Naomi Stein 2012

About Us:

The Regional Transportation Planning and High-Speed Rail Research Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is directed by Joseph Sussman, JR East Professor, Emeritus and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Engineering Systems, Emeritus.

Drawing members from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), the Institute of Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS), and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP), the group focuses on regional transportation planning with special emphasis on high-speed rail (HSR).

As members of this research group, we are energized by the potential for innovative solutions to emerge for the problems we are working on, and contributing to the ongoing and active debate about the critical contemporary issues facing society. Email us at

Current Research Interests:
Strategic Regional Transportation Planning, High-Speed Rail (HSR), Complex Sociotechnical Systems (CSS), and the CLIOS Process (teaching note, 2014)



  • R/HSR Gets Together at the 97th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board
    January 9, 2018

    Current and former students of the R/HSR group reconnected over lunch at the Transportation Research Board 97th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. This was a great chance to share personal updates and to reminisce about how our individual experiences in the R/HSR research group have helped shape a shared systems-approach to our various research and professional lives. Current students and alumni also continued to expand their academic and professional networks beyond R/HSR at the annual MIT Reception at TRB held on Tuesday, January 9. The reception attracted many guests including research and industry collaborators.

    In the photo (from left to right): Aleksandr Prodan (Ph.D., MIT-Portugal Program, Superior Técnico in Lisbon, '16), Joanna Moody (Ph.D. Candidate Transportation), Naomi Stein (MST/MCP '13), Ryan Allard (Ph.D., MIT-Portugal Program, Superior Técnico in Lisbon, '15), Rakesh Sridhar (MST/TPP Candidate), Ryan Westrom (MST '14), and Maite Peña-Alcaraz (Ph.D. in Engineering Systems, '15). Prof. Joseph Sussman, the founder of the R/HSR group retired in January 2017 and was unable to attend the reunion in D.C. this year (see the article celebrating Prof. Sussman's retirement below).


  • JR East Visits Prof. Sussman
    November 13, 2017

    On Monday, November 13, 2017, Mr. Takao Nishiyama (Executive Director, International Department and MIT SM in Mechanical Engineering, 1988) and Iori Mori (Assistant Manager, Technology Planning Department Innovation Ecosystem Project and MIT SM in Technology and Policy, 2014) of East Japan Railway Company visited MIT for a number of collaborative research meetings. During their trip, they met with Prof. Sussman at his home to discuss various international high-speed rail opportunities of interest to JR East, including the Mumbai to Ahmedabad HSR line in India and the Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Singapore line. The three discussed how the CLIOS and CLIOSjre Processes - developed by the R/HSR group during the three-year research project entitled "The Evaluation of International HSR Markets for JR East: A Systems Approach" that concluded in June 2017 - may be useful in understanding JR East's business opportunities in these markets.

    As a token of JR East's appreciation for Prof. Sussman's 25 years as JR East Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Engineering Systems, the company presented Prof. Sussman with an official JR conductor's hat (see photo below).

    In the photo, Prof. Sussman poses in his new official JR conductor's hat with Mr. Nishiyama.

  • R/HSR Alumnus Brijesh Dixit Joins India's High-Speed Rail Project, Collaborating with JR East
    October 1-14 2017

    Brijesh Dixit from the Indian Railways attended MIT as a Fulbright Humphrey Fellow, becoming an active member of the R/HSR research group during the 2015-2016 academic year. After returning to the Indian Railways, Brijesh has been selected to work on India's High-Speed Rail project. The first HSR project in the country is planned to connect Mumbai and Ahmedabad, a distance of about 500 km (or 310mi). Technology and a major part of financing for the project is coming from Japan, with their E5-series Shinkansen train technology to run at 320 kmph (or 200mph).

    In his new role, Brijesh traveled to Japan from October 1 to 14, 2017 to learn about all aspects of the Shinkansen system. The visit comprised of training workshops and lectures as well as fiedl visits (including a night time maintenance activity) and interaction with all stakeholders, including the Japanese Government, JR East, JICA, and industry partners. Brijesh learned that the technology is only one part of the success of the Shinkansen system; an equally if not more importanat aspect is the work and management culture surrounding the technology, which requires employee discipline and buy-in to all procedures. This integrated institutional and technological approach is in accordance with how the R/HSR groups studies HSR as "sociotechnical systems."

    Back in India, Brijesh is continuing his work preparing the specifications and bidding documents for the HSR project. Efforts are being made to complete the project by August 2022. Apart from constructing the HSR, the real challenge is to absorb the technology and replicate the work and management culture that has been so successful in Japan. Brijesh hopes to start a discourse with the industry and academia in India, perhaps modeled after the MIT-JR East research partnership that has flourished over the past 25 years.

