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CIUS (Photo: Jose Pillich)
Buz Paaswell
Robert E. Paaswell, Ph.D., P.E.


Dr. Robert Paaswell is Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering at City College of New York, Director of the University Transportation Research Center, and Director of the CUNY Institute of Urban Systems. He has been involved in transportation operations, management and planning since the late 1960s. During the period 1967-1968, he helped write the Model Cities transportation program for Buffalo, N.Y. One significant result of this program was the initiation and operation of a demand response service for the elderly in the model city area. Paaswell helped organize and design the system, and subsequently monitor and report on its performance.

While a Professor of Civil Engineering at State University of New York at Buffalo (1964-1982), Paaswell organized and directed the Center for Transportation Studies and Research. The Center was responsible for a number of important studies including a seminal study on the transportation disadvantaged, an economic and impact analysis of the Buffalo Light Rail System, Port of Buffalo studies and energy demand studies. He served on a number of Public Committees dealing with regional transportation and development. During the period 1980-1982, Paaswell was Chairman of the Urban Planning Department at SUNY Buffalo.

Paaswell served as Director of the Urban Transportation Center at the University of Illinois, from 1982-1986. During that period he worked with the major transit systems, private providers and other Illinois transit providers. He initiated a training program for mid career professionals in mainland China to address surface transportation issues.

From 1986-1989 Paaswell served as Executive Director (CEO) of the Chicago Transit Authority, the second largest system in the U.S. In that position he initiated Strategic Planning, Program Based Budgeting, Fare Restructuring and a number of other modern initiatives to that property. In addition he developed an agency mission statement, that still serves as good example to the transit community. He was active in APTA and chaired the Mission Statement and Objective task force of the Transit 2000 project. He is a charter member of the APTA R&D committee.

Paaswell is now Director of the University Transportation Research Center (UTRC), a federally funded center that provides research and training to transportation professionals throughout USDOT Region II. In that role he works closely with federal, regional and state transportation planning and policy organizations. UTRC conducts a wide range of studies and training programs addressing current and emerging transportation problems. He lectures and consults nationally and internationally on policy and management issues. Paaswell serves as a mediator in a path breaking labor management productivity issue for New York City Transit.

Highly cited for his work in transit, Paaswell has served on the Executive Committee of the Transportation Research Board, served as a charter member of the Transit Cooperative Research Program Board, and on the Institute of Transportation Engineers Transit Council. He is the first Chair of the Transit Standards Consortium Education and Training Committee and has been elected to the Consortium Board of Directors. Paaswell served as an advisor to the Office of Technology Assessment study on Technology and Urban Areas. He has been invited by the European Economic Community and by the Israeli, Chinese and Japanese Governments to discuss US transportation programs. He has received the Medal for Superior Achievement from the Secretary of USDOT.


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