Martin Wachs

Martin Wachs is Professor Emeritus of Civil & Environmental Engineering and of City & Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley, where he directed the Institute of Transportation Studies. He earlier spent 25 years at UCLA, where he was Chairman of the Department of Urban Planning for eleven years. After retiring from the University, Wachs became the Director of the Transportation, Space, and Technology Program at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica. He remains active teaching courses and conducting research at UCLA in transportation policy and working on transportation policy projects at RAND.

Wachs is the author of 180 articles and wrote or edited five books on subjects related to transportation finance and economics, relationships between transportation, land use, and air quality, transportation needs of the elderly, techniques for the evaluation of transportation systems, and the use of performance measurement in transportation planning. His research also addresses, equity in transportation policy, crime in public transit systems, and the response of transportation systems to natural disasters including earthquakes.

Dr. Wachs served on the Executive Committee of the Transportation Research Board for nine years and was the TRB Chairman during the year 2000. He is the recipient of numerous distinguished fellowships and awards, including a Lifetime Associate of the National Academy of Sciences and the lifetime achievement award as “Distinguished Planning Educator” by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning.

Dr. Wachs was Transportation Policy Advisor to Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, and was appointed by Governor Pete Wilson to a “Blue Ribbon Commission on California Infrastructure.” He currently serves on a statewide committee created by the legislature to design a new system of road user charges for California to succeed the motor fuels tax.

Martin Wachs is married to Helen Pollner Wachs since 1963 and they have two children and two grandchildren all living in Los Angeles.

Interview was conducted January 2015

This is one of a series of interviews conducted as part of the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Library and Oral History Initiative, an effort to preserve the contributions and stories of renowned transportation professionals from New Jersey and throughout the United States.