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 9 years of management and executive experience in public transit and 12 years of experience conducting research, leading projects, and training. He specializes in transit performance management and measurement; collaborative problem solving; process improvement; data collection and analysis; transit planning, operations, and scheduling; customer and community outreach; transit funding and financial management; and applying innovation and technology to transportation challenges. 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.
Linda K. Cherrington is a research scientist with the TTI Transit Mobility Program. Her career in the transit industry spans more than 40 years and encompasses work in public sector operation, private consulting, and transit research. Ms. Cherrington worked 10 years with Houston METRO, where she held senior management positions in regional transit service planning and scheduling, transit operations, procurement and personnel, vehicle maintenance, and project development. Ms. Cherrington founded LKC Consulting Services, Inc. in 1986. For 17 years, LKC Consulting provided transit planning, operational analysis, and performance auditing for cities, rural transit agencies, and regional transit authorities nationwide. In 2003, Ms. Cherrington joined TTI to develop the Transit Mobility research program. She received the TTI Researcher Award in 2009 and the G. Sadler Bridges Senior Researcher Award in 2016.
You can learn more by viewing Linda’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.
Associate Research Scientist
Kelly is an associate research scientist in the Transit Mobility Program at TTI’s Austin office. Prior to joining the Transit Mobility team in February 2019, she worked as a consulting engineer and planner for Kittelson & Associates, Inc., in Oregon and Florida. In her 20 years at Kittelson, Kelly 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 the following:
- Transit planning and operations studies, including long- and short-range plans, sub-area plans, ridership forecasting efforts, performance evaluations, and capacity and quality of service assessments.
- Research and guidebook development for the Transit Cooperative Research Program, Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), and Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).
- On-call service provision to public sector clients including FDOT, ODOT, transit agencies, and metropolitan planning organizations.
- Conceptual design of transit stops and stations, bus running ways, and bus pullouts.
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.
Assistant Research Scientist
Zachary Elgart possesses a Master of Planning degree from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Arts in Recreation from California State University, Long Beach. His education focused on the intersection of urban design and transportation planning with an emphasis on active transportation. Zachary is responsible for a diverse range of projects in his role with the Transit Mobility Program. His interests and efforts focus on equity and accessibility, highlighting opportunities for alternative funding, innovative finance, alternative and active transportation, public health, and urban design. Zachary also provides transit expertise on behalf of the Transit Mobility Program to other teams of researchers within TTI as well as continuous technical assistance, peer comparison/benchmarking, Title VI equity and cost analysis efforts for various transit agencies in Texas and nationally.
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.
Assistant Research Scientist
Todd Hansen is an Assistant Research Scientist for the Transit Mobility Program at TTI with more than six years of transportation research experience. His work focuses on best practices for public transportation agencies, accessibility for persons with disabilities to fixed-route transit, innovative practices for coordination between public transit and transportation network companies, and analysis of transit agency operational and financial data. His work includes projects related to innovative concepts in transportation and mobility as they relate to transit agencies and mode choices. He has written and presented research on partnerships between TNCs and transit agencies, contributing to white papers and literature reviews on the subject. Mr. Hansen led work with Houston METRO’s paratransit division, METROLift, in researching topics of bus stop accessibility and feeder services for their Moving Forward initiative, focusing on peer agency practices and projecting cost-benefit analyses of the initiative components. Mr. Hansen also assisted with the Bus Stop Beacon Project at METRO in which focus groups tested the ability of Bluetooth beacons and smartphone apps to guide persons with visual disabilities to bus and rail stops in a fixed-route transit system. His other research experience includes TNC impacts on reducing alcohol-impaired driving and blind and visually impaired persons’ perceptions of TNCs. Mr. Hansen conducts research involving public and private service providers about their operations and experience in transportation, and technical assistance for transit agencies through operational capacity reviews of service performance and benchmarking data against measures from peer agencies. 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.
