Dr. José Holguín-Veras
Dr. José Holguín-Veras is the William H. Hart Professor, and Director of the Center for Infrastructure, Transportation, and the Environment; and the Volvo Research and Educational Foundations’ Center of Excellence on Sustainable Urban Freight Systems at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He received his B.Sc. in Civil Engineering, Magna Cum Laude, from the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in 1981; his M.Sc. from the Universidad Central de Venezuela in 1984; and his Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin in 1996. He has been a faculty member at The City College of New York (1997-2002), and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (2002-present). His work has received numerous awards, including the 2013 White House Champion of Change Award for his contributions to freight transportation and disaster response research.
Current research activities focus on three major areas: freight transportation demand modeling, sustainable freight policy, and humanitarian logistics. His work on freight demand modeling focuses on enhancing the realism of spatial price equilibrium models, and development of simplified modeling techniques. His work has led to more realistic mathematical models and significant methodological improvements that have challenged long held assumptions in the field. His work on sustainable freight policy studies the interactions between the agents involved in freight activity, to define ways to exploit these interactions to foster sustainable development and operations. His pioneering design of the off-hour delivery project in New York City—using incentives to receivers in exchange of their acceptance of off-hour deliveries—had a huge effect in freight policy. The City of New York adopted off-hour deliveries as part of its sustainability plan, and the US’ Federal Highway Administration decided to create a program to foster off-hour deliveries, based on the one pioneered in NYC, and to replicate it in cities throughout the US. Because of its impacts, TIME magazine identified off-hour deliveries as one of the “10 Ideas that Make a Difference” in traffic congestion. His research in humanitarian logistics has pioneered the multidisciplinary study of post-disaster humanitarian logistic operations. As part of the field work, his research group has conducted detailed analyses of the most prominent disasters of recent times, including: Hurricane Katrina, the Port-au-Prince earthquake, the tornadoes in Joplin and Alabama, Hurricane Irene, and the Tohoku disasters in Japan. The lessons learned are then used to support future disaster response policy and the development of novel analytical formulations.
His contributions to the solution of regional and national problems are numerous. As a member of the Board of the New York State Thruway Authority—the only researcher in the board’s history—he helps oversee toll policy and the replacement of the $5 billion Tappan Zee Bridge, one of the largest construction projects in the US. His contributions also cover disaster response; as a member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Disaster Research Roundtable, he advised the federal government in disaster response. He was one of the few researchers appointed as members of USDOT’s National Freight Advisory Committee, and the TRB Review Committee for the Truck Size and Weight study requested by Congress.
His leadership positions have included: President of the Pan-American Society of Transportation Research, which organizes the Pan-American Conferences of Traffic and Transportation Engineering; member of the Scientific Committee of the World Conference of Transport Research, Elected Member of the Council for the Association for European Transport, member of the International Organizing Committee of the City Logistics Conferences, member of technical committees at numerous professional organizations, and member of the editorial boards of the leading journals.
The list of awards he has received includes: the 2013 White House Transportation Champion of Change Award, CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation (2001-2006); a finalist of INFORMS’ 2017 Edelman Award; the Milton Pikarsky Memorial Award in 1996, from the Council on University Transportation Centers, the Salute to the Scholars Award from the City University of New York (in 2000 and 2001); the 2006 Robert E. Kerker Research Award in recognition of Excellence in Research of Special Importance to Practitioners and Scholars of Public Administration and Policy in New York State; the 2007 School of Engineering Research Award; and a Proclamation from the Council of the City of New York (2001). He is a fellow of: American Society of Civil Engineers (2013), State Academy of Public Administration (2006), International Road Federation (1991), Japanese International Cooperation Agency (1989), and the Organization of American States (1982-1984). According to Google Scholar, he is the most widely published and cited freight researcher in the world.