Meet carolyn ulstad


transportation program manager | (231) 941-6584 ext 710

For Carolyn Ulstad, having a range of transportation options is about far more than just deciding what kind of vehicle to ride. To her, transportation is a choice that crosses into quality of life and even a broader sense of awareness. “Instead of being in a car, maybe you’re walking or riding a bike along a scenic pathway breathing in the fresh air, or sitting on a bus or train watching the world move by in between resting your eyes and reading a good book,” she says. “When you slow down you have the opportunity to see things more clearly.” In a literal sense, by noticing things up close, like a brick walkway, a garden arch, a crocus that wasn’t there the day before. But also figuratively: a better view of the world at large.

As manager of Groundwork’s Transportation and Community Design program, Carolyn has the chance to channel that vision for more human-centered transportation in real-world ways. Working with city and county officials, community leaders, advocates and commuters she’ll push ahead to reduce the impact of traffic on people and communities while promoting alternatives that build neighborly relationships and keep towns livable and enjoyable.

Carolyn also has the lead role in promoting the development of passenger rail from Traverse City to Ann Arbor. “I love the experience of traveling by rail and want to see rail expand throughout Michigan,” she says.

Good to know


Geography and Urban Planning bachelor's degree and Environmental minor from Grand Valley State University

In her spare time ...

Carolyn likes to bake bread, garden, hike in the dunes, and kayak.

Favorite spot in northern Michigan

Leelanau State Park Campground

Why the prop?

"My plants are my pets."

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