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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

Technology Innovation and Policy

A transit bus, equipped with an emergency braking feature, parked at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) Smart Road test track, where it underwent testing during spring 2019. (Joshua Cregger/U.S. DOT Volpe Center photo)
A transit bus, equipped with an emergency braking feature, parked at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) Smart Road test track, where it underwent testing during spring 2019. (Joshua Cregger/U.S. DOT Volpe Center photo)­­
 

About Us

The U.S. DOT Volpe Center’s Technology Innovation and Policy Division performs the analysis that transportation decision-makers need to develop policy options, strategies, and tools for the successful deployment of advanced surface transportation system technologies, including automated vehicle and connected vehicle research, intelligent transportation systems implementation, wireless spectrum analysis, and traffic and transportation system modeling and evaluation.

Our Division performs policy and institutional research to analyze the safety, mobility, energy/environment, security, and asset management implications of advanced technology concepts. Our work supports the deployment of emerging and advanced transportation technologies, applications, and systems.

Some highlights of our work include:

  • Conducting wireless spectrum analysis on the 5.9 GHz Safety Band and other spectrum options for the transportation system on behalf of Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology and the Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office
  • Performing automated vehicle policy, strategy, and research—including ongoing work with FTA on its Strategic Transit Automation Research plan, which outlines FTA’s five-year research agenda on transit bus automation technologies
  • Enabling FHWA to significantly improve highway transportation in the U.S. through our support of the Global Benchmarking Program, which serves as a tool for accessing, evaluating, and implementing global innovations—proven best practices and available technologies

Our team consists of technology policy analysts, engineers, economists, operations research analysts, and community planners who work collaboratively to help transportation leaders make policy and investment decisions.

Our Capabilities

Technology and Policy Analysis

  • Perform institutional issue and technology policy analysis
  • Identify and compare policy options, including benefits and impacts assessments
  • Develop policy and implementation procedures

Systems and Infrastructure Modernization and Optimization

  • Assess the role of standards in intelligent transportation systems
  • Perform work to advance automated vehicle policy, strategy, and research
  • Perform traffic system modeling and simulation
  • Evaluate transportation data collection and offer maintenance strategies
  • Analyze roadway technology and operations

Safety and Security Assessments

  • Assess advanced transportation concepts, as well as emerging and alternative
  • Conduct wireless spectrum impacts and analysis
  • Analyze connected vehicle data management systems
  • Perform risk assessments and data analysis

Strategic Planning, Analysis, and Collaboration

  • Conduct stakeholder analysis and outreach
  • Plan and coordinate workshop logistics
  • Provide international analysis and collaboration

Meet Our Team

View selected staff biographies.

Gina Barberio Solman

Acting Chief

Gina Solman

Gina Solman is the acting division chief of the Technology Innovation and Policy Division at the U.S. DOT Volpe Center in Cambridge, MA. She leads a multidisciplinary team analyzing policy and institutional issues to plan, develop, and deploy innovative transportation technology including vehicle automation, connected vehicles, data systems, and connected cities.

Solman is a senior project manager and environmental protection specialist who has worked at the U.S. DOT Volpe Center since 2005. She solves complex problems across all modes of transportation, analyzing policy and building consensus on technical topics of national concern.

Solman specializes in noise policy and facilitates interagency coordination on a range of topics. She conducts research to inform the development of policies, regulation, and guidance in support of FHWA, FAA, FRA, and Department of Housing and Urban Development to assess transportation-related noise and other technical areas. This work includes strategic design, qualitative and quantitative analysis, evaluation and risk assessment, facilitation, and technical writing.

Solman is the vice president of Women’s Transportation Seminar-Boston, which is an organization that is committed to advancing the transportation industry through educational programs, mentoring, and networking for transportation professionals. She also serves as the U.S. DOT Volpe Center Federal Women’s Program manager.

Solman holds an MA in Energy and Environmental Analysis and a BA in Environmental Analysis and Policy from Boston University (Boston, MA).