    In the top photo, Brijesh Dixit poses in front of a 425 kmph test train during his visit to Japan.

    In the bottom photo, Brijesh Dixit (standing towards the center in the brown coat) and other members of the India Railway delegation meet with executives at the JR East Headquarters in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Mr. Masahiko Nakai (Executive Vice President) and Mr. Nishiyama (Executive Director, International Department) are among the executives from JR East in attendance.

  • Celebrating Prof. Sussman's Retirement after 50 years on the MIT Faculty
    October 2, 2017

    On Monday, October 2, colleagues and students of Prof. Sussman gathered at MIT Endicott House for an evening of cocktails, dinner, and reminiscing about Prof. Sussman's illustrious and impactful 50-year career as an MIT faculty member.

    During the cocktail hour, two former graduate students of Prof. Sussman - Carl Martland (Ph.D. Transportation Engineering, 1972) and Craig Philip (Ph.D. Transportation Systems, 1980) - spoke about Prof. Sussman's profound impact as a mentor, colleague, and friend on their lives and careers. After cocktails, the group moved to a sit-down dinner on the beautiful enclosed garden patio.

    Prof. Sussman opened the dinner with his remarks, thanking the audience for their attendance, emphasizing and acknowledging the contributions of the many students in attendance, and closing with his appreciation for his family for their support over his 50-year career. Prof. Sussman's comments were followed by remarks from Bob Skinner (former Executive Director of the Transportation Research Board), Jim Champy (Life Member Emeritus, MIT Corporation), Yossi Sheffi (Elisha Gray II Professor of Engineering Systems and Director, Center for Transportation and Logistics), and Cynthia Barnhart (MIT Chancellor and Ford Professor of Engineering). The speakers lauded Prof. Sussman for his academic integrity and commitment to scholarship in the field of transportation systems, his ability to manage people and foster a collaborative environment, his love of baseball, his love and appreciation for his family, and his kind support of both the professional and personal lives of all those around him.

    These speeches were followed by the reading of well wishes sent by those who were unable to attend the celebration in person. In particular, current Master of Science in Transportation candidate and employee of JR East Kenji Chigusa presented letters from Mr. Masaki Ogata (Vice Chairman, JR East) and Mr. Takao Nishiyama (Executive Director, International Department, JR East) (see photo below).

    Finally, Dan Roos (Japan Steel Industry Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Engineering Systems, Emeritus and the founding Director of MIT's Engineering Systems Division), who served as the master of ceremonies for the event, spoke about his long relationship with Professor Sussman, going back to their pre-MIT teenage years and his views of the contributions Sussman had made, emphasizing the impact of his work in many facets of the transportation field and on many students over the years.

    Many colleagues and students were in attendance to show their respect and support, some traveling great distances. One former student Naomi Stein (MCP/MST 2013; now Senior Analyst, Economic Development Research Group, Inc.) said of the event, "it was really incredible to come back and see and hear from generations of Joe's students and to think about all the impact they have made and are making on the world. Joe's dedication, values, and intellect carry far beyond himself in all those he has helped (and constructively challenged) along the way."

    In the top photo, Civil & Environmental Engineering Department Head Markus Buehler presents Prof. Sussman with his retirement gift: the class from his office door (1-163).

    In the bottom photo, Kenji Chigusa (MST Candidate and employee of JR East) presents Prof. Sussman with letters from Mr. Masaki Ogata (Vice Chairman, JR East) and Mr. Takao Nishiyama (Executive Director, International Department, JR East).

  • Prof. Sussman featured in the Course One Spring Newsletter
    May 31, 2017

    The Spring 2017 issue of the Course One Newsletter features an in-depth profile of Prof. Sussman and his career.

    Joseph Sussman, of CEE and the Institute for Systems, Data and Society (IDSS) has retired after 50 years in CEE. Sussman joined MIT faculty in 1967 after earning a PhD in Civil Engineering Systems at MIT. During his tenure as a faculty member, Sussman served as Head of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering and as Director of the Center for Transportation Studies. In his research, where he applies a systems approach to transportation, he has worked in rail freight transportation operations, intelligent transportation systems, regional strategic transportation planning, and passenger rail, emphasizing high-speed rail. In 1991, Sussman was named MIT’s first JR East professor and played an instrumental role in building a strong relationship between MIT and the East Japan Railway. A revered advisor and mentor to students and colleagues, he led several generations of graduate students in the study of complex, sociotechnical systems. Sussman is the author of a graduate text entitled Introduction to Transportation Systems and is the recipient of the 2017 CEE Distinguished Service and Leadership Award, as well as many awards from professional societies.

