June '24 Newsletter

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June 2024
Congratulations to the Class of 2024
Master of Science in Transportation Management Graduates 2024
SJSU's Master of Science in Transportation Management Graduates 2024
MSTM Student of the Year
Maxwell VerKuilenCongratulations to Maxwell VerKuilen—the 2024 MSTM Student of the Year! Maxwell currently works as Assistant Project Manager for California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), District 7, where he develops and implements transportation project schedules and budgets while coordinating with Project Development Team members in diverse roles to deliver equitable, high-quality projects. He started at Caltrans in 2021 and has been given the Superior Accomplishment Award for his work. Maxwell’s interest in transportation was sparked when he attended UC Santa Barbara and experienced the contrast between the car-driven culture of where he grew up and the transit- and bike-oriented culture surrounding the campus. “Nearly everyone I knew biked, took the bus, walked, or scooted to attend class, grab lunch, or work jobs because the built environment facilitated it. You’d informally meet and see people going about your day because you weren't confined in a metal box. The transportation system was also designed to be equitable and accessible to people of all incomes and abilities. And coming out of college, I thought, ‘Why can't we build more places like that?’” Maxwell continues to advance this goal and explore other related transportation issues. His MSTM capstone project was “Urban Freeway Removal and its Effect on Property Values and Traffic: A Case Study of Milwaukee’s Park East Freeway.” Congrats again, Maxwell!
Thank You for Supporting
Our Education Program!
2024 Banquent Sponsorship_Web Slide_600x300.jpg
THANK YOU to AC Transit, AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department, Alstom, Altamont Corridor Express ( ACE), American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials ( AASHTO), American Public Transportation Association ( APTA), American Road and Transportation Builders Association ( ARTBA), Association of American Railroads ( AAR), Bay Area Rapid Transit ( BART), California High-Speed Rail Authority ( CAHSRA),  California Strategies, Conference of Minority Transportation Officials ( COMTO), Contra Costa Transportation Authority ( CCTA),  Cubic, Econolite, ENSCOFortino Winery, HNTB, InfraStrategies, Latinos in Transit, Lea+Elliott, SamTrans, San Jose Department of Transportation, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority ( VTA), SYSTRA USA, Tri Delta Transit, United Airlines, WMH Corporation, and WSP, for supporting the MTI Student Fellowship Fund! Your generous contributions will support the next generation of transportation leaders. 
2024 WTS Annual Scholarships &
Awards Gala
2024 WTS Annual Scholarships & Awards Gala
Chair Jeff Morales, Executive Director Dr. Karen Philbrick, and Mariah Ray (Glydways) at the 2024 WTS Annual Scholarships & Awards Gala

Even though women make up more than half the population (51%) and the majority (55%) of transit riders, women make up less than a quarter of the employed transportation workforce. WTS International is a leader in changing this statistic by advancing women in transportation. MTI Executive Director Dr. Karen Philbrick recently gave a keynote speech at the 2024 WTS Annual Scholarships & Awards Gala hosted by the San Francisco Bay Area chapter. She highlighted that women represent a significant untapped resource within the industry and the critical importance of advocating for diversity in all forms to foster innovation for the benefit of everyone. Two MSTM students were given scholarships at this event: Erica Casillas, Light Rail Supervisor for Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), was awarded the 2024 Helene M. Overly Graduate Scholarship and Iulia Panescu Quiazon, Senior Management Analyst at VTA, won the Jannet Walker-Ford Leadership-Legacy Graduate Scholarship! Congratulations to these deserving scholarship recipients!

Erica Casillas
Helene M. Overly Graduate Scholarship
Erica Casillas
Light Rail Supervisor
Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority
Iulia Panescu Quiazon
Jannet Walker-Ford Leadership Legacy Fund
Iulia Panescu Quiazon
Senior Management Analyst
Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority
New Research
Smart Robot Design and Implementation to Assist Pedestrian Road Crossing
Smart Robot Design and Implementation to Assist Pedestrian Road Crossing

In 2020, the United States recorded 6,516 pedestrian fatalities and approximately 55,000 injuries, with children under 16 being especially vulnerable. This project focuses on designing and developing a smart robot to assist pedestrians with road crossings. Unlike existing studies that rely on traffic light infrastructure, the study's approach accurately identifies both vehicles and pedestrians at intersections, creating a comprehensive safety system. The authors' strategy involves implementing advanced Machine Learning (ML) algorithms for real-time detection of vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists. These algorithms, executed in Python, leverage data from LiDAR and video cameras to assess road conditions and guide pedestrians and cyclists safely through intersections. The smart robot, powered by ML insights, will make intelligent decisions to ensure a safer and more secure road-crossing experience for pedestrians and cyclists.

Read the Report
Transit Workforce Development Challenges and Mitigation Practices
Transit Workforce Development Challenges and Mitigation Practices

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. had over 10 million job openings and only 5.7 million unemployed workers in March 2023. In 2017, the Washington Post posited that there were not enough workers to fill the vacancies, as the U.S. Census Bureau announced a 17-year low in unemployment while the Bureau of Labor Statistics hit record streaks for numbers of job openings. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the employment challenges that the U.S. already faced. To top it all, the pandemic also led to increased retirement rates among those close to retirement age. This provides transit industry executives and transportation professionals with ideas of tools that are available to help attract more qualified candidates to the transit industry and ways to advance the development of the transit workforce. This research highlights some of the social media recruiting; online hiring platform improvements; and partnerships with career centers, universities, and recruitment centers to attract new employees to the transit workforce. In addition, increases in pay, benefits, bonuses, providing flexible schedule options and some other atypical ideas have successfully been used to retain workers in the transit workforce. This research focuses on ways in which all transit stakeholders can invest in all aspects of industry workforce development to ensure qualified employees choose the transit industry and that they are subsequently trained to be the most beneficial assets to the organization and remain there via effective retention strategies.

Read the Report
Upcoming Event
Uncharted Territory: 2024 Cybersecurity Insurance and Transit Landscape
Uncharted Territory: 2024 Cybersecurity Insurance and Transit Landscape

Cybersecurity threats are everywhere, and no organization is immune. While the volume of cyberattacks has increased exponentially, the bigger concern for most transit agencies is that the average cost to recover from successful attacks has skyrocketed. While many transit operators have taken steps to improve cyber resiliency, others continue to assume they will not be targeted. How are insurance companies and regulators responding? Don’t miss insight from the experts about recent evolutions in the cyber risk landscape and the impacts on transit. Expert speakers will provide recommendations on how the different segments of the market can work together to manage the risk of cyber attacks in “Uncharted Territory: 2024 Cybersecurity Insurance and Transit Landscape.” Join the conversation on Tuesday, July 30th at 12:00p.m. (PT).


  • Scott Belcher, Research Associate, MTI; Co-Founder, Cybrbase, LLC
  • Todd Chollet, Risk Advisor and Cyber Practice Leader, Sunstar Insurance Group

Moderator: Hilary Nixon, PhD, Deputy Executive Director, Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI)

*0.5 PDH credit available

To Register



Contact Us

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