View Gina Solman’s LinkedIn profile

Molly Behan

General Engineer

Molly Behan

Molly Behan is a general engineer in the Technology Innovation and Policy Division at the U.S. DOT Volpe Center. She works on a variety of projects, primarily supporting FHWA and ITS JPO. Behan’s portfolio consists of work with automated vehicles, data specifications, technology evaluation, and emissions modeling.

Prior to joining the U.S. DOT Volpe Center in 2020, Behan worked as a consultant for SAE International's micro-mobility portfolio. She holds a master's degree in transportation engineering from McGill University (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), where she also worked as a research assistant and teaching assistant. She holds an undergraduate degree in civil engineering from the University of Florida (Gainesville, FL).

Jeffrey Bellone

Economist

Jeffrey Bellone is an economist in the Technology Innovation and Policy Division at the U.S. DOT Volpe Center. He currently supports the Security Credential Management System being developed as a proof-of-concept for a connected vehicle environment.

Bellone has worked on a variety of projects during his tenure at the U.S. DOT Volpe Center. He has supported research in crash avoidance systems and automated vehicles. He also supports FHWA's Exploratory Advanced Research Program. Bellone's background in economics, data analysis, and systems engineering has led him to participate on projects ranging from evaluating the Transit Economics Requirements Model to offering solutions for detecting bridge height for large vehicles.

Prior to joining the U.S. DOT Volpe Center, he worked at ESPN in Bristol, CT. Bellone has also worked for the Bureau of Economic Analysis in Washington, D.C. He has an MS in financial economics from the University of London (London, UK) and a MS in systems engineering from George Washington University (Washington, D.C.).

Matthew Burt

Technology Policy Analyst

Matthew BurtMatthew Burt is a program manager in the Technology Innovation and Policy Division at the U.S. DOT Volpe Center. He manages technical support to ITS JPO’s Connected Data Systems Program.

Burt’s other work at the U.S. DOT Volpe Center includes managing the technical support to ITS JPO in conducting exploratory research in multimodal transportation system management and decision support systems.

Prior to joining the U.S. DOT Volpe Center in 2013, he spent 23 years as a transportation planning and engineering consultant, first with URS Corporation and then with Battelle Memorial Institute. That experience included ITS strategic plan development, connected vehicle and other technology development and testing, and independent evaluations. These projects included extensive interaction with state and local agencies as well as U.S. DOT.

Burt has an MA in urban and regional planning with a transportation major from the University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA), and a bachelor’s degree with a double major in sociology and psychology from Cornell College (Mt. Vernon, IA).

Alan Chachich

Electronics Engineer

Alan Chachich works on cybersecurity and wireless technology and policy at the U.S. DOT Volpe Center to support the connected vehicle program (for ITS JPO and NHTSA). He led the multi-year testing of interference to intervehicle communications caused by Wi-Fi. Chachich also managed an FMCSA field test of optical sensors on trucks to detect bridges that are too low. He was the primary technical resource for Smart Park, a sensor-based FMCSA project to tell truck drivers which parking lots are full and which have space available. He is currently exploring a solution to that problem using drones as part of the Volpe Innovation Accelerator (VIA) program. He consults on advanced technologies involved with physics, electro-optics, electrical engineering, and computer science.

Prior to joining the U.S. DOT Volpe Center in 2011, Chachich held research positions at Lincoln Labs and MIT, including serving as the deputy director of the MIT Intelligent Transportation Systems program. He wrote the chapter on energy and transportation in The Energy Sourcebook published by the American Institute of Physics. Chachich was also a primary editor of The Encyclopedia of Energy published by the Gale Group/MacMillan Reference. In between MIT and the U.S. DOT Volpe Center, he worked in product development at industrial companies from startup to $10 billion and has two patents. Chachich has been a member of two or more Transportation Research Board (TRB) Committees continually for more than 25 years and helped establish the TRB Data Privacy Task Force.

Chachich has a BS in physics from Oakland University (Rochester Hills, MI) and an MS in electrical and systems engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY).