  • R/HSR Members receive Civil & Environmental Engineering Department Awards
    May 18, 2017

    During the Civil & Environmental Engineering Department Awards Banquet on Thursday, May 18, 2017, Joseph Sussman, JR East Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Engineering Systems, Emeritus received the Distinguished Service and Leadership Award. This award recognizes outstanding departmental service and leadership contributions of a member of the CEE faculty, to acknowledge colleagues who foster a culture of diversity, inclusiveness, and innovation, to further the department mission and vision and MIT as a whole.

    Undergraduate Mark Mockett ('19) - a CEE major and Mathmatics and Computer Science double minor - received the "Leo (Class of 1924) and Mary Grossman Award" in honor of Mr. Grossman who had a professional career in highway design and planning. The Grossman Award is given to an undergraduate student with a strong interest in transportation and a strong academic record. Mark served as an undergraduate research assistant (UROP) in the R/HSR Group from June 2016 - January 2017. Mark undertook a CLIOS Process evaluation of the Los Angeles to Las Vegas HSR corridor as part of the collaborative research project with East Japan Railway Company, entitled "The Evaluation of International HSR Markets for JR East: A Systems Approach." This coming summer, Mark will pursue another UROP in the Megacity Logistics Lab in MIT's Center for Transportation and Logistics.

  • Masters Thesis Signing
    May 17, 2017

    Takafumi (Taka) Hidema completed his thesis, the final step in receiving the Master of Science in Technology and Policy degree. The thesis, entitled "Competitive Strategy for the Proposed Texas High Speed Rail Project: A System Dynamics/CLIOS Process Approach" explores feedback interactions between key variables such as ridership, load factor, total travel time and fares and their effects on operational profitability in the short- and long-term.

    In the photo, Taka visited Prof. Sussman to receive his signature.

  • R/HSR Students Participate in the 7th Annual Civil & Environmental Engineering Research "Speed Dating" Event
    March 10, 2017

    Rakesh Sridhar (TPP/MST '18) presented a poster entitled "Application of the CLIOS Process to the Emirate of Abu Dhabi's Transportation System" . This poster summarizes the culmination of a two-year research project in collaboration with Masdar Institute.

    Joanna Moody (MST '16, Ph.D. Candidate) presented a poster entitled "High-Speed Rail Market Selection Process for East Japan Railway Company." This poster motivated and presented the methodological results of a three-year research partnership: a two-part process that helps JR East consider how different international high-speed rail markets might develop and what business role JR East might adopt to best match these markets. Joanna's presentation was selected by the Civil & Environmental Engineering Department for this year's "Best Graduate Poster" award.

  • R/HSR Celebrates Professor Sussman's 25 years as JR East Professor.
    March 2, 2017

    Current graduate students and local alumni of the Regional Transportation Planning and High-Speed Rail Group joined in the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the JR East-MIT partnership! See the full feature article below.
    In the photo (from left to right): Takafumi Hidema (TPP '17), Rakesh Sridhar (TPP/MST '18), Kenji Chigusa (MST '18), Tolu Ogunbekun (MEng-T, '15), Joanna Moody (MST '16, Ph.D. Candidate), Joseph Sussman (JR East Professor, Emeritus), Maite Peña-Alcaraz (Ph.D. ESD '15), Scott Middleton (MST/MCP '18), Naomi Stein (MST/MCP '14), Iori Mori (TPP '15 and JR East representative), and Masahiro Yamada (SDM '17)

  • Current and Former R/HSR Students Reconnect at the Transportation Research Board 96th Annual Meeting.
    January 8-12, 2017

    The R/HSR group held a celebratory dinner at the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. The dinner was a great chance for current students to reconnect with former members of the research group. For those who could not attend the dinner, there was time to meet up with R/HSR colleagues and friends for coffee or lunch throughout the week (see photos). Current students and alumni also continued to expand their academic and professional networks beyond R/HSR at the annual MIT Reception at TRB held on Tuesday, January 10. The reception attracted many guests including research and industry collaborators.

    In the top photo (from left to right): Kenji Chigusa (JR East / MST '18) and his wife Yuriko, Rakesh Sridhar (TPP '17), Daniel Mascoop (MCP '17), Scott Middleton (MST/MCP '18), Joanna Moody (Ph.D. Candidate), Ryan Westrom (MST '14), Dagin Faulkner (CEE SB '16), Bruno Agosta (MST '15), and Naomi Stein (MST/MCP '13).

    In the bottom left photo: Maite Pena-Alcaraz (ESD Ph.D. '15) and Sevara Melibaeva (MST, '10) meet for coffee.
    In the bottom right photo: Joanna Moody (Ph.D. Candidate) and Tolu Ogunbekun (MEng-T '15) meet for lunch.

