“I am a transport geek.”
As a General Manager with Trapeze Group in the UK, Lucy Naylor can’t get enough of transportation data, development strategy and the on-the-ground logistics of mass transit. She heads up some of the most advanced software implementations for intelligent transportation systems in the world.
In other words, it’s a good fit. Transportation is the fortunate recipient of her strong will and roll-up-the-sleeves work ethic.
“Even today, I could run a bus service,” she says of a career path started as a transport services co-ordinator at Sheffield Community Transportation in South Yorkshire, England.
Now she’s based in a small village near Manchester where she took up gardening during the pandemic lockdown and grew an amazing wildflower border around her garden that became a haven for bees. This while juggling the demands of a new baby.
“So, at 22, I was responsible for everything from buying vehicles to recruiting drivers,” Lucy says. “I was scheduling the routes, which I was doing on paper to start. I was taking all the bookings, generally little old ladies who would either be lovely or shout at you a lot. I did everything for two and half years. I don’t think you could have a better grounding in this industry.”
She considered becoming a property surveyor, but realized that she didn’t have the drawing skills, so she quickly pivoted to urban geography studies which struck a chord. She learned about everything from African politics to transportation and socio-economic mapping, and decided to branch out into transportation.
“My dissertation for my degree was on transport. I did a network design and interviewed transport providers,” she says.
Coincidentally, when she was job-hunting after graduation, she saw an ad for a transport coordinator with one of the organizations she’d interviewed, Sheffield Community Transportation. They offered her the job on the spot and made an indelible mark on her own career trajectory.
She credits her boss as ahead of his time, with a vision to make transportation truly accessible: “Any route that wasn’t going to make a lot of money, he would get the funding and put on a new route so long as there was a viable community purpose behind it,” she says.
“He really pushed the boundaries in terms of putting in those semi-flex routes and all of the things we still talk about today as being novel. He was doing it back in 2003.”
It was her drive to be at the forefront of the industry that eventually brought Lucy to Modaxo. “I came from a client, so I’m one of those rare beasts where we’ve recruited from a client,” she says, explaining that her first intro to Trapeze was the software training for her Sheffield bus company.
“I entered the training and met a couple of Trapeze people and didn’t have the foggiest what was going on. Nobody in my organization at the time was really computer literate so everyone stepped back, and I was kind of the last person standing and became responsible for the implementation,” she says, recalling this trial by fire.
She even recruited some of her friends to help get the route data inputs completed on the weekend while still fulfilling her daily work responsibilities. And when the new system eventually went live, she became the go-to for leading software integration for other affiliated bus companies.
Then Trapeze came calling and invited Lucy to work directly with the company. More than 15 years later, she’s more of a transportation guru than geek.
“I think getting people around should be exciting. It should be clean and straightforward and easy to understand. I think our role is to make it understandable. It sounds so basic. Every app we deliver, every bit of data, makes it a better process and makes peoples’ lives better.”