Joseph Sussman

in memoriam

Social Networks, Urban Systems

Joseph Sussman was the JR East Professor (endowed by the East Japan Railway Company) in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT, where he was an alum and served as a faculty member for over 50 years. He served as interim director of the Engineering Systems Division for the 2011-2012 academic year.

In 1997, Prof. Sussman won the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department’s Effective Teaching Award. In 2002 he won the Technology and Policy Student Society “Faculty Appreciation Award” for his design and teaching of a new required subject called Introduction to Technology and Policy. In 2009, Sussman won ESD’s Joseph A. Martore Excellence in Teaching Award.

In 2006, he initiated the transportation systems focus area for the MIT-Portugal Program (MPP), a $40 million, 5-year program of education and research. His MPP work included participation in the development and teaching of a new international MSc in transportation systems in collaboration with three Portuguese universities, and research in Regional Strategic Transportation Planning (RSTP), Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and High-Speed Rail (HSR).

Prof. Sussman specialized in the study of complex, large-scale, interconnected, open, sociotechnical (CLIOS) systems and he developed the CLIOS Process to study such systems. He focused on developing a new methodology for regional strategic transportation planning, integrating ideas from strategic management, scenario-building, and technology architectures, and applying it to cases in the U.S. and abroad. His work in the CLIOS area dealt with transportation, technology and sustainability in Mexico City, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Portugal. Prof. Sussman also worked extensively on Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), helping to build the U.S. national program and develop an “intelligent corridor” in Bangkok. He developed a comparison of ITS programs in Western Europe, Japan and the U.S. and helped develop regional ITS architectures in the U.S. His research in both freight and passenger railroads focused on service reliability, rail operations, maintenance, high-speed rail, and risk assessment.

Joseph Sussman passed away on March 20, 2018.

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