Howdy from the Transit Mobility Team!
Please scroll down to read about each team member.
Michael J. Walk
Research Scientist, Program Manager
Michael is a research scientist in the Transit Mobility Program at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s Austin office. Michael has over 13 years of management and executive experience in public transit and 15 years of experience conducting research, leading projects, and training. He is the program manager of TTI’s Transit Mobility Program and leads a group of 8 other researchers conducting local, state, and national research on transit and shared mobility. Michael specializes in transit planning, operations, and scheduling; collaborative problem solving and process improvement; transit performance management and measurement; transit funding and financial management; transit regulatory compliance (e.g., Title VI and ADA); data collection and analysis; customer and community outreach; and applying innovation and technology to transportation challenges. Michael is a researcher by training and a transit professional by trade, and his work helps transit agencies and other transportation providers to bridge the gap between practice, innovation, and research.
Before coming to TTI in January 2016, Michael spent most of his professional career at the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) in Baltimore, MD. During his career there, Michael initiated many programs, including a performance management program called OpStat (short for operations statistics). Michael was then appointed as MTA’s first Chief Performance Officer and tasked to create the Office of Performance Management to implement an agency-wide performance management program. In these roles, Michael had many opportunities to lead solutions-oriented interdisciplinary teams to solve intransigent agency challenges.
Michael was then tasked as the Director Service Development, a role in which he served for 3 years. There, Michael was responsible for the data collection, planning, and scheduling for MTA’s directly operated bus, light rail, and metro subway services. In this role, Michael led the agency’s efforts to re-boot its local bus system. This work has given Michael a breadth of experience in public transportation and he has shared his work with the industry at large through regular presentations and lectures. Michael’s work and leadership earned him recognition in Mass Transit Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40.
Prior to working at the MTA, Michael obtained his M.S. in Applied Psychology from the University of Baltimore. His education there focused on organizational development, research methods, program evaluation, and statistics. He has also served as a freelance research consultant, a trainer focusing on Microsoft Excel and Access, and an adjunct professor.
You can learn more by viewing Michael’s resume.
John Overman is a research scientist with TTI in Arlington, Texas. He has 25 years of experience in transportation planning, programming and project development working with federal, state, local governments and transportation agencies. He is a certified instructor for the National Transit Institute (NTI) and National Highway Institute (NHI) and has delivered more than fifty courses on statewide and metropolitan transportation planning and programming across the country at a variety of state DOTs, transit agencies and metropolitan planning organizations. In 2009, he was invited by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) along with other transportation experts to teach at the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority in Mumbai, India.
Mr. Overman’s recent projects include assessing transit alternatively fueled and electric bus fleets, project development and readiness, integrating right-of-way and environmental processes; estimating air quality and environmental impacts. He has participated as a researcher for NCHRP projects and panelist for the TCRP, and he facilitates peer exchanges on state DOT research practices. Mr. Overman has prepared numerous guidebooks and has conducted training related to transportation planning, environmental processes, project development, assessment, readiness, and compliance.
You can learn more by viewing John’s resume.
Will is a research scientist with TTI in Dallas, Texas. Will has 42 years of consulting, operations management, software and business development experience in the public transportation industry. He is nationally recognized as an expert in planning, designing, evaluating and improving ADA, human service, coordinated and general public paratransit services; the use of TNCs and taxis for alternative paratransit and microtransit; mobility management and MaaS services; and coordination strategies on a local, regional and statewide scale. In these areas, he has served as the Principal Investigator on several ground-breaking TCRP/NCHRP studies and contributed to several others. Will has also been an FTA ADA paratransit compliance reviewer for several systems, and has prepared regulations for taxis, livery services, and other private-for-hire services for several large metropolitan areas throughout the US.
You can lean more by viewing Will’s resume.
Associate Research Scientist
Kelly is an associate research scientist in the Transit Mobility Program at TTI. Prior to joining the Transit Mobility Program team in February 2019, she worked as a consulting engineer and planner for Kittelson & Associates, Inc., in Oregon and Florida. Over her 21-year career, she has managed and conducted a variety of transit planning and operations studies, multimodal transportation planning studies, transportation research projects, guidebook development efforts, on-call contracts and tasks serving diverse public sector clients, traffic impact and trip generation studies, conceptual and final design projects, and public involvement efforts. Kelly’s transit experience spans transit planning and operations studies for a range of public agencies, including transit agencies of all sizes, cities, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), and state departments of transportation (DOTs); research and guidebook development; conceptual design of transit infrastructure; and on-call service provision. Since joining TTI, Kelly has worked on projects that include transit planning studies for small urban/rural areas in Texas, an intercity bus service assessment, school district transportation audits, TCRP Synthesis projects focused on innovative transit planning and bus stop programs, and transit funding evaluations.
