Team - TransitCenter
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David Bragdon
Executive Director

David has been at the helm of TransitCenter since 2013, leading its reinvention as a civic philanthropy. He assembled the crew and sets direction for the foundation’s mission to improve urban transportation.

He’s a reformer by nature, who’s led change and organizational improvement in both the public and private sectors. He spent the early part of his career as a maritime and aviation freight dog, and was then elected to two terms as President of the Metro Council, the regional government for the Portland, Oregon area. He drove a taxi cab for a year, jump-seated a 747 freighter into the then-USSR, rode a Dutch container ship up the Strait of Malacca, and twice (once for two minutes in Minnesota and once for five minutes in Iowa) has been allowed to run the engineer’s throttle on a freight train, so he knows how to move big things.

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Tabitha Decker
Deputy Executive Director

Tabitha works with David to set TransitCenter’s direction, oversees the execution of that strategy in our program work, and leads organizational development.

Tabitha’s work for more equitable and sustainable urban transit is underpinned by more than a decade of research in cities around the world, on topics ranging from gender and mobility to the political stakes of new urban rail systems. As a Thomas J. Watson fellow, she carried out a comparative study of the experiences of women taxi drivers. She subsequently spent a year researching the political significance of the creation of the Dubai Metro. She's committed to radically improving access to everyday mobility as a foundation for fairer cities.

She has a BA in international relations from Wellesley College and a PhD in sociology from Yale University.

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Stephanie Lotshaw
Director, Agency Practice

Stephanie leads the Agency Practice team at TransitCenter. The team advocates for policy changes to systemic issues in transit agency governance and operations. She oversees the team’s research and practice synthesis, direct assistance work, and program-related grant making. The program aims to uplift, inspire, and assist those working in the field and ensure that riders are represented and at the core of all decision-making.

Prior to TransitCenter, Stephanie worked at the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy (ITDP) on bus rapid transit projects in the U.S., Kenya, and Uganda. Stephanie has 15 years of professional experience in the transportation and international development sectors. She received a Master of Social Science, Honors from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Colorado College.

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Steven Higashide
Director of Research

Steven manages national research focused on what transit riders want, and how cities can build transit-supportive streets and neighborhoods.

He’s the author of several influential TransitCenter reports, including All Transportation is Local and Who’s on Board 2016.

He holds a B.A. from New York University and a Masters in Urban Planning from NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

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Ben Fried
Communications Director

Ben Fried oversees TransitCenter’s press strategy and communications. Previously he covered the movement for better transit and more people-friendly city transportation systems as editor-in-chief of Streetsblog.

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Mary Dailey
Director of Advocacy & Organizing

Mary Dailey is a skilled organizer and non-profit manager.

From 2005 to 2017 she worked with the Center for Community Change where she was part of the organization’s Executive Team.  Mary managed national campaigns and re-granting programs in the areas of job creation, retirement security and healthcare. She was part of the decision making group behind Health Care for America Now (HCAN), the coalition largely credited with passage of the Affordable Care Act.

From 1986 to 2005 Mary organized with, and was Executive Director of, the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition.  While with the NWBCCC she helped drive city and state coalitions to expand tenant protections, expand proactive enforcement of the housing code, increase capital spending on housing preservation and production, and curb speculative lending and underwriting by institutional lenders and mortgage brokers.

She lives in south Yonkers with her marriage partner Howard Banker and goes to off-broadway plays whenever possible.

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Jerome Horne
Director of Transit Leadership Development

Jerome leads TransitCenter's strategies around increasing representative leadership and inclusive decision-making in the transportation field, change that is essential to advancing TransitCenter’s mission to improve transit in ways that make our cities more just and sustainable. Additionally, he plays an important role in determining best practices of agencies on rider engagement and works closely with our agency practice and advocacy teams to identify cities to target for replication of those practices.

Jerome comes to TransitCenter with experience from IndyGo and Foursquare Integrated Transportation Planning, where he worked in roles concentrating on proactive community engagement and the rider experience of using transit.

He lives in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn and enjoys taking walks through nearby Prospect Park. Jerome rides transit whenever possible, likes to bike, and curates his extensive collection of transit memorabilia known as the International Micro Museum of Transit.

