The U.S. DOT Volpe Center's Transportation Planning Division develops and advances transportation-planning projects and programs at the international, national, state, and local levels, through analysis, research, evaluation and oversight work, and communications.
Our team is composed of planners, engineers, and analysts. Our work provides expertise to planning evaluation and oversight, systems planning, performance measurement, project planning and programmatic support, and communications best practices.
This Division is also home to our Public Lands Team, which helps federal land management agencies resolve complex transportation challenges at both the program and project levels. Our work draws on expertise in a variety of fields, including transportation planning and engineering, environmental science and policy, acoustics, and modeling.
Impartial Investigations and Program Evaluations
- Planning Evaluation and Oversight: Evaluate transportation plans and planning processes to determine consistency with applicable requirements, assess results, and identify opportunities for improvement.
- Systems Planning: Analyze and conceptualize transportation system operations, estimate demand, calculate lifecycle capital and operating costs, assess potential incorporation of advanced technologies, and develop financing, budgeting, and implementation strategies.
- Performance Measurement:
- Conduct research on alternative ways to measure the performance and improve the operation of transportation systems
- Collect, analyze, and communicate data to help partners make informed decisions.
- Project Planning and Programmatic Support: Provide “on-the-ground” support and assistance for transportation planning programs at the community and state levels.
- Communications Expertise:
- Communicate lessons learned and best practices to improve transportation planning and decision making.
- Leverage best practices for facilitating successful internal and public meetings, execute stakeholder outreach and communications campaigns, and accelerate innovative partnerships
Environmental Analysis, Science, and Engineering
- Technology Evaluation and Deployment: Propose and evaluate visitor use and advanced mobility technologies
- Project, Program, and Policy Development: Advance economical, socially just, and environmentally sustainable access to public lands
- Environmental Analysis and Modeling: Resolve environmental challenges through data collection, modeling, and compliance activities
- Transportation Safety Analysis: Develop safety programs and analyze site-specific safety concerns
Meet Our Team
View selected staff biographies.
Rachel Strauss McBrien
Master of City Planning, University of Pennsylvania
Bachelor of Arts in English, Boston College
Rachel Strauss McBrien is the acting chief of the Transportation Planning Division, formerly a community planner in the Program Development and Capacity Building Division at the U.S. DOT Volpe Center in Cambridge, MA. In this role, McBrien works with a range of federal agencies, including FAA, FHWA, FTA, National Park Service, and the U.S. DOT Office of the Secretary for Policy, to promote strategies and activities that advance the work of their offices and support efforts that encourage information-sharing and foster dialogue. She has extensive experience in facilitating interagency coordination to achieve a common goal. In addition, McBrien develops and delivers products, including written materials, workshops, and webinars, that showcase best practices in transportation planning and project delivery across the United States. Her current work includes projects related to transportation planning capacity building, air tour management planning, scenario planning, and environmental streamlining and stewardship.
McBrien holds a master’s degree in city planning from the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA), with a concentration in sustainable transportation and infrastructure planning, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Boston College (Newton, MA) with a BA in English. She is also a member of the American Planning Association (APA), serving on the APA Massachusetts Chapter’s Transportation Committee. She is certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners.
Master of Public Policy and Management, Carnegie Mellon University
Bachelor of Science in Anthropology: Global Health in the Environment, Washington University in St. Louis
Sophie Abo joined the U.S. DOT Volpe Center's Transportation Planning Division in 2022. As a transportation planner at the U.S. DOT Volpe Center, she develops strategies for national policy, conducts research and disseminates information about best practices, and designs solutions for local and regional transportation challenges. Abo works with a range of federal agencies, the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, FHWA, and FTA. Prior to joining the U.S. DOT Volpe Center, Abo working at the Brookings Institution's Metro Program researching barriers to private investment in resilient infrastructure projects. Before Brookings, she managed the transportation demand management program at a private real-estate developer in Pittsburgh. View Sophie Abo’s LinkedIn profile.
Master of Urban and Environmental Planning, University of Virginia
Bachelor of Science in Architecture, Washington University in St. Louis
Jonah Chiarenza has more than 15 years of experience in public, private, and non-profit planning organizations. As a transportation planner at U.S. DOT Volpe Center, he develops strategies for national policy, conducts research and disseminates information about best practices, and designs solutions for local and regional transportation challenges. Chiarenza works with a range of federal agencies, including FHWA, FTA, U.S. Forest Service, and National Park Service, and works with state DOTs and MPOs, local municipalities, national organizations including TRB and NACTO, and academic and research institutions.
