Hilary Nixon, PhD

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Deputy Executive Director

Hilary Nixon has served as Deputy Executive Director for MTI since 2018. Previously, she served as MTI’s Director of Research and Technology Transfer. Dr. Nixon is an active researcher and educator specializing in transportation and environmental planning and policy. Her research focuses primarily on the factors that influence pro-environmental behavior, transportation finance, and the relationship between transportation and the environment. She has served as Principal Investigator (PI), co-PI, or project team member on over 40 research grants totaling nearly $2 million. 

In her roles at MTI, Dr. Nixon led or collaborated in the publication of 19 research reports and articles on a wide variety of critical transportation issues, including sustainability, livability, economic impacts of public transportation, women’s representation in the field, and more. In addition to her publications in collaboration with MTI, Dr. Nixon has presented at scores of academic and professional conferences, and her individual research has been published in highly-ranked international and peer-reviewed transportation and environment journals such as the Journal of Sustainability Education, the Journal of Public Transportation, the Journal of Environmental Management, the Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, and many others. Her research has also been extensively covered in a wide range of popular media including: CityLab, Politico, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, Washington Post, among others. 

Prior to joining MTI, Dr. Nixon spent 12 years as faculty in the Department of Urban & Regional Planning at San José State University (SJSU), where she held positions as Graduate Advisor, Associate Chair, and Department Chair, where she was responsible for long-term strategic and financial planning, accreditation, and teaching appointments for graduate and undergraduate programs. For her outstanding contributions and commitment to students, Dr. Nixon has been recognized with numerous awards and commendations, including Advisor of the Year in 2015, Outstanding Advisor Award in 2009, and both the Award for Academic Excellence and the Award for Planning Achievement by the American Planning Association 2008. Dr. Nixon also served on many departmental and university committees, including those for research, scholarship, and retention/tenure/promotion.

In her commitment to advancing transportation issues and supporting her community, Dr. Nixon has served a variety of roles at colleges, universities, and professional associations. Since 2018, she has served as Director of the Research and Education Division, of the American Road & Transportation Builders’ Association. Additionally, she has served as an appointed member of National Cooperative Highway Research Program and Transit Cooperative Research Program research review panels, is an elected member of the California Planning Foundation, and serves as chair of the Area E Advisory Planning Commission in the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

A strong proponent of advancing women in academia, research, and transportation, Dr. Nixon regularly advocates for women’s interests in her professional service roles. She served as Vice President of the Faculty Women’s Interest Group (FWIG) of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning from 2013-2015 and currently serves as a member of the Transportation Research Board AME20 Committee on Women and Gender in Transportation. 

Dr. Nixon holds a PhD in planning, policy, and design from the University of California, Irvine, and a BA in environmental management from the University of Rochester.

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