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Senior USDOT administrator, Peter Appel, leaves RITA

The administrator of the USDOT Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), Peter Appel, has announced that he is leaving the position that he has held for the past two and a half years – just as the October/November edition of Traffic Technology International went to press, which includes what may prove to be his final interview in his former role.

Appel was confirmed by the US Senate as administrator in April, 2009. Since joining RITA, he has worked with US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to advance key USDOT initiatives by using effective research and cross-modal coordination. These initiatives have included two Distracted Driving Summits, which have brought key transportation researchers, advocates, decision makers and other leaders together to address this growing safety issue. He was also instrumental in bolstering the USDOT’s Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Program to best improve safety, efficiency, and environmental sustainability across all modes of surface transportation. Other initiatives included the enhancement of the Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ data collection, coordination and analysis capabilities, and the establishment of the Department’s Safety Council, which brings together all 10 modal administrators to advance transportation safety across the Department of Transportation.

Before joining RITA, Appel was with the global management-consulting firm of AT Kearney Inc. Previously, he served as the special assistant to the administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration. He has degrees in Economics and Computer Science from Brandeis University and Science in Transportation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As the top political appointee at RITA, Appel led what he called “a terrific group of RITA professionals” from the ITS Joint Program Office, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Volpe Center, Transportation Safety Institute, Office of RD&T, and Office of Positioning, Navigation and Timing. “I am very proud of what the RITA team has accomplished in these years,” he said. “I feel very confident in the footing in which our agency sits, as our nation tackles the challenges ahead.” RITA’s deputy administrator, Greg Winfree, will assume the role of acting administrator.

30 September 2011



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