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T3 Webinar Overview

Introducing FTA’s Strategic Transit Automation Research (STAR) Plan

Date: Tuesday, December 5, 2017
Time: 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM ET
Cost: All T3 webinars are free of charge
PDH: 1.5 View PDH Policy

View Webinar: link to this webinar's archive materials

T3 and T3e Webinars are brought to you by the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Professional Capacity Building (PCB) Program of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (U.S. DOT) ITS Joint Program Office (JPO). References in this webinar to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public, and does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the U.S. DOT.


Automation technology is rapidly advancing and has the potential to transform the transportation system. To help position the public transportation industry to implement and benefit from these technologies, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has developed a five-year research agenda to move the industry forward and address critical questions: What are the transit bus automation use cases? What are the potential benefits of automation for bus transit? What are the risks and challenges? Which technologies are already available and which are still emerging? What capabilities need to be developed and tested? How can transit agencies get started? FTA will present a framework for research, demonstrations, and strategic partnerships needed to advance transit bus automation in the United States.

Target Audience

The target audience includes public transportation practitioners and researchers, state and local departments of transportation, transit industry representatives, vehicle automation developers and suppliers, and others with an interest in public transportation policy.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this webinar, the audience shall:

  • Have an overview of the plan’s purpose
  • Be aware of transit bus automation research activities planned by the FTA
  • Learn about next steps
  • Understand how stakeholders can engage in the process


Vincent Valdes, Associate Administrator, Office of Research, Demonstration & Innovation, Federal Transit Administration
Vincent Valdes As the Associate Administrator for FTA’s Office of Research, Demonstration and Innovation since 2008, Vincent Valdes leads a group of program managers, transportation specialists, and engineers who work on FTA’s critical transit research program. The program provides a forum for transit research at the national level and facilitates the development of innovative transit practices and technologies to support national public transportation. Throughout his career in the public and private sectors, Mr. Valdes has led work in various fields including engineering, transportation research, urban and regional planning, neighborhood economic development, environmental protection, and international development. Mr. Valdes graduated with a degree in Engineering from Boston University and received a Master of Science in Urban Planning from Columbia University.


Steve Mortensen, Senior ITS Engineer, Office of Research, Demonstration & Innovation, Federal Transit Administration
Steve Mortensen Steve Mortensen is a Senior Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Engineer with the FTA Office of Research, Demonstration and Innovation. Mr. Mortensen is the co-manager of FTA’s transit automation research program and the project manager for a number of transit automation research tasks and activities. He is involved in the Mobility on Demand (MOD) research program, including co-management of the MOD Sandbox Demonstrations independent evaluation. Mr. Mortensen is also the FTA lead for the U.S. DOT’s Connected Vehicle for Safety program. Prior to FTA, Mr. Mortensen worked at Noblis providing ITS program technical and management support to the ITS Joint Program Office and FTA in the areas of transit fleet management, human services transportation coordination, electronic payment, traveler information, and rail transit ITS. Mr. Mortensen has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master of Community and Regional Planning degree from Iowa State University.

Danyell Diggs, Senior Transportation Program Analyst, Office of Research, Demonstration & Innovation, Federal Transit Administration
Danyell Diggs Danyell Diggs is a Senior Transportation Program Analyst with the FTA Office of Research, Demonstration and Innovation. Ms. Diggs is the co-manager for the FTA transit automation research program and oversees several transit automation research tasks and activities. She serves as the project manager for the Intelligent Transportation Systems of America cooperative agreement, which focuses on Mobility on Demand (MOD) research, education, and outreach activities. She is also the FTA lead for the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit MOD Sandbox Demonstration project. Before joining FTA, she was the Deputy Director for the Office of Planning and Programming at Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) and has worked in various levels of government, which include FHWA, Maryland Department of Transportation, and Baltimore City DOT. Ms. Diggs holds a Masters degree in Transportation Planning from Morgan State University and a Bachelor degree in Logistics from the University of Maryland College Park.


Jonathan Walker, P.E., Ph.D.
Chief Policy, Architecture, and Knowledge Transfer, ITS Joint Program Office
U.S. Department of Transportation
(202) 366-2199

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