  • MST Thesis selected for 2016 Council of University Transportation Centers Award!
    January 7, 2017

    Joanna Moody of the Regional Transportation and High-Speed Rail (R/HSR) research group was selected to receive the 2016 Charley V. Wootan Memorial Award for outstanding Masters Thesis in Policy and Planning, given annually by the Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC). Joanna, who is now a Ph.D. candidate in the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in Transportation wrote the thesis, entitled "Development of a Predictive Coalition building Analysis for Stakeholders of Sociotechnical Systems," under the supervision of Joseph Sussman, JR East Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Engineering Systems. The award was presented at the CUTC reception at the 96th annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington D.C. on January 7, 2017.

    In the photos: Joanna was joined by two other students of the National University Rail Center (NURail) who received "outstanding graduate student of the year" awards. From right to left: Samantha Chadwick (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Joanna Moody (MIT R/HSR), Steven Landry (Michigan Tech), and Prof. Christopher Barkan, Executive Director of the Rail Transportation and Engineering Center (RailTEC) at UIUC.

    In 2015, two other graduate students from the R/HSR group received the Wootan Award. Samuel Levy (MST '15) won in the Master's category for his thesis: "Capacity Challenges on the California High-Speed Rail Shared Corridors: How Local Decisions Have Statewide Impacts." Maite Peña-Alcaraz (ESD Ph.D. '15) won in the PhD category for her dissertation entitled "Analysis of Capacity Pricing and Allocation Mechanisms in Shared Railway Systems."


    • R/HSR Alumna Jayne Chang Completes Internship at JR East
      December 22, 2016

      Jayne Chang (CEE SB '16), sponsored by Prof. Sussman, leveraged R/HSR research connections and opportunities with the MIT-Japan program to begin an internship with East Japan Railway Company (JR East). Her internship at the JR East Research and Development Center located in Saitama Prefecture took place from June to December 2016. She worked in the Frontier Service Development Lab, a group of about fifty researchers within the R&D Center focused on improving customer experience through innovative technological advancements.

      Jayne spearheaded a project entitled "Examining the Provision of Railway Transit Information to Foreign Visitors in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area and Strategies for Improvement." Jayne's research explored why inbound visitors might find the railway system in Tokyo hard to use and how JR East could do better. She identified four key areas that influence the ease-of-use of railway transit systems for foreign passengers in Japan - namely wayfinding, route planning, staff assistance, and ticketing - and explored ways to streamline information on these areas to improve the customer experience.

      Culminating her internship, Jayne presented on her research findings to an audience of about 80 people (see photo below). Included in the audience were Mr. Masaki Ogata, Vice-Chairman of the East Japan Railway Company, and other members from the company's upper management.

    • Masters Thesis Signing
      May 18, 2016

      Masters students graduating from the R/HSR research group all get their theses signed a day before the deadline!

      In the photo below, from left to right: Ryota (Tommy) Yasutomi and Rebecca Heywood (top row), Patton Doyle (middle), and Tatsuya Doi and Joanna Moody (bottom row) with their theses:

    • R/HSR Students Receive Civil and Environmental Engineering Department Awards
      May 13, 2016

      DUSP and CEE senior undergraduate Daniel Mascoop was awarded the "Leo (Class of 1924) and Mary Grossman Award" in honor of Mr. Grossman who had a professional career in highway design and planning. The Grossman Award is given to an undergraduate student with a strong interest in transportation and a strong academic record. Daniel is very active in research in the transportation fields, working on an internship with Professor Ben-Akiva in Singapore and with Professor Sussman and the R/HSR Group on his senior capstone project entitled "Evaluating the Process of Developing Infrastructure Systems Through Investigation of an Important Rail Hub". Daniel was also one of the leaders in the fossil fuel divestment movement at MIT over the past year and played a positive role in its reaching an eventual agreement.

      Graduate student Scott Middleton received the "Maseeh Award for Excellence as a Teaching Assistant" for his significant contributions to course work and student support. Scott was nominated for his work with Professor Sussman's undergraduate CEE course, 1.011 Project Evaluation and Management. He was said to be one of the best TA's his nominator had worked with in decades and was praised for his welcoming and approachable manner that set students at ease.

      Graduate student Joanna Moody was awarded the "Trond Kaalstad (Class of 1957) Fellowship." This award, named after a former CEE Administrative Officer, recognizes outstanding an graduate student who displays leadership and contributes significantly to the well-being of the CEE community. Joanna's service to CEE includes being a student representative on the Department Social Committee (2014-2015) and being an event coordinator for the MIT Transportation Showcase, the CTL lecture series, and the MIT-TDC Conference in New York for the past two years. Joanna is also an active board member of both the MIT Transportation Club and the Transportation Student Group.

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