Prior to joining the U.S. DOT Volpe Center, he served as a senior transportation planner with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) leading the design and implementation of major complete streets projects and managing implementation of San Francisco’s WalkFirst pedestrian safety program in support of Vision Zero. Previous to SFMTA, Chiarenza was an associate with a consulting firm leading transit-oriented development, urban design, and planning policy and implementation projects.
Program Support Specialist
Bachelor of Science in General Studies, Indiana University Bloomington
Moira DeFabrizio joined the U.S. DOT Volpe Center's Environmental Science and Engineering Division in 2015. During her five years with the division, she provided general clerical support and assisted with scheduling meetings and travel, and facilitating contractual agreements between the U.S. DOT Volpe Center and federal sponsors. In 2020, DeFabrizio moved to the Transportation Planning Division to support project-based work for sponsors and project managers. She has extensive experience in private industry, including her previous employment as a receptionist at the Offices of the United States Attorneys and as an office manager at a local law firm.
Operations Research Analyst
Master of Public Policy, Harvard University
Bachelor of Science in Biology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Eric Englin is an operations research analyst with expertise in data science and emerging technologies. He currently manages the National Park Service National Capital Region Portfolio, which is focused on improving safety, equity, and access, particularly for bicyclist and pedestrians. Englin works with a range of federal agencies, including the Office of the Secretary of Transportation, FHWA, FTA, and National Park Service, and he works with other non-federal sponsors including the Santos Foundation, the City of Boston, and other state and local municipalities, and NACTO. Englin’s focus includes integrating emerging technologies and data into transportation planning and operations.
Master of Urban Planning, Harvard University Graduate School of Design
Bachelor of Science in Architecture, New Jersey Institute of Technology
Mary Geschwindt, community planner, joined the U.S. DOT Volpe Center through the Pathways Program in 2021. She supports transportation planning and design efforts with the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management, as well as research initiatives with the FHWA Office of Human Environment. Recent accomplishments include advancing innovative ways to pilot ridehailing and micromobility solutions in National Parks, research to realize the potential of trails as transportation, and conceptual designs reimagining the transportation assets at Forest Service and National Park Service sites. Prior to joining the U.S. DOT Volpe Center, Geschwindt worked in the private sector as an architectural designer, contributing to designs and master plans for public infrastructure projects in New York City. In addition to her design and planning experience, her research focuses on the intersection between labor and transportation in the gig economy. View Mary Geschwindt’s LinkedIn profile.
Master of City Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Barnard College, Columbia University
Amalia Holub is a community planner with more than a dozen years of transportation planning and policy expertise. She leads U.S. DOT Volpe Center support to the National Park Service’s Park Planning, Facilities, and Lands Directorate, Park Facility Management Division, and Pacific West Region. These portfolios draw on a team of more than 80 multidisciplinary staff from across the U.S. DOT Volpe Center, working on dozens of active projects ranging from national transportation policy and funding strategies to site-specific emerging mobility pilots and electric vehicle transition. Holub has also overseen work with FHWA and the Office of the Secretary on topics including safety, bicycle/pedestrian connectivity, micromobility, and equity. Prior to joining the U.S. DOT Volpe Center, her career included work in state government, an international sustainable transportation non-profit in Argentina, and the private sector.
Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Analysis and Policy, Boston University
Larissa Ireland has worked as a policy analyst at the U.S. DOT Volpe Center since 2020. Her work supports the National Park Service, FHWA, U.S. Forest Service, DOT Office of the Secretary, and other federal agencies. Ireland’s work focuses on public lands transit and transportation planning, including accessibility to and within parks, fleet electrification, and safety, and she has supported research and program development on virtual public involvement, planning and data sharing partnerships, travel and tourism, and more. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Analysis and Policy from Boston University. View Larissa Ireland’s LinkedIn profile.
Master of Sustainable Transportation, University of Washington
Bachelor of Arts in International Political Economy, The College of Idaho
Kaite Justice is a transportation planner with an expertise in transit service planning, equity and access in planning, community engagement, and intelligent transportation systems. She oversees the U.S. DOT Volpe Center’s portfolios for National Park Service Alaska Region and FHWA Office of Federal Lands Highway Western Division. She also supports transit and alternative transportation planning for National Park Service regional offices and U.S. Forest Service. Before joining the U.S. DOT Volpe Center, Justice worked for seven years as a program director and transportation planner for a regional public transportation authority in the Boise, Idaho region.