Joshua Cregger

Technology Policy Analyst

Joshua CreggerJoshua Cregger is a technology policy analyst in the Technology Innovation and Policy Division at the U.S. DOT Volpe Center, where he supports a variety of work related to automated vehicles. He has provided support to the Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS JPO), FTA, FMCSA, FHWA, NHTSA, and the Office of the Secretary of Transportation (OST). Recent research topics have included automated transit buses and shuttles, automated delivery vehicles and devices, and public and private sector automated vehicle test activity announcements.

Prior to joining the U.S. DOT Volpe Center in early 2016, Cregger worked for the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) in Ann Arbor, MI. During his time at CAR, he co-authored numerous studies on a variety of topics related to the automotive industry. Cregger has also worked as a research assistant at Monster Worldwide Government Relations and the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

Cregger holds a master’s degree in policy and planning from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment and a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI).

Walton Fehr

Principal Technical Advisor for Technology Innovation and Policy

Walton FehrWalton Fehr on test site

Walton Fehr serves as part of our team of principal technical advisors who work across the Center to identify emerging transportation technologies, conduct analyses and assessments on topics of national significance, and explore new opportunities in response to evolving national concerns.

Fehr serves as principal technical advisor for technology innovation and policy.Read Walton Fehr’s full bio.

Joshua Hassol

Technology Policy Analyst

Joshua Hassol is a technology policy analyst in the Technology Policy and Innovation Division at the U.S. DOT Volpe Center. He has 28 years of experience working on transportation and policy analysis in both the public and private sectors.

Hassol has been involved in numerous projects developing analyses and guidance for policy makers. He managed a study assessing how truck automation could affect freight flows and modal shifts and participated in the development of a “primer” on electric vehicle technology and market drivers. Hassol has also contributed to the development of vehicle fleet data files to support analysis of fuel efficiency standards and the development of a cybersecurity plan for Intelligent Transportation Systems.

Hassol holds a PhD in social ecology (focused on urban and regional planning) from University of California Irvine (Irvine, CA). He is a Fulbright Scholar and an adjunct faculty member at Boston University (Boston, MA), where he teaches graduate courses in transportation policy analysis and applied microeconomics.

Anita Kim

Technology Policy Analyst

Anita KimAnita Kim leads several automated vehicle policy projects at the U.S. DOT Volpe Center in support of different U.S. DOT modal agencies, including FHWA, NHTSA, FMCSA, and ITS JPO. Her area of expertise includes regulatory/policy analysis and strategic policy research on advanced vehicle technologies, including both connected and automated vehicles.

Kim’s current portfolio of projects includes supporting development of an agency-wide vision on automated vehicles for FHWA, developing an automated vehicle policy research plan for ITS JPO, and conducting regulatory and state legislative analyses on automated vehicles.

Prior to joining the U.S. DOT Volpe Center, Kim held positions at SH&E/ICF and Jacobs Engineering and was a project manager at the Executive Office of Economic Development for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She has an MS in public policy and management studies from Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA) and a BA from Emory University.

Elizabeth Machek

Operations Research Analyst

Eli MachekElizabeth (Eli) Machek is a community planner in the Technology Innovation and Policy Division at the U.S. DOT Volpe Center. Machek joined Volpe in 2003 and has experience in transportation planning and policy analysis, with applications in areas including automation, alternative transportation, parking management, accessibility, and intelligent transportation systems.

Currently, Machek is developing an automation research plan for FTA and conducting foundational research on low-speed automated shuttles for ITS JPO’s Automation Program.

Machek holds a master of city planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA).

Leisa Moniz

Management and Program Analyst

Leisa Moniz is a management and program analyst in the Technology Innovation and Policy Division at the U.S. DOT Volpe Center and has over 25 years of experience working on transportation policy and analysis in the public sector.

Her work at the Center has predominately focused on Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) research projects, including automatic vehicle location systems for public transit, multi-modal payment systems coordination, and connected vehicle research. She has also served as the Department’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Director and managed a variety of complex research projects in aviation and homeland security. Since 2014, Moniz has been a member of the Department’s wireless spectrum research team and her work has focused largely on regulatory and policy analysis of the 5.9 GHz spectrum.

