Robert Hampshire, a faculty member in the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, College of Engineering and U-M Transportation Research Institute, has joined the Biden administration to work in the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Hampshire’s research and policy engagement focuses on understanding the societal, climate and equity implications of autonomous and connected vehicles and other innovative mobility services.

Photo of Robert Hampshire
Robert Hampshire

His appointment as principal deputy assistant secretary for research and technology was announced Jan. 21. The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology coordinates research and technology programs stemming from $1 billion in annual investment in transportation research, development and technology activities.

In this role, Hampshire is responsible for research, development and technology activities across the department and the 40 University Transportation Centers. He will oversee the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the Transportation Safety Institute in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

 An associate professor of public policy in the Ford School, and of industrial operations and engineering in CoE, Hampshire also is a research associate professor in UMTRI’s Human Factors group and the Michigan Institute for Data Science. He has taken a leave of absence from U-M and will retain his titles with the university.

At U-M, Hampshire developed and applied operations research, data science and systems approaches to public and private service industries to address structural inequalities.

“The Ford School community is very proud of Robert and the values and skills he’s bringing to his important new role with the Biden administration,” Dean Michael Barr said. “Robert’s expertise and his deep commitment to equity, access and justice will improve transportation policy for all Americans.”

UMTRI Director Jim Sayer said Hampshire’s technical expertise, transportation policy experience and commitment to equity “will serve our nation well.”

“He understands that communities with inadequate access to transportation results in negative impacts on people’s lives in terms of employment, their access to medical care and healthy foods, and overall quality of life,” Sayer said.

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