Rod Diridon, Sr. served as founding executive director of the Mineta Transportation Institute until 2014 when he moved to Emeritus status. Mr. Diridon has chaired more than 100 international, national, state and local programs, most related to transit and the environment. He provides legislative testimony on sustainable transportation issues and is regarded by many as the “father” of modern transit service in Silicon Valley.
Governors Davis and Schwarzenegger appointed him to the California High-Speed Rail Authority Board, of which he is chair emeritus. He helped found, and is chair emeritus of, the High-Speed and Intercity Rail Committee and the National High-Speed Rail Corridors Coalition of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). He also was president of the national Council of University Transportation Centers.
In 1996, he founded and chaired the Transportation Research Board’s study panel, “Combating Global Warming through Sustainable Transportation Policy.” He advised the Federal Transit Administration and in 1995 chaired the Transit Oversight and Project Selection Committee for the National Research Council’s Transportation Research Board. He has provided keynotes in more than 50 U.S. cities and for a dozen international conferences, and he has published numerous related articles.
For over two decades, he served the Bay Area in a variety of elected roles from City Council member to chair of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and the Transit Board. He also chaired the San Francisco Bay Area’s three regional governments: the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and the Association of Bay Area Governments, as well as nine successful rail system development project boards. Upon his retirement from public office, Santa Clara County renamed its main train station “San José Diridon Station.”
Mr. Diridon received a BS in accounting and an MSBA in statistics from San José State University and served as a U.S. naval officer. In 1968, he founded the Decision Research Institute, which he sold in 1977. He has two children, Rod Jr. and Mary Margaret, and four grandchildren. He is married to Dr. Gloria Duffy, former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense and now president and CEO of the Commonwealth Club of California.