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Phoenix Babes Who Walk and Waymo Pair Up for a Safer, Inclusive Community

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Phoenix Babes Who Walk

Progress begins one step at a time. Or, in the case of the walking club Phoenix Babes Who Walk -- thousands of steps at a time. PBWW was formed in 2022 as a walking club for like-minded “babes” seeking a safe, inclusive space to make new friends and explore the many walking paths around Metro Phoenix. The nonprofit’s founders walked right into a much-needed space in Phoenix and has rapidly grown since its  first few meet-ups in 2022

“At our first walk, I made a quick little TikTok saying, ‘Calling all girls, gays, non-binary babes. If you want to meet people and make friends, come to this location,’” shared Julie, one of the co-founders. “Our first walk had 11 people. And then our next walk had 130 and it's just been growing ever since.”

Group shot of a crowd of Phoenix Babes Who Walk members cheering

Phoenix Babes Who Walk participants cheering for a group photo at a Waymo-sponsored morning walk

But before they can walk together, participants need to find transportation to the meetup location.

On a recent sunny day in Phoenix, the group’s co-founders Hope and Grace rode to a walk at Mesa Riverview with Waymo. The co-founders have been exploring how Waymo’s autonomous ride-hailing service in Phoenix could provide a physically and psychologically safe mobility option.

Co-founders Julie, Hope, Grace, and Deysia standing in front of a Waymo autonomous vehicle

Co-founders Julie, Hope, Grace, and Deysia standing in front of a Waymo autonomous vehicle

“I think there's definitely a connection between Waymo and personal safety,” Hope said. ” It can be really scary to get into a ride-share vehicle; it's terrifying really to get into a car with a stranger. One of the things I really like about the autonomous driving that Waymo does is because there is no driver, I can really set up an environment that I feel safe in.”

Waymo includes features designed to enhance passengers’ sense of trust and safety. Passengers can lock and unlock doors through the Waymo app, press a button in the vehicle to call rider support, and customize the initials that appear on their vehicle’s lidar dome to ensure they can identify their ride when it comes to pick them up.

Phoenix Babes Who Walk, which is modeled on similar walking clubs popping up around the country, was founded with an emphasis on giving women and underrepresented groups a sense of safety in numbers.

Phoenix Babes Who Walk participants walking together at Riverview Park

Phoenix Babes Who Walk participants walking together at Riverview Park

“There are other walking clubs, but we wanted the term ‘babes’ specifically to be more inclusive to not just women, but to the LGBTQ+ community and non-binary people,” explained Julie.

PBWW co-founder Deysia said that women and other underrepresented groups are constantly thinking about their personal safety not only when walking but as they move around in the world.

“Women and other underrepresented groups – we have to change our schedules every day with safety in mind,” Deysia emphasized. “It's just embedded in what it is to be a woman, to always constantly have to think about your safety.”

Women and other underrepresented groups – we have to change our schedules every day with safety in mind. It's just embedded in what it is to be a woman, to always constantly have to think about your safety.

- Deysia, Co-founder of Phoenix Babes Who Walk

Grace said members of Babes Who Walk are connected by a desire to safeguard each other.

“We're always trying to promote looking out for one another and other people on the trail as well, or the walking paths,” Grace said. “We're definitely interlinked by a shared cause, or just some sort of magic that Phoenix Babes has.”

Hope said she also sees how Waymo could help members of the Phoenix Babes Who Walk community, especially those who do not drive or don’t have access to reliable transportation.

“We have a ton of folks who have trouble getting to some of these walks because of car issues or because of the lack of public transportation in Metro Phoenix,” Hope said. “Having [Waymo] as an option to bring them to the places that allow them to make connections is really important.”

Having [Waymo] as an option to bring them to the places that allow them to make connections is really important.

- Hope, Co-founder of Phoenix Babes Who Walk

It is those connections, Hope said, that drive the mission and vision of Phoenix Babes Who Walk. 

“It can be really scary to walk alone as a woman or a person of color or someone from the LGBTQ+ community,” Hope said. “By building a space that invites all of those people to come together, we are able to build a safe space that we think millions of people across the Valley need and want.”

Emma, Juana, and Minerva from Unlimited Potential stand alongside a Waymo One ride-hailing vehicle

Unlimited Potential

Waymo and Unlimited Potential Plant Seeds of Collaboration in Phoenix

Unlimited Potential recognizes safe, reliable transportation as a social determinant of health. Learn why this organization is excited by the impact Waymo's autonomous driving technology has on their community.