Kelly is a Texas native who obtained her M.S. in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University and her B.S. in Civil Engineering from Rice University. She is a registered Professional Engineer in Texas, Florida, and Oregon. Kelly received the Institute of Transportation Engineers Past Presidents’ Award for Merit in Transportation in 2008.
You can learn more by viewing Kelly’s resume.
Associate Research Scientist
Zachary has nine years of transportation research experience and is responsible for a diverse range of projects. In his role with TTI’s Transit Mobility Program he contributes to work in the areas of equity, justice, accessibility, shared and active modes, public health, innovative finance, and urban design. Zachary is the Transit Mobility program’s lead investigator for research on transportation equity and access with a focus on projects that seek to preserve and improve access to the transportation network for marginalized and underserved communities. Since 2016 he has led seven such projects including an assessment the equity implications of new and emerging fare payment technologies, three projects to conduct equity analyses for transit access, and two projects that resulted in unique standalone equity analysis training programs/curriculums. In July 2020 he initiated a new project, as PI, to investigate opportunities to enhance state-level methods for assessing and improving transportation equity and accessibility for all users. Additionally, he is a key researcher on Transit Cooperative Research Program project B-47 investigating the impacts of transformational mobility technologies on underserved communities.
Before joining the Transit Mobility team at TTI, Zachary held a 6-month Transportation Finance Research Fellowship with the Southern California chapter of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. Prior to his fellowship, he worked as a research assistant for the METRANS Transportation Center at The University of Southern California’s Price School for nearly 2 years.
You can learn more by viewing Zachary’s resume.
Associate Research Scientist
Todd Hansen is an Associate Research Scientist for the Transit Mobility Program at TTI with eight years of transportation research experience, including significant contributions to other TCRP projects. His work focuses on best practices for public transportation agencies, innovative practices in on-demand transportation, public transit and TNC partnerships, accessibility to fixed-route transit, and analysis of transit agency operational and financial data. Mr. Hansen is interested in transformational technologies in transportation and how public transit can utilize service concepts that are offered in areas of shared mobility, mobile technology platforms, and on-demand scheduling to strengthen the level of service provided to passengers. He has written and presented research on partnerships between transit agencies and on-demand transportation companies, including white papers, case study research, literature reviews, and workshops. He has also contributed to research about state statutes on TNCs, perceptions of TNCs by persons with visual disabilities, and TNCs as a deterrent of drunk-driving behavior. Mr. Hansen has led research with Capital Metro to create an evaluation framework and service standards for the agency’s microtransit service, researching existing practices and guidance in new mobility performance measurement, developing a typology of microtransit service zones, and testing the evaluation framework using actual service data. Mr. Hansen led the development of the Two-Variable Cost Allocation Calculator for National RTAP, which enables transit agencies to allocate operational costs across their routes and services by vehicle hours and miles data. Mr. Hansen has led work with Houston METRO’s paratransit division, METROLift, in projects on bus stop accessibility prioritization and paratransit feeder service to fixed-route transit for their Moving Forward initiative. Mr. Hansen annually leads a data quality review for the Public Transportation Division of TxDOT, analyzing operational and financial data reported from all state-funded urban and rural transit agencies in Texas and facilitating subsequent rural data reporting to the National Transit Database. He is the paper review coordinator and a member of the TRB Committee on Accessible Transportation and Mobility (AME50), leading decisions on conference programming and assisting with research priorities for the committee. He is also a member of the TRB Committee on Transit Data (AP090). He has earned a Master of Urban Planning from Texas A&M University, and is certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).
You can learn more by viewing Todd’s resume.
James (Jimmy) Cardenas
Associate Transportation Researcher
James (Jimmy) Cardenas is an associate transportation researcher in the Transit Mobility Program at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. His research experience at TTI includes region public transit and human services coordination planning, case study research, survey research, financial analysis, geospatial analysis, and data analysis, specifically involving National Transit Database (NTD) data and other transit datasets.
Jimmy has led or contributed work to several Coordinated Public Transit Human Services Transportation Plans in Texas. During the past year, Jimmy led the effort to review and evaluate the state’s current regional planning metrics, which involved a peer study and lead agency focus groups. Jimmy also led the effort to evaluate and recommend updates to the state’s regional coordination planning website.
You can learn more by viewing Jimmy’s resume.
Graduate Student Researchers
TTI is committed to developing tomorrow’s transportation workforce. A part of that commitment is manifest in our hiring and developing graduate students. Graduate student researchers conduct their own, independent research, support Transit Mobility researchers, and are engaged in team decision making. Learn more about our current graduate student!