Government

Darian Nagle-Gamm shifts gears to lead Iowa City transportation department

She took helm of the city department earlier this year

Darian Nagle-Gamm, photographed Thursday next to one of the new city buses in Iowa City, said the transportation department seemed like a perfect fit. “When this opportunity came up I thought it would be really exciting and different to work in the transportation field, but from an operations side. It's sort of the same thing, but from a different angle,” she said. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Darian Nagle-Gamm, photographed Thursday next to one of the new city buses in Iowa City, said the transportation department seemed like a perfect fit. “When this opportunity came up I thought it would be really exciting and different to work in the transportation field, but from an operations side. It's sort of the same thing, but from a different angle,” she said. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Darian Nagle-Gamm long has had a passion for cycling, but maybe a bit more than most folks.

“I’ve always been interested in transportation and how we all get around town to jobs, to go shopping, how we move around the community,” said Nagle-Gamm, Iowa City’s director of transportation services.

After about eight years with MCI WorldCom in Iowa City, Nagle-Gamm went back to school and in 2006 received a degree in geography from the University of Iowa. Two years later, she had a master’s degree in urban planning.

“It's really remarkable what happens on a daily basis just to make sure that service is provided and it's on time and we get folks where they need to go."

- Darian Nagle-Gamm

Iowa City director of transportation services

Nagle-Gamm spent the next decade with the Metropolitan Planning Organization of Johnson County, most recently as a senior transportation engineering planner where she had a dual role of planning and traffic engineering.

In February, Nagle-Gamm, 41, took the helm of Iowa City’s transportation services department.

“When this opportunity came up I thought it would be really exciting and different to work in the transportation field, but from an operations side. It’s sort of the same thing, but from a different angle,” she said.

Nagle-Gamm said Iowa City — a community that strives to offer multiple modes of transportation, from walking and bicycling to riding buses and sing transport network companies like Uber and Lyft — was the perfect fit.

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In addition to long-term planning, Nagle-Gamm said she also now has a newfound appreciation for everything that goes into operating a transit system.

“It’s really remarkable what happens on a daily basis just to make sure that service is provided and it’s on time and we get folks where they need to go,” she said.

Looking down the road, Nagle-Gamm said the city soon hopes to embark on a comprehensive review of its transit system, which hasn’t taken place in decades.

Bus routes, fare prices, service areas and potential improvements all will be explored.

While the hope is that study will help local services improve, Nagle-Gamm said one of the biggest challenges is trying to address all residents’ needs on limited funds.

“We can do so much, but we can’t provide ultimate level of coverage without unlimited funds,” she said. “The transit study will help us come up with options and ways to address some of the requests.”

However, Nagle-Gamm also said another challenge — keeping up with technology — is one that invigorates her the most.

With electric cars, ride-hailing services, smart vehicle technology, bus-tracking apps and the ability to pay a parking meter using a smartphone, there is no shortage of change in the transportation field, she added.

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“I think our goal is to be able to support all those modes and doing it in a safe, clean and accessible and convenient way,” she said.

l Comments: (319) 398-8309; mitchell.schmidt@thegazette.com

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