Putting Passengers First

3 min readApr 2, 2021


Matt Crisp has over 20 years of experience across mobility businesses, focusing on simplifying complex things. He’s highlighted how we can center innovation and ideas around people, the passenger, and the individual throughout his career. He’s also a frequent advocate for sustainability within cities, having worked on shifting society’s perception to adapting more sustainable and planet-friendly choices. We discussed how we could place passengers at the forefront of our minds while regaining their trust as people start to travel once again.

Let’s start with an overview of your career so far…

Throughout my career, I’ve worked in a variety of industries. I started in global FMCG brands and then moved to lead an independent creative agency in London before deciding to pursue a portfolio career. Since then, I’ve worked in a global waste and recycling business, joined a mobility data business in the States, advised multiple startups, and worked in Uni incubators both here and in the US.

It started with BigBelly in intelligent waste management — a smart bin that uses sensors and cloud connectivity to tell you when it’s full. That means you don’t have trucks driving around kicking out emissions and congesting the city, collecting half-empty bins. We placed over 40,000 bins in major cities and college campuses worldwide, saving local authorities money and reducing environmental impact. Global waste is doubling every ten years, making a real difference in tackling the problem. But the fascinating part is that once you’ve got that bit of physical kit out on the street, you can go beyond waste management and add more services later on. Each station was connected to the cloud and is solar-powered to collect and share sensor data. It becomes a platform that can respond to what people need. In New York, for example, we even meshed a wifi network to the bin system.

In terms of mobility, I’ve worked on multiple projects within cities, post my agency life, supporting startups. While also supporting a range of startups and scale-ups around growth, helping them create stories and their improved strategic narrative from a brand and commercial point of view, helping them to scale their businesses significantly

I found it interesting working alongside colleagues from multiple disciplines, creatives, product, engineers, designers, and innovation experts. I’d advise anyone to be open to new projects as they are a great way of continuously learning and understanding others’ ideas and skills.

How did you get to know the ES_Mobility team?

My work within smart cities led to me working alongside Tim Fendley, the founder of Applied. Applied is a global wayfinding business behind London’s walking system Legible London. The basis for multiple walking systems which are adopted through major cities globally. I really like this idea because it shows that human-centered innovation doesn’t have to be about cutting-edge digital technology. Simple behavior change is just as important.

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