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2018 DOT Civil Rights Virtual Symposium Speaker Bios - Session 7

Session 7: Public Involvement Effectively Serving and Understanding all Communities  

Gloria Jeff, Project Director, Minnesota Department of Transportation

Gloria J. Jeff, AICP is an experienced transportation professional and urban planner.   She is currently serving as Project Director – Rethinking I-94 for the Minnesota Department of Transportation. She has also served as: Principal Planner at the Wichita Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (WAMPO); Deputy Administrator and Associate Administrator for Policy - Federal Highway Administration; Department Director and Deputy Director for Planning - Michigan Department of Transportation; General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation; and Vice President and District Transportation Planning Manager – Parsons Brinkerhoff.  She has represented and lead United States Government delegations in international settings.  She has served as the Program Manager for the James E Clyburn University Transportation Center Summer Transportation Institute.  She is currently the Project Manager for the Wichita Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Long Range Transportation Plan, Freight Plan Update, Asset Management Initiative and Scenario Planning activities.  Ms. Jeff holds a BS and MS in Civil Engineering and a Master of Urban Planning from the University of Michigan. She is an active member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, American Planning Association, and several community organizations. Ms. Jeff is chair of the TRB Committee on Environmental Justice Issues in Transportation, is an active member of the Transportation Research Board standing committees and is a resource on transportation policy issues and policy development.

Alex Karner, Professor, The University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Karner’s work aims to quantify the social equity, environmental, and public health implications of transportation projects and plans by using emerging data sources and developing new, open source methods. A deep commitment to practice undergirds his research and teaching; he routinely collaborates with community members, non-profit organizations and public interest law firms to identify pressing research needs and improve conditions in communities experiencing transportation disadvantage. Some of his recent projects include an analysis of realtime transit arrival data to understand disparities in service provision across the large metropolitan regions in the United States, developing high resolution indicators of public transit accessibility based on public census data and open source techniques and applying them to federally required transit service equity analysis, and tying underperformance on affordable housing provision to indicators of poor transportation performance. The overarching goal of this work is to identify areas where current planning and modeling practices fall short and demonstrate the superiority of alternative approaches. Because sound analysis is only one component that determines the success or failure of a particular planning effort or project, partnering with community-based organization is an effective strategy to ensure implementation and progress towards equitable, sustainable, and healthy futures.

Prior to joining the faculty at UT Austin Dr. Karner was an assistant professor at Georgia Tech. He has previously held postdoctoral research positions in the Department of Transport Engineering and Logistics at Universidad Católica de Chile and the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University. His work has been funded by Canadian federal funding agencies (the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council), non-profit foundations including the California Endowment, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Federal Transit Administration, and University Transportation Centers at UC Davis and the University of Maryland.

Yvette Rivera, Associate Director, Departmental Office of Civil Rights (DOCR), USDOT

Yvette Rivera serves in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Departmental Office of Civil Rights, where she seeks to drive equity and inclusion throughout the agency under various federal civil rights laws.  Since receiving her J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law, Ms. Rivera has practiced extensively, devoting most of her career to the enforcement of federal civil rights laws. Prior to joining the U.S. Department of Transportation, Ms. Rivera served in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, where she led attorneys in groundbreaking federal court litigation.  She was also previously appointed as Special Counsel at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. She began her public service career at the U.S. Department of Justice as an Honor Law graduate and an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.  Ms. Rivera blends her substantive civil rights experience, legal background and leadership skills to influence compliance with federal civil rights laws.  She has been honored with numerous top agency awards throughout her career. 

Last updated: Monday, March 12, 2018