Zephyr Leadership Award

The 2024 Zephyr Leadership Award was presented on January 9, 2024

Award Description

The Zephyr Leadership Award shall be given to an individual with demonstrated history of experience in the field who embodies the Zephyr Principles, and who embraces the Zephyr mission of advancing rigorous transportation and land use decision-making for the public good by advocating for and supporting improved travel analysis and facilitating its implementation.

Criteria used for selection:

  • Someone who has selflessly contributed to the good of the industry through the body of their work;
  • Collegial and collaborative, investing in shared technical knowledge and community assets in order to reach common goals (e.g. open access papers, code, documentation, and data);
  • Generous with their time such as investment in mentorship, community-assets, and other volunteer roles;
  • Respectful and thoughtful in their interactions; and
  • Goal-oriented towards the public good and usefulness, even if the pathway is unconventional.

Nominees are considered by a three-person award committee and forwarded to the Zephyr Board for approval. Awards are made at the TRB Annual Meeting.

2024 Awardee

Congratulations to the winner of the 2024 Impactful Research Award: Dr. Susan Handy

Dr. Susan Handy Delivers the Thomas B. Deen Distinguished Lectureship at the 2024 Transportation Research Board (TRB) Conference. Photo by METRANS Staff.

Dr. Handy’s contributions have profoundly advanced the theoretical and practical landscapes of our field. Her journey began with an education and professional experience grounded in civil engineering, where she first encountered the limitations of engineering-centric approaches to transportation challenges. This realization propelled her towards a doctorate in planning, aiming to address these issues with a broader, more integrated perspective. Her unique ability to navigate and bridge both the academic and practical realms as well as those of engineering and planning has fostered significant advancements and collaboration across these sectors.

A testament to her impact is her challenge to the traditional “predict and provide” methodology of long-range transportation planning, which she argued was neither effective nor sustainable—economically, socially, or environmentally. Rather than merely critiquing the status quo, Dr. Handy’s diverse experience fueled her empathy and collaborative spirit, enabling her to work alongside current professionals towards better solutions. Her research on induced demand not only provided empirical evidence but also supported the development and implementation of policies that acknowledge and address this phenomenon. Furthermore, Dr. Handy has been instrumental in creating and disseminating accessible, low-cost tools for communities, bridging the gap between sophisticated state resources and local needs.

Dr. Handy’s unwavering commitment to mentoring epitomizes her dedication to the future of transportation planning. Her ability to inspire a sense of purpose and innovation has influenced many in their careers, extending her legacy. Through her book “Shifting Gears” and beyond, Dr. Handy continues to shape the industry, reaching an audience far wider than her immediate circle.

As we honor her with the Zephyr Foundation Leadership Award, we not only celebrate her individual achievements but also her enduring impact on fostering an empathetic, curious, and pragmatic travel analysis community, propelling us toward a more thoughtful and inclusive future.

The 2024 Zephyr Leadership Award Committee was:

  • Bill Davidson
  • Elizabeth Sall
  • Greg Erhardt

Board Facilitator: Joe Castiglione

Presenter at the 2024 TRB Annual Meeting Reception: Joe Castiglione

Award Recipients

  • Joe Castiglione, 2019
  • Joan Walker, 2020
  • Bill Davidson, 2021
  • Elizabeth Sall, 2022
  • Greg Erhardt, 2023