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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

Jonathan Walker, PE, PhD

Director of Communications, Navigation, Surveillance Systems, and Engineering

Walker headshot

Jonathan Walker, PE, PhD serves as the director of Communications, Navigation, Surveillance Systems, and Engineering at U.S. DOT’s Volpe Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  

Walker provides executive leadership and strategic direction over the Center for Communications, Navigation, Surveillance Systems, and Engineering, which is made up of five offices. Each team works together to specialize in a different facet of air traffic operations work, from operational systems development to facility modernization, from safety management documentation to GPS and spectrum research and evaluation, and from research to deployment of the integration of unmanned aircraft systems and advanced air mobility into the National Airspace System. 

Most recently, Walker served as the acting director in the Office of Corporate Research, Technology & Innovation Management at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center for FHWA. He and his staff provided corporate oversight on all FHWA Research and Technology programs. Walker also led support program integration, analysis, and managed partnership programs such as the Annual Modal Research Plan, the Transportation Pooled Fund Program, the State Planning and Research Program, the Exploratory Advanced Research Program, and the Small Business Innovative Research Program.  

Prior to this work, Walker served as the chief of Policy, Architecture, and Knowledge Transfer at the Intelligent Transportation System – Joint Program Office (ITS-JPO). He provided senior level leadership for the Emerging and Enabling Technology Program and U.S. DOT’s Wireless Spectrum Research Program. Walker joined FHWA in 2014 as a Transportation Specialist at FWHA’s Office of Operations, and he has held a variety of roles, which include chairing the Office of the Secretary – Research (OST-R) Artificial Intelligence Task Force and the Emerging and Enabling Technology Working Group, and serving both on a part-time detail at NHTSA and on FHWA’s Diversity Management Committee.   

Before joining the U.S. DOT, Walker managed staff working on several high-visibility projects in rail and bus engineering at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. In the mid-80s, his career began in avionics as an electronic technician on the RF-4BN photo-reconnaissance aircrafts as a Sergeant in the U.S Marine Corps, in El Toro, California, and in Iwakuni, Japan.  

Walker received a PhD in Transportation Engineering from Virginia Tech University (Blacksburg, VA), a MS in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD), and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Howard University (Washington, D.C.). He served four years in the U.S Marine Corps and is a licensed professional engineer in the states of MD, VA, and D.C.