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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Ellen E. Bell

Director of Strategic Initiatives for Research and Innovation

Ellen BellEllen Bell serves as the director of Strategic Initiatives for Research and Innovation at U.S. DOT's Volpe Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

A senior advisor to the U.S. DOT Volpe Center director, she is a veteran member of the U.S. DOT Volpe Center’s senior leadership team. Throughout her career, Bell has proactively worked to bring the diverse transportation enterprise together to find common ground and understanding of emerging issues and to inform transportation decision-making. She is a go-to for rapid response support on Departmental and Center priorities.

Bell has led development of several highly visible Departmental and cross-agency planning, program, and policy initiatives and contributed to development of landmark publications and reauthorization efforts. She has served as U.S. DOT Volpe Center’s executive officer for policy, strategy, and outreach and chief of staff. Bell also provided oversight to U.S. DOT’s Small Business Innovation Research program. 

Prior to joining the U.S. DOT Volpe Center, she served in Washington, D.C., within the Office of the Secretary of Transportation and at NHTSA. Bell’s contributions have been recognized in the Department’s highest Secretarial awards including the Secretary's Gold Medal, the Secretary’s Silver Medal for Meritorious Service, and the Partnering for Excellence Award. She received the Eagle Award—the highest ranking agency award—twice. Recently, she was presented with the U.S. DOT Volpe Center’s Richard R. John award for thought leadership, public service, and innovation.

Prior to her career in federal service, Bell worked at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and The Boston Globe. She holds a BA in political science from Stonehill College (Easton, MA) and a Master of Liberal Arts in government from the Harvard University Extension School (Cambridge, MA). Bell is an alumna of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Senior Executive Fellows Program.

Last updated: Tuesday, November 8, 2022