Faculty News

DOT advisory board taps Grengs for equity expertise

Associate Professor of Urban Planning Joe Grengs was appointed by former U.S. Secretary of Transportation (DOT) Anthony Foxx to serve on the DOT’s Federal Advisory Committee on Transportation Equity. The committee provides independent advice and recommendations regarding transportation planning, design, research, policy and advocacy.

Through his work, Grengs has proposed new approaches to carrying out legally mandated environmental justice evaluations; encouraged the strengthening of regional institutions to better address race and class disparities in transportation outcomes at the metropolitan scale; and advocated for greater investment in public transit that serves the poorest communities.

Commenting on his biggest contributions to this committee:

“I have been able to offer my advice directly to a U.S. Secretary of Transportation who genuinely seeks input on key policies and initiatives. More recently, our committee has provided a platform for resisting proposed changes in federal policy that threaten to undermine social equity.”

Advice to peers who are considering this kind of engagement:

“You’re likely to learn a lot from interacting with many highly accomplished experts and advocates, and you get the chance to influence outcomes at high levels of decision making.”

The value of being publicly engaged — to himself, the university and society:

“Work like this makes me a better teacher, allowing me to share cutting-edge policy issues with my students, and it makes me a better administrator by linking me up with influential thought leaders. As an urban planner, I aim to help make cities, towns and villages better places that improve the lives of the people who live in them. Engaging with the public is essential for that: to learn from the people who live in these places, to help craft better plans and policies, and to serve as an advocate for people who have few choices or influence in public decision making.”