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Hayley Richardson
Communications Manager

Hayley works to translate wonky transportation concepts into delightful and digestible media. She directs TransitCenter’s video series, designs reports, writes for the blog, and spends way too much time crafting the perfect Instagram story.

She is an alumna of the George Washington University and Pratt Institute.

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Jessica Cruz
Advocacy and Organizing Program Manager

Jessica’s previous work has included advocating for equitable transportation and housing access for marginalized populations in New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Los Angeles. Most recently she worked as a Lead Planner for the Office of the Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. in the Planning and Development Team focusing on transportation, housing, and economic development projects. She also worked as a Senior Site Coordinator for Transform, where she helped champion for Safe Routes to Schools in communities throughout Alameda County. Jessica graduated with a MS in Urban Planning from Columbia University and a BA in Urban Studies from the University of California Berkeley.

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Chris Van Eyken
Program Manager, Agency Practice

Chris’s work focuses on encouraging transit agencies to adopt best practices and needed reforms. Chris has advocated for better transit as an agency staff member and as an external advocate. He has provided technical support to agencies in the US and abroad.

Chris holds a B.A. in International Affairs from the George Washington University and a Master of Urban Planning from Hunter College.

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Josanne Jackson
Finance and Operations Manager

Josanne is the Finance and Operations Manager at TransitCenter. She ensures that the office operates efficiently and smoothly. In addition, she provides administrative, finance and accounting support.

In her leisure time, she enjoys reading, baking and traveling.

Josanne holds a B.S. in Management Studies from the University of Maryland Global Campus (formerly University of Maryland University College).

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Ashley Pryce
Advocacy and Organizing Program Manager

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Ashley has long been motivated to work with community to build the spaces they need and deserve.

She has a background in urban planning and over 10 years of experience spanning local government, public health, and real estate. At TransitCenter she works with advocates across the country to fight for better transit through co-development of advocacy strategy, grant-making, direct action, and training facilitation. Prior to joining the TransitCenter team she worked to create more equitable transit in the greater Boston area.

Ashley holds a master’s degree in city and regional planning from Cornell University and a B.A. in urban studies from Hunter College.

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Mary Buchanan
Research Manager

Mary provides research and analytical support to TransitCenter programs. This entails working with industry experts to identify trends in transit as well as helping transit agencies and advocates to understand transit performance and ridership.

Mary holds a B.A. in Economics and French from Rice University and a Masters in City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University.

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Kapish Singla
Communications and Events Manager

Kapish programs events at TransitCenter. He works to identify pressing transit-related discussions to develop into informative panels and film screenings. He is also the host of TransitCenter's podcast, High Frequency.

Kapish holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University and an M.A. from New York University.

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Tom Pera
Program Associate, Agency Practice

Tom works to better understand, develop, and distribute best practices for public agencies.  Before joining TransitCenter, he worked in Bus Network Redesign at New York City Transit.

Tom holds a B.A. in Urban Studies & Philosophy from the College of Wooster and is an alumnus of Cornell University's City & Regional Planning graduate program.

Eric S. Lee
President, Bennett Midland, LLC

Mr. Lee is President of Bennett Midland, LLC, a management consulting company based in New York City. For fifteen years, he has developed innovative solutions to address problems in urban planning, community and economic development, and criminal justice. Mr. Lee served as senior policy advisor for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and was a founding director of the Center for Court Innovation.

Darryl Young
Director, Sustainable Cities, Summit Foundation

Darryl Young is the Director of the Summit Foundation’s Sustainable Cities Program. Previously, he led the public relations practice at Riester, a national advertising, public relations and social marketing firm. Darryl has served as the Director of the California Department of Conservation and has been a Member of the California Board of Forestry, the Acting Director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and served for ten years in the California State Legislature. He currently serves on the boards of the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities, the Story of Stuff Project, and the National Main Street Center.

Jennifer Dill
Professor and Director, Transportation Research and Education Center, Portland State University (PSU)

Dr. Dill is an internationally-recognized scholar focusing on interactions between transportation, the built environment, and health, particularly, bicycling, walking, and transit. She directs the Transportation Research and Education Center at PSU, and serves on journal editorial boards and committees of the Transportation Research Board. Prior to entering academia, Dr. Dill worked for a decade as a planner in California.

