Stephen M. Popkin, PhD
Director for Research and Innovative Technology
Stephen M. Popkin, PhD, a recognized authority in transportation fatigue and human factors, has served as the director for Research and Innovative Technology at the U.S. DOT Volpe Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, since 2017.
He helps build and monitor the U.S. DOT Volpe Center’s research, innovation, and demonstration portfolio of hundreds of projects across the government, private sector, and non-profit entities that sponsor our work.
Popkin supports the U.S. DOT Volpe Center director and the U.S. DOT Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology to carry out Secretarial priorities and major DOT initiatives, particularly in key areas such as automation, safety, data analytics, and operator impairment, achieving revenue levels and cost efficiencies. He guides the Volpe Center’s transportation research workforce successfully carry out mission work.
Prior to serving in this role, Popkin led U.S. DOT Volpe Center’s Center for Safety Management and Human Factors, supervising the U.S. DOT Volpe Center’s portfolio of surface transportation research projects and expanding its capabilities to include a multimodal human factors laboratory on the U.S. DOT Volpe Center campus.
He began his federal career in 2000, coming with experience working for a professional engineering services company, the U.S. Navy, and academia. Popkin has spent more than 30 years studying human fatigue in rail operations for FRA and currently chairs the Scientific Committee on Shiftwork and Working Time for the International Commission on Occupational Health.