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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Dr. Stephen M. Popkin

Deputy Director for Research and Technology

Steve Popkin

Dr. Stephen Popkin, a recognized authority in transportation fatigue and human factors, has served as the deputy director for Research and Technology at the U.S. DOT Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, since 2017. 

Popkin helps build and monitor the 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. 

He supports the Volpe Center director and the 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. Dr. Popkin guides the Volpe Center’s technical workforce of more than 460 professionals to successfully carry out approximately $220 million of project work per year.

Prior to serving in this role, Popkin led Volpe’s Center for Safety Management and Human Factors, supervising the Center’s portfolio of surface transportation research projects and expanding its capabilities to include a multimodal human factors laboratory on the 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. He has spent more than 30 years studying human fatigue in rail operations for the Federal Railroad Administration and currently chairs the Scientific Committee on Shiftwork and Working Time for the International Commission on Occupational Health.

Last updated: Tuesday, December 1, 2020