Master of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, Tufts University
Bachelor of Science in Marine and Freshwater Biology, University of New Hampshire
Katie Lamoureux is a community planner with more than 13 years of experience working with federal, state, and local agencies to help find context-sensitive solutions to transportation and land use planning challenges. She currently manages the U.S. DOT Volpe Center portfolio with the Bureau of Land Management and FHWA Office of Federal Lands Highway Central Division and is providing on-site technical assistance to the NPS Northeast Region Alternative Transportation Program. Lamoureux also supports work for the U.S. Forest Service, FHWA Office of Planning, FHWA Office of Transportation Performance Management, FTA, and others. Her work has focused on performance-based planning and programming, long-range planning, resiliency planning, and alternative transportation planning and programming. Lamoureux is an experienced facilitator and brings more than 10 years of experience as a watershed planner and scientist prior to coming to the U.S. DOT Volpe Center. View Katie Lamoureux’s LinkedIn profile.
Michael Littman, P.E.
Masters of Science, Transportation Engineering, Northeastern University
Bachelors of Science, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Northeastern University
Michael Littman, P.E. is a transportation engineer and joined the U.S. DOT Volpe Center in 2021 with about ten years of experience in private consulting. He works on a variety of transportation planning, safety, and analysis projects primarily within the National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, and FHWA. Littman co-manages the NPS National Capital Region portfolio to conduce transportation studies while navigating complex, multi-jurisdictional, multi-disciplinary, transportation projects within the region. He also participates in many of the U.S. DOT Volpe Center grant review programs through FHWA serving as a subject matter expert reviewing technical grants under the Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) Grant and the Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) Grant.
Master of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Michigan, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
Bachelor of Music Education, University of Michigan, School of Music, Theatre & Dance
Kevin McCoy, a community planner, has worked at the U.S. DOT Volpe Center since 2011. He manages the U.S. DOT Volpe Center’s portfolio with National Park Service’s (NPS) Transportation Planning Program, which includes developing and updating the NPS National Long Range Transportation Plan and numerous park-level planning projects. McCoy also leads transportation planning research and oversight projects for FHWA, FTA, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy, and the Department of Agriculture. He has recently led multi-year research and capacity building efforts on advancing equity in the transportation planning process, virtual public involvement, the importance of highways to U.S. agriculture, and incorporating shared mobility service into metropolitan and statewide transportation planning. McCoy is a member of the Transportation Research Board’s Standing Committee on Transportation Planning Policy and Processes.
Jasmine Platt, PhD
Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy and Administration, Boise State University
Master of Public Administration, Boise State University
After completing her Pathways internship with the U.S. DOT Volpe Center's Program Development and Capacity Building Division, Jasmine Platt, PhD joined the Transportation Planning Division in 2023. Her prior experience with the Idaho Transportation Department includes the enforcement of FMCSA, FHWA, and U.S. Department of Labor policies and programs governing commercial driver licensing and commercial driver/vehicle safety; Civil Rights/EEO/DBE/OJT-SS; and federally funded highway and bridge construction contracting. As a policy analyst, Platt lends her intersectoral background to a variety of projects, which improve the safety, mobility, and economic opportunity of federal land management agencies through grants, contracts, and other public-public or public-private partnerships (PPP).
Public Lands Team Lead
Master of City and Regional Planning, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Bachelor of Arts in International Relations/Political Science, Carleton College
Benjamin Rasmussen is a community planner with expertise in shuttle service planning in public lands, non-motorized transportation planning and evaluation, regional and long-range transportation planning, and resiliency planning. In addition to managing portfolios for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service Midwest Region, he leads and coordinates the work of the U.S. DOT Volpe Center's public lands team. Rasmussen has also worked with FHWA, FTA, and local, regional, and state transportation planning agencies. Before joining the U.S. DOT Volpe Center, he worked as a senior program officer for an international environmental non-profit organization and as a transportation planner for a metropolitan planning organization. Rasmussen is a member of the Transportation Research Board’s Metropolitan Policy, Planning, and Processes Committee and the Special Task Force on Climate Change and Energy.
Read additional reports by Benjamin Rasmussen.
Master of Community Planning, University of Maryland
Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, The Ohio State University
Laura Richards is a community planner with more than eleven years of transportation planning, analysis, and policy expertise. She supports the U.S. DOT Volpe Center support to the National Park Service’s Park Planning, Facilities, and Lands Directorate, Park Facility Management Division, and the Bureau of Land Management portfolio. These portfolios involve working on several active projects ranging from grant technical assistance, safety initiatives, policy and regulation development and updates, congestion management, and transit electrification. Richards has also supported work with FHWA and the Office of the Secretary on freight projects and topics.
Prior to joining the U.S. DOT Volpe Center, she served as a senior associate with Cambridge Systematics, leading a variety of transportation projects across the country including curb management, freight planning, safety studies, and general transportation planning and performance measure development. Richards also supported the Transportation Improvement Process with Eastern Federal Lands and managed the freight program at District Department of Transportation.