Associate Transportation Researcher
Shuman is an Associate Transportation Researcher in the Transit Mobility Program of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. She earned her Bachelor of Urban/Rural Planning & Resources Management degree in 2009 from Hohai University in China, and her Master’s of Urban Planning from Texas A&M University in 2013. Shuman joined TTI in January 2012 as a graduate assistant researcher, and was promoted to current position in January 2014. Her experience at TTI includes: (1) developing spreadsheets and GIS models using Census demographic information in developing Section 5310 funding allocation for the Texas Department of Transportation; (2) analyzing dispatch data for Houston METROLift, El Paso Sun MetroLIFT, and San Antonio Presa Community Center to use to optimize their services; (3) creating the feed data that meets Google’s General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) for CARTS and City of Port Arthur to share information through Google Maps; and (4) authoring transit strategies and urban planning strategies for the Mobility Investment Priorities project funded by the 82nd Texas Legislature through Rider 42. Additionally, Shuman has a keen interest in first-mile-and-last-mile issues of paratransit, regional mobility management and transportation data visualization. As a full-time employee, she has participated in several research projects about these topics, and is continuing her research into these areas.
You can learn more by viewing Shuman’s resume.
Assistant Transportation Researcher
James (Jimmy) Cardenas is an Assistant Transportation Researcher in the Transit Mobility Program at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. His research experience at TTI includes regional transit coordination planning, geospatial analysis, case study research, and data analysis, specifically involving National Transit Database (NTD) data and other transit databases. James has led and assisted with regional coordination planning efforts for multiple transit districts in Texas. James was a part of the research team for TCRP Research Report 192: Decision-Making Toolbox to Plan and Manage Park-and-Ride Facilities. He conducted case studies and authored two chapters for the guidebook. In the latest iteration of TTI’s Texas Transit Needs Assessment, James analyzed NTD and statewide transit databases to create rural and small urban transit cost inflation indices, used for accurately portraying cost allocations to fill identified needs in service and span. James holds a Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning from The University of Texas at Austin.
You can learn more by viewing James’ 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 students!
Jinuk is a Graduate Assistant Researcher in the Transit Mobility Program at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. He is also a doctoral student in the Ph.D. program in Urban and Regional Science at Texas A&M University. He earned a master’s degree in Urban Planning at Texas A&M in 2016 and completed his B.S. in Urban Engineering at Pusan National University, South Korea. His research interests for doctoral study include people with disabilities’ travel mode choice and the effects of the built environments and autonomous vehicles on their mobility improvements. Jinuk joined Transit Mobility Program in June 2015. His primary duties include (1) supporting research by providing spatial analysis and mapping using ArcGIS, (2) data collection, cleaning, and management, (3) preparing technical documentation, and (4) performing literature reviews and documenting case study research. Jinuk has assisted several projects in TTI, including Texas Transit District Profiles and Performance Dashboard, TCRP G-14 Contracting Commuter Rail Services, Track Sustainability Impacts to METROLift, GTFS Technical Assistance, among many others. He received the TTI Outstanding Doctoral Program Student Award and Scholarship in 2018.
You can learn more by viewing Jinuk’s CV.
Susanna Feather is a Graduate Assistant Researcher in the Transit Mobility Program for Texas A&M Transportation Institute. She holds a Bachelors of Business Administration degree from Texas A&M University, graduating in 2015. Currently, Susanna is pursuing a Masters degree at the University of Texas at Arlington, where she will graduate in December 2018 with a Masters of Public Administration and a certificate in Public Budgeting and Financial Management.
Susanna is a former staff member for Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. She also served as a Legislative Aide for the City of Fort Worth during the 85th Texas Legislative Session. Prior to her work for Mayor Price, Susanna worked for Pfizer Inc. in New York City, where she assisted their Government Relations and Public Affairs team. Susanna’s professional background provides a unique perspective to the Transit Mobility Team.
Ahmadreza Mahmoudzadeh is a Ph.D. student at the Civil Engineering department of Texas A&M University. He earned his Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Civil Engineering from Amirkabir University of Technology, Iran. His area of experience includes numerical and statistical analysis, optimization and behavior modeling, policy making, and planning.
He is currently working as a graduate research assistant in the Transit Mobility Program at Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI). His research at TTI includes data analysis & modeling, visualization, transit scheduling, geospatial analysis, and information extraction from big data.