Women Leaders in Transportation: February 2020 Event Recap

The NYU Rudin Center for Transportation and C2SMART co-hosted a presentation and panel discussion highlighting female leaders in transportation this week in Brooklyn.

The program began with a presentation from Dr. Lily Elefteriadou, who discussed her current work on building algorithms and simulation tools for traffic signal control operations. She described the concept of an I-STREET, where vehicles, signals, and micro-mobility options are communicating to each other to create an autonomous traffic stream. 

Following the presentation, four women transportation leaders participated in a panel moderated by NYU Rudin Center Associate Director Sarah Kaufman:

  • Jennifer Strasser, Vice President, Cambridge Systematics, Inc.
  • Lily Elefteriadou, Professor and Direction, University of Florida Transportation Institute
  • Mary Kay Murphy, Director of Planning and Regional Development, PANYNJ
  • Meera Joshi, Principal and New York General Manager, Sam Schwartz


Panelists discussed the challenges faced by women in the transportation industry, including avoiding the “Mommy track” and being simply a representation of diversity rather than a valued voice. They also shared the unique opportunities women have to advance the field, including broadening perspectives in transportation decision-making.

All of the panelists said that transportation is changing and is in a better spot for women than it was when they started their careers. In response to a question about mentors, Ms. Murphy mentioned that previously men were the only mentors one could find, but with the growth in the number of women in the field there are more women to look to for guidance and inspiration.

They recommended several professional organizations as resources for burgeoning planners and transportation students: Intelligent Transportation Society of New York, Women’s Transportation Seminar, the Transportation Research Board, and the National Association for City Transportation Officials 


A video of Dr. Elefteriadou’s lecture can be found here