Where They’re Headed: Colin Fredrickson ’20

The growth and structure of cities major is now working as a transportation planner in California.

Since graduating, Colin Fredrickson ’20 made a move to the West Coast to work as a transportation planner for the California Department of Transportation’s office in Marysville, Calif. He was inspired to look for jobs in the Golden State because he felt that a lot of innovation in urban planning was happening there.

Fredrickson leads his area’s Active Transportation Plan. He coordinates across communication organizations and local, county, and tribal governments to identify opportunities for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure projects. 

“The goal is to build and maintain a robust infrastructure network for cyclists and pedestrians with special attention paid to disadvantaged communities, so all residents have safe and efficient spaces to walk and bike,” said Fredrickson. “CalTrans is the only state department of transportation that is currently doing this work, so I am excited to be a part of this groundbreaking project.”

He grew his interest in urban planning as a growth and structures of cities major

“Haverford taught me to think more critically about the regional planning commissions and state transportation agencies in shaping our communities and our individual lives,” he said.

He learned about the history of planning, learned practical software skills like GIS, and applied this knowledge outside of the classroom in praxis courses at Bryn Mawr and the University of Pennsylvania. Fredrickson also had the opportunity to work with the Philadelphia City Planning Commission

“My internship taught me how GIS is applied in a planning context and helped me better understand how planning projects, everything from building train stations to repainting crosswalks, goes from concept to construction,” he said. 

“All the professors at the Cities Department at Bryn Mawr helped me to realize that this is the field I want to be in,” said Fredrickson. “The Praxis office at BMC was especially helpful in guiding me through my internship with the Philadelphia City Planning Commission.”

While his college coursework is directly related to his work now, the pandemic means his field has changed a lot.

“Terms like ‘socially distant’ and ‘touch points’ are commonplace in design processes where before they were never mentioned,” he said.

Fredrickson eventually hopes to bring the skills and experience he gains in California back to Philadelphia or Massachusetts, his home state. 

“I believe very strongly in the power of inclusive and equitable urban design to shape positively the experience of all who move through a space, from those who live there to those who only pass by once,” he said. “Doing this work in the communities that inspired me to pursue this career, in Philadelphia or Massachusetts, would be very meaningful to me.”

“Where They’re Headed” is a blog series chronicling the post-collegiate plans of recent Haverford graduates.