Christof Spieler
Vice President, Huitt-Zollars

Christof Spieler, PE, AICP, LEED AP, is a Vice President and Director of Planning at Huitt-Zollars, a former member of the board of directors of Houston Metro, and a Senior Lecturer at the Rice University Schools of Architecture and Engineering. At Huitt-Zollars, he has led land use and transportation planning projects in a variety of settings. At Metro, he initiated the Transit System Reimagining process, a blank sheet re-design of the entire bus system.

He has spoken and written extensively on transit and urban design and has assisted with the development of APTA and NACTO transit guidelines. His book "Trains, Buses, People: an Opinionated Atlas of US Transit" was published in 2018 by Island Press. He holds a BS and MS in Civil Engineering from Rice University and is a licensed professional engineer. He lives in downtown Houston and relies on transit for most of his daily trips.

Clare Newman
President & CEO at Trust for Governors Island

Clare Newman is the President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island, charged with the planning, redevelopment, and ongoing operations of 150 acres of Governors Island. Previously, she served as Chief of Staff at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and as a senior leader on Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Government Innovation team.

Ms. Newman received a Masters of Urban Planning from GSAPP at Columbia University and a B.A. with honors in Political Economy from Williams College.

Fred Neal Jr.
Senior Planner with Villavaso and Associates

Fred Neal Jr., AICP is a Senior Planner with Villavaso and Associates and a member of the Board of the Commissioners of the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA), where he serves as chair of the board Operations and Administration Committee.  Additionally, he is the board liaison to the RTA Riders Advisory Committee. 

Fred is a founding member of RIDE New Orleans, a non-profit organization and civic coalition that advocates for world class and equitable public transportation for the New Orleans region.  As a RIDE board member Fred plays a critical role in RIDE’s key activities — building the rider voice, driving the conversation around transit and winning tangible changes and transit improvements. 

Fred lives in the historic Central City neighborhood of New Orleans and is engaged in many community activities.  He happily uses the bus, streetcar and bike share for many of his daily trips.

Ratna Amin
Senior Strategic Advisor, Caltrain

Ratna Amin is a Senior Strategic Advisor at Caltrain, where she shapes governance, urban policy, and partnerships. She has worked in transportation, planning and public policy, and community development across the Bay Area.

Tamika Butler
Founder + Principal, Tamika L. Butler Consulting, LLC

Tamika L. Butler is a national expert and speaker on issues related to the built environment, equity, anti-racism, diversity and inclusion, organizational behavior, and change management. As the Principal + Founder of Tamika L. Butler Consulting she focuses on shining a light on inequality, inequity, and social justice. Most recently, she was the Director of Planning, California and the Director of Equity and Inclusion at Toole Design. Previously, Tamika served as the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, a non-profit organization that addresses social and racial equity, and wellness, by building parks and gardens in park-poor communities across Greater Los Angeles. Tamika has a diverse background in law, community organizing and nonprofit leadership. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Urban Planning at the University of California, Los Angeles. Tamika received her J.D. from Stanford Law School, and received her B.A. in Psychology and B.S. in Sociology at Creighton University in her hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. She lives in Los Angeles with her wife, son, and daughter. 


Lisa Bender
Former President, Minneapolis City Council

Lisa Bender was first elected to the Minneapolis City Council in 2013 and re-elected in 2017, when she was unanimously supported by her colleagues to serve as President of the City Council. She completed her tenure at the beginning of 2022.

Prior to taking office, Lisa earned a Master's Degree in City Planning from UC Berkeley  and had over a decade of experience in shaping transportation and land use choices to make cities more equitable and sustainable. In her first term, Lisa’s leadership helped pass the midwest’s first $15 local minimum wage, invest in community-led approaches to violence prevention and community safety, and pass a $400 million investment in Complete Streets that are safe for all users. In her second term term, Lisa prioritized a Comprehensive Plan focused on race equity and environmental justice, the city’s Complete Streets and Vision Zero commitments, and more protections for renters facing housing instability. Lisa is mom to two young children and is a champion for getting more change-makers, women, and people of color into elected office.

Rosemary Scanlon
Emeritus Chair

Ms. Scanlon is TransitCenter’s first Emeritus Chair of the Board. She is a well-known economist specializing in regional economic analysis, public finance, economic development, and real estate economics. Her distinguished career in public service has included past positions as the Chief Economist for the Port Authority of NY and NJ and the Deputy State Comptroller for the City of New York.

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