Rensselaer Professor Jose Holguín-Veras Honored by White House as “Transportation Champion of Change”

May 13, 2013


Holguín-Veras, the William H. Hart Professor at Rensselaer, was one of 12 individuals recognized for “exemplary leadership in developing or implementing transportation technology solutions to enhance performance, reduce congestion, improve safety, and facilitate communication across the transportation industry at the local, state, or national level.”

As part of the honor, Holguín-Veras visited the White House and participated in the two-day Transportation Technology Solutions for the 21st Century event. Additionally, the White House will soon feature a blog post by Holguín-Veras titled “Taking Steps toward Sustainable Urban Freight Systems.”

“These champions represent the very best in American leadership, innovation, and progress,” said Ray Lahood, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. “I’m proud to recognize these transportation leaders who work every day to grow our economy and help us reach our destinations more quickly, efficiently, and safely.”

“It is a tremendous honor for Dr. Holguín-Veras to be recognized by the nation’s highest office as a Transportation Champion of Change,” said Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson. “His transformative, multifaceted research in the area of traffic and freight systems is a shining example of the world-class, world-changing research taking place at our university. We congratulate Dr. Holguín-Veras on this outstanding achievement.”

In its citation, the White House lauded the leadership of Holguín-Veras toward the development of an off-hour freight delivery system in Manhattan that combines global positioning system (GPS) remote sensing monitoring with GPS-enabled smart phones. This transportation technology solution has facilitated a shift in deliveries from the congested daytime hours to the off-hours of 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. Since the system has been implemented, freight receivers enjoy the superior reliability of off-hour deliveries, carriers benefit from increased productivity, and daytime travelers and pedestrians enjoy reduced congestion, noise, and pollution. Holguín-Veras’ influential research has led to substantial improvements in the ability to model and induce changes in the behavior of the freight industry, the citation read.

“The entire School of Engineering family—faculty, staff, students, and alumni and alumnae—joins me in congratulating Dr. Holguín-Veras on this recognition,” said David Rosowsky, dean of the School of Engineering at Rensselaer. “Jose is known around the world as a leader in transportation systems, policy, and economics and his research is having a significant impact on the way urban traffic systems and disaster response logistics are understood by academics, lawmakers, and the public.”

The White House on Wednesday honored Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute faculty member Jose Holguín-Veras as a “Champion of Change” in the field of transportation.

Holguín-Veras is known as a global leader in the areas of freight demand modeling, transportation economics, and humanitarian logistics. He also studies behavior relating to sustainability policies and the impact of transportation on the environment. As part of his supply chain research, Holguín-Veras led the multidisciplinary teams that investigated the cause of logistical failures in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the catastrophic 2010 Haiti earthquake, and the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake in Japan. He is the director of the Center for Infrastructure, Transportation, and the Environment and the Center of Excellence for Sustainable Urban Freight Systems at Rensselaer, and is actively working to develop new theories and methods for expediting the flow of critical supplies to the site of extreme events.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recognized Holguín-Veras in 2001 with a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award. In 1996 he received the Milton Pikarsky Memorial Award from the Council of University Transportation Centers, and in 2001 was the recipient of a proclamation from the City Council of New York, honoring his research accomplishments and contributions to local communities.

Holguín-Veras is active in leadership positions at several key international research organizations. He is president-elect of the newly created Pan-American Association of Transportation Research, an elected member of the Council of the Association for European Transport, and a member of the board of directors of the Intelligent Transportation Society of New York. Holguín-Veras is a fellow of the International Road Federation (IRF), Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and the Organization of American States (OAS).

He served as conference chair of the 13th Pan-American Advanced Studies Institute on Transportation Sciences, as well as vice president for the Pan-American Conferences of Traffic and Transportation Engineering. He is a member of the board of directors of the University Transportation Research Center, Transportation Infrastructure Research Center, and the Community University Consortium for Regional Environmental Justice. Additionally, Holguín-Veras was appointed by former New York Governor David Paterson to serve on the New York State Thruway Authority Board. He is also a member of several journal editorial boards.

A native of the Dominican Republic, Holguín-Veras received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, his master’s degree in transportation from the Universidad Central de Venezuela, and his doctoral degree in transportation from the University of Texas at Austin.

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