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DOT Hires Sustainable Transpo Maven Michael Replogle to Guide Policy

2:59 PM EDT on March 27, 2015

Big hiring news from DOT today: Michael Replogle, who founded the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy and went on to tackle transportation issues at the Environmental Defense Fund, has been hired as deputy commissioner for policy at the agency.

DOT's incoming policy guru, Michael Replogle. Photo via Transforming Access
DOT's incoming policy director, Michael Replogle. Photo via Transforming Access
DOT's incoming policy guru, Michael Replogle. Photo via Transforming Access

“NYC DOT is very excited to have Michael Replogle return to New York to bring his three decades of expertise to New York’s streets in leading our Policy group,” Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said in a statement. “There are many challenges and ambitious goals ahead of us, and having Michael on the team will help shape our strategy and further define our mission moving forward.”

The position Replogle will fill has commanded broad influence over the direction of street design and the implementation of major agency programs. Previous DOT policy director Jon Orcutt held the job for seven years, during which he led the agency's strategic planning process, the deployment of Citi Bike, and the development of Vision Zero initiatives, before departing the agency last June.

"This was simply too amazing an opportunity to miss, and I am honored to work with Commissioner Trottenberg to enact Mayor de Blasio’s vision for safe, equitable, and sustainable transportation,” Replogle said in an statement ITDP sent out this morning.

Advocates have high expectations for Replogle at DOT.

Before he became executive director of Transportation Alternatives, Paul Steely White's first job out of graduate school was at ITDP. "Michael is just one of the giants in the field. There's very few people in the world who have his experience, depth, and breadth on transportation and land use policy," White said. "What he and Polly can do together, the sky's the limit. It's very good news for Vision Zero, for New York taking control of more of its destiny when it comes to transit."

Tri-State Transportation Campaign Executive Director Veronica Vanterpool said Replogle should make his mark on the city's BRT program. "ITDP has been a world leader on Bus Rapid Transit and it's great to have that international knowledge brought into the conversation about Bus Rapid Transit in New York City, particularly as DOT embarks on Woodhaven, which is the most ambitious BRT project in the city to date," she said.

Replogle returned to ITDP after his time at Environmental Defense, and he was managing director at the organization when it developed the Bus Rapid Transit Standard, a framework for evaluating the quality of BRT systems. New York City's Select Bus Service routes do not meet the scoring threshold to qualify as BRT.

In addition to his work on Bus Rapid Transit, Replogle has a background in active transportation. "He really got his start in non-motorized transportation," White said. "He was waving the flag for how important walking and biking were, and ultimately how that integrates with BRT."

While he has extensive research, policy, and advocacy experience, Replogle's only work inside government was as transportation coordinator for the Maryland National Capital Parks and Planning Commission in Montgomery County, where he worked from 1983 to 1992, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Replogle will begin work at DOT in June and plans to remain on the board of ITDP, the organization said, unless the city's Conflicts of Interest Board directs him to step down.

DOT made a number of other significant personnel changes today:

    • Josh Benson is moving up from director of bicycle and pedestrian programs to assistant commissioner for street improvement projects, where he will have a bigger hand in street redesigns.
    • Charles Ugkebu advances from deputy Bronx borough commissioner to assistant commissioner of regional and strategic planning, which is in charge of freight mobility, alternative fuels, and grants.
    • Mike Marsico, assistant commissioner for modeling and data analysis, now has parking policy and operations in his portfolio.

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