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Samer Madanat named director of UC Berkeley's Institute of Transportation Studies

 Samer Madanat
Samer Madanat (Peg Skorpinski photo)

– Samer Madanat, professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and director of the California Partners for Advanced Transit and Highways (PATH), has been named director of UC Berkeley's Institute of Transportation Studies.

Madanat will succeed Martin Wachs, who has served as director of the institute for six years. Founded in 1948, it is home to approximately 50 faculty members, 50 staff researchers and more than 100 graduate students.

"The Institute has a distinguished history and is one of the most venerable transportation research centers in the country," Wachs said. "In becoming its fifth director, Samer has an opportunity to lead the institute in a period of enormous challenges and opportunities. He is very well qualified by virtue of his own success in research, teaching and leadership, and under his direction I believe that the Institute will continue to prosper and expand."

ITS Berkeley has supported transportation research at the University of California since 1948. On average, its programs receive more than $25 million in research funds a year, one of the largest award totals for an organized research unit or academic department at Berkeley. In addition to its role as a UC Berkeley research unit, it is also headquarters to the UC-wide Institute of Transportation Studies, with affiliates on the three other campuses with graduate transportation programs, Davis, Irvine, and Los Angeles.

Areas of research include aviation and airport design and operation, intelligent transportation, transit, traffic safety, transportation finance, transportation economics, infrastructure design and maintenance, traffic theory, public policy, logistics, systems analysis, and environmental policy.

Madanat, 42, specializes in the problems of managing the maintenance and rehabilitation of transportation facilities. He received an undergraduate civil engineering degree at the University of Jordan, followed by a Master's and Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he specialized in transportation infrastructure systems. In 1996 he joined the faculty at Berkeley, and in 1999 he received the Science and Technology Award from the Office of the President of the University of California for his proposal to improve the way infrastructure maintenance decisions are made. The award is given annually to one faculty member in the UC system. He is the author of more than 40 journal articles, and is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Infrastructure Systems of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Wachs served as acting director of the Institute of Transportation Studies from August 1998 until he was named director in January 1999. He holds appointments as professor of City and Regional Planning and as Carlson Distinguished Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Madanat's appointment as director is effective starting July 1, 2005. At that time, he will step down as director of PATH, to be succeeded by Alexander Skabardonis, adjunct professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

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