Nov 09, 2022
2023 TRB Annual Meeting: Neil J. Pedersen W.N. Carey, Jr. Award Recipient
BY Transportation Research Board
In recognition of his outstanding service to TRB, Neil J. Pedersen is the 2022 recipient of the W.N. Carey, Jr., Distinguished Service Award. Mr. Pedersen will be retiring this fall as Executive Director of the Transportation Research Board, a position he has held since February 1, 2015. Pedersen is recognized for his more than 40 years of leadership service to TRB—30 plus years as a TRB volunteer and more than 10 years as a member of TRB’s staff–and for his integrity and continual pursuit of technical excellence. The Carey Award—named in honor of W.N. Carey, Jr., TRB’s Executive Director from 1967 to 1980—recognizes individuals who have given leadership and distinguished service to TRB.
The award will be presented on Wednesday, January 11, 2023, during the Chair’s Plenary Session portion of the TRB Annual Meeting, January 8-12, 2023, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
Pedersen began his career as a consultant in transportation planning managing projects ranging from travel demand forecasting to public transit alternatives analyses and toll road feasibility studies. In December 1982, he joined the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) as Deputy Director of the Office of Planning and Preliminary Engineering, and in 1984, he became Director of that office. Pedersen served in that post until July 2000, when he was appointed Deputy Administrator for Planning and Engineering, with responsibility for SHA’s planning, environmental, engineering, and real estate activities.
In January 2003, Pedersen was named Maryland State Highway Administrator. In this role he served as principal adviser to the Governor and the Secretary of Transportation on highway-related matters and provided strategic leadership to an agency of 3,200 employees who planed, designed, constructed, maintained, and operated Maryland’s 5,200-mile state highway network and 2,500 bridges. Pedersen also had oversight responsibility for Maryland’s highway safety and motor carrier programs, and he led delivery of two megaprojects—the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and the Intercounty Connector.
Before joining TRB Staff, Pedersen was an active volunteer at TRB for more than 30 years serving on numerous committees and panels. He is a past chair of the TRB Executive Committee, the Technical Activities Council, the Planning and Environment Group, the Second Strategic Highway Research Program Technical Coordinating Committee for Capacity Research, and the TRB Committee on Statewide Multimodal Transportation Planning. He also served as a member of the Executive Committee’s Subcommittee on Planning and Policy Review and the National Cooperative Highway Research Program Project Panel on Research for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Standing Committee on Highways.of.
Pedersen also was heavily engaged in professional activities outside SHA and TRB, and these reflect the strength of his commitment to the transportation community and his belief in working with others to advance transportation practice. He chaired the Executive Board of the I-95 Corridor Coalition, which at the tine included transportation agencies of 16 states, the District of Columbia, and two Canadian provinces along the Eastern Seaboard, and he also chaired the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Travel Model Improvement Program Advisory Panel for 10 years. For AASHTO, Pedersen served as Chair of the Task Force on Context-Sensitive Solutions and Vice Chair of both the Committee on Highways and the Subcommittee on Asset Management. He also was a member of AASHTO’s Standing Committee on Research and the Project Delivery Council.
Among his honors, Pedersen has received AASHTO’s Thomas McDonald Memorial Award (2007), the George S. Bartlett Award (2006), the Road Gang’s Lester P. Lamm Award (2005), the Planner of the Year Award from the Maryland Chapter of the American Planning Association (1997), AASHTO’s Intermodal Award (1994), and the Community Service Award of the Institute of Transportation Engineers’ Baltimore–Washington Chapter (1992).
A native of Massachusetts, Pedersen earned bachelor’s degrees in civil engineering and urban studies from Bucknell University and a master’s degree in civil engineering from Northwestern University.