Early in her career she spent several years working on public health policy initiatives at The Ford Foundation in New York.

Tom Schaffnit

Operations Research Analyst

Tom Schaffnit is an operations research analyst in the Technology Innovation and Policy Division at the U.S. DOT Volpe Center. He previously worked with automobile original equipment manufacturers on cooperative vehicle-to-vehicle safety applications and technologies for more than 12 years. Schaffnit served as president of the Vehicle Infrastructure Integration Consortium, a consortium of 10 major automobile manufacturers. He also worked with the Vehicle Safety Communications 5G consortium on developing a prototype security system for connected vehicles. In addition, Schaffnit provided policy and technical support to the Association of Global Automakers.

>He has an engineering education and background, complemented by an MBA degree and senior management experience. Schaffnit is an internationally recognized expert in communications technologies and has more than 30 years of widely ranging related experience, from project management of major research projects and development of technical standards, to bringing new wireless telematics services to market.

Jingsi Shaw

Technology Policy Analyst

Jingsi ShawDr. Jingsi Shaw is a technology policy analyst in the Technology Innovation and Policy Division at the U.S. DOT Volpe Center. She supports projects focused on connected and automated vehicles (CAV), data collection using CAV technologies, and evaluating policy implications. Shaw has provided support to ITS JPO, FHWA, and NTSA.

Before joining the U.S. DOT Volpe Center in 2019, she was a postdoc associate in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Shaw’s work included curriculum design for a new interdisciplinary undergraduate program (combining urban planning and computer science) and an online course on urban mobility. In addition, Shaw was a researcher at the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology Centre. Her work focused on improving behavioral models on residential relocation behavior and vehicle ownership choices to capture the effects of government intervention on individuals’ decision making.

Shaw received a master of city planning and a PhD in urban and regional planning from MIT (Cambridge, MA).

Suzanne Sloan

Principal Technical Advisor for Transportation Technology Policy

Suzanne SloanSuzanne Sloan serves as part of our team of principal technical advisors who work across the Center to identify emerging transportation technologies, conduct analyses and assessments on topics of national significance, and explore new opportunities in response to evolving national concerns.

Sloan serves as principal technical advisor for transportation technology policy. Read Suzanne Sloan's full bio.

 

 

Scott Smith

Operations Research Analyst

Scott SmithScott Smith, PHD is a senior operations research analyst with 25 years of experience in applying technology to improve transportation operations and safety across all modes. In addition to automation, his other recent U.S. DOT Volpe Center work in surface transportation has included support to FHWA on advanced travel models, the assessment of safety benefits of vehicle-to-vehicle intelligent transportation system deployments, an examination of the potential impact of intelligent transportation systems on regional planning models, and the development of several traffic assignment and simulation models.

Smith is co-chair of the Impact Assessment subgroup of the Trilateral (EU-US-JPN) Automation in Road Transportation Working Group. He holds Project Management Professional and Certified Analytics Professional certifications. Smith is a member of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, Project Management Institute, and the Transportation Planning Applications Committee of the Transportation Research Board. He holds a doctorate in civil engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA).

Evan Sullivan

Community Planner

Evan SullivanEvan Sullivan is a community planner in the Technology Innovation and Policy Division at the U.S. DOT Volpe Center. He contributes to a range of ITS JPO and FHWA policy research projects, some of which work with connected and automated vehicles, freight modeling, and traffic incident management practices.

Before coming to the U.S. DOT Volpe Center in 2016, Sullivan interned nearby for the City of Cambridge’s Community Development Department as a geographic information systems (GIS) analyst.

He holds an MA in urban and environmental policy and planning from Tufts University (Medford, MA), where he studied GIS, public policy, regional planning, land use law, qualitative research methods, urban design, and mediation. Sullivan also holds a BS in environmental engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Worcester, MA).

Last updated: Monday, August 15, 2022