Diana Mendes, AICP

Mendes is respected transit leader who is active in the national transportation scene and brings a broad understanding of infrastructure needs and challenges. With more than 30 years of experience in transportation and public transit, she is responsible for strategic planning and implementation, industry representation, business development, service delivery and client satisfaction. 

Throughout her career Mendes has been appointed to several professional association boards and committee leadership positions including the Institute of Transportation Engineers, the American Public Transportation Association, the American Planning Association, the National Building Museum and the non-profit Rail~Volution. She was on the advisory board and served as a contributing author for the “go-to” professional reference book “Planning and Urban Design Standards” published by the APA and John Wiley and Sons. In addition, Mendes has contributed to trade publications including Passenger Transport, Mass Transit Magazine, Metro Magazine and Engineering News Record. 

Professional affiliations:
•    APTA Legislative Committee Chair (2017-present) 
•    National Building Museum Board of Trustees (2014-present)
•    American Planning Association (APA), Policy and Legislative Committee (2009-2012)
•    APA National Infrastructure Task Force, Transportation Co-Lead (2008 to 2010)
•    American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Board of Directors (2010-2011; 2014-present)
•    APTA Legislative Committee Chair (2017-present)
•    APTA Policy and Planning Committee Chair (2008-2011), Vice-Chair (2006-2008)
•    APTA Environmental Sub-Committee Chair (2002-2008)
•    Rail~Volution Board of Directors (2015-present), National Steering Committee (2002-2015)
•    Institute of Transportation Engineers, Transportation Planning Executive Council (1998-2001)
•    ITE Transportation Planning Executive Council Member (1995-1998)
•    American Society of Civil Engineers (2005-present)
•    Women’s Transportation Seminar (1997-present)
•    Institute of Transportation Engineers (1995-present)
•    American Institute of Certified Planners (1989-present)

30 seconds with Diana Mendes …

Q. What are the key challenges facing transit properties today? 
. “There are three major challenges: safety, workforce development and transit system of the future. Safety is paramount and requires a rigorous shift in our industry culture and priorities. As systems age and new services come on line, we need increased priority on system maintenance to ensure transit customers have access to safe, reliable, effective and efficient service. 

Reinvigorating our workforce by attracting and retaining the best and the brightest to our industry will be key. We need to do a better job of articulating the broad range of possibilities while developing top talent.

Lastly, we need to envision the transit system of the future. From mastering ‘big data’ to enhance everything from customer service to state of good repair and asset management, to understanding the implications of autonomous vehicles to replace and augment our services, the possibilities are endless. We need to come together as an industry to shape the future in a way that enhances communities and forges a sustainable future.” 

Q. There seems to be an emphasis today on expediting project delivery. How can agencies do that?
“There are a number of FAST ACT initiatives underway to expedite the project development process and environmental review, including assumption of NEPA review by state DOTs, funding of personnel at resource agencies to reduce response times and use of multiagency memoranda of understanding to accelerate routine or repetitive environmental approvals. Other provisions with the potential to further accelerate environmental reviews include advance corridor preservation; common environmental reviews across modal administrations; eliminating redundancies in evaluating impacts to historic resources; better integration of permitting; and expanding the use of categorical exclusions. Use of technology such as GIS for database management and impact assessment and BIM for early clash detection is improving project planning and design quality. And, the shift continues from traditional design-bid-build to innovative alternative design-build and public private partnership delivery methods, shortening delivery schedules.”

Q. With the Federal Transit Administration’s transit asset management rule now final, what do agencies need to do?  
 "All transit providers receiving funds from FTA now are required to engage in transit asset management. The new requirements for transit providers to have a transit asset management plan and to establish performance measures for state of good repair has a direct link to performance-based planning and programming. It can help inform regional priorities and needs during the metropolitan planning process. Agencies who have invested in TAM plans and the changes in agency culture needed to enhance decision-making are better positioned to optimize the return on investment while managing state of good repair investment." 

•    Master of City Planning, University of Pennsylvania
•    Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Mount Holyoke College