” John Stephen, SunCoast Cycling Alliance
“The judges chose this project for: its ability to improve the safety environment around the school gate, raising road safety awareness and skills amongst young people, its possible application to other similar school environments and its benefit of encouraging more children to walk to school” Louis Wheeler, Bitumen Manager, BP
“Hi Rachael. I’ve just read through your CV on Linkedin and am so overwhelmed by the depth your experiences and knowledge. You are an inspiration to mere mortals like myself. Well done and congratulations” Olinda
“And finally, Rachael Smith, you’re such an eloquent speaker and dreamer. I had a good cold look at the life I lead while you were talking and I was pleased to know that despite all of the factors that stop me dreaming big (over analysis being the biggest one), I am spending time teaching my children about limiting choices, delaying gratification and reward for effort. Mindfulness, empathy and authenticity go a long way in this house. But you’re right. Time is worth so much more to me than space or things. My New Australian Dream is for us all to think globally but act locally. To be present and mindful. To give time, not things” Caylie Jeffery
“Just wanted to say I think what you are doing is great. Very inspiring- love it. Happy cycling :)” Selina Paul
“Hi Rachel, I just wanted to thank you for joining the Light Rail conference and for taking the time to speak in the panel and deliver a presentation. Some comments on your presentation are: Entertaining human-interest perspective and Very interesting perspective” Jesse Peters, Conference Producer | Informa Australia