2020 YPT Award Winners Announced!

Congratulations to our winners! Our annual YPT Awards program was created to fill the void presented to young professionals in large, established transportation organizations. In the past we have only had two award categories two traditional award categories, the YPT Excellence in Innovation/Research Award and the YPT Project of the Year. 

This year we are excited to launch the YPT Changemakers in Transportation to highlight several outstanding YPT members who are making a significant impact in the field of transportation. 

YPT Changemakers in Transportation

Andrea Barbour, University of Tennessee – Knoxville – YPT Nashville

Andrea Barbour is the Special Projects Coordinator at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville. Andrea has been working diligently for the last 3 years to complete Regional Rural Transportation Plans for all Rural Planning Organizations (RPO) in Tennessee. Andrea has been working to develop regional level plans for all the RPOs to ensure regional problems are being evaluated and addressed throughout the planning process rather than just focusing on local issues, as is the traditional approach. With this approach to rural planning, the members of our RPOs have been looking at transportation issues through a wider lens rather than just looking at the issues in their specific town/city. The first RPO Andrea worked with to develop a regional wide plan was the Dale Hollow RPO, one of the most economically distressed areas within the state. Through the planning process, Andrea was able to identify regional level recommendations to address transportation issues, but also create economic development opportunities through transportation initiatives. The Dale Hollow RPO and the counties within now have a long-range plan to assist them in prioritizing the transportation needs across the region and assist them in earning future grants through the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT). Without the plan, the Dale Hollow RPO had little data to support the requests for transportation projects in the area. The impact she has made on the Dale Hollow RPO, and the other RPOs she is assisting, is undeniable.

Jasmine Richmond, American Public Transportation Association (APTA) – YPT DC

Jasmine Richmond works as the Educational Services Coordinator at American Public Transportation Association. Jasmine has extended the values of equitable, sustainable, and accessible transportation to hundreds of emerging leaders in the transit industry, students at all grade levels. She is always strategically building partnerships ranging from local schools to international youth development organizations to instill an appreciation and a curiosity in the transportation industry. Because of Jasmine’s work, APTA has extended its reach, and her programming and strategy has resulted in countless students, association members, and others deepening their interest and understanding of transportation, and setting up the industry to have more exposure and attract a diverse array of stakeholders and talent. 

Margaret-Avis Akofio-Sowah, WSP USA – YPT DC

Dr. Margaret-Avis Akofio-Sowah is an infrastructure asset management consultant with experience in both the research and practical aspects of asset management. She has led projects to implement Federal asset management regulations at both transit and highways agencies and is a co-author of industry Asset Management Guides including the FTA Transit Asset Management Guide for Small Providers and the 2019 update of the AASHTO Transportation Asset Management Guide. As a result of her work, she has presented at several industry conferences including the TRB Annual Meeting and the TRB National Transportation Asset Management Conference. She has published peer-reviewed articles in notable journals, including the Transportation Research Record and the ASCE Journal of Infrastructure Systems. She is also a member of the TRB Standing Committees on Transportation Asset Management (AJE30) and Strategic Management (AJE10) and an Associate Member of the Institute of Asset Management. Margaret also currently serves as President of the Ghana Transportation Professionals Forum (GTPF), an organization of professionals originally from Ghana or with an interest in Ghana who are based outside the country.

YPT Transportation Project of the Year

IH 45 Segment 2B

Emily Weigand, Jacobs – YPT Austin 

This project, titled “IH 45 Segment 2B” is the second and final proposed segment within the Central Walker County Project with the purpose to enhance freight mobility and address safety along the IH 45 corridor. The proposed changes will help meet current and future traffic needs resulting from increasing population growth and developmental trends in the region. In addition to the benefits discussed above, the project creates a route for hurricane evacuation.

YPT Excellence in Innovation/Research of the Year 

Transit Blues in the Golden State: Analyzing Recent California Ridership Trends

Jacob Lawrence Wasserman, University of California, Los Angeles Institute of Transportation Studies – YPT Los Angeles

In 2020, the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS) completed a comprehensive study of transit ridership trends in California and released two reports, one statewide, funded by the California Department of Transportation, and one on Bay Area trends, funded by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). This innovative work analyzed the ridership drop from all angles—including both supply-side and demand-side factors—to identify the factors most affecting transit use and the ways to best recover.

Additional team members who contributed to the report are: Andrew Schouten, Hannah King, Julene Paul, Madeline Ruvolo.