BLACKSBURG, Va., Aug. 7, 2012 – Rachel Cogburn has joined the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute as executive director of the I-81 Corridor Coalition.
The I-81 Coalition, founded in 2007, is a partnership between New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, and Tennessee and includes local governments, metropolitan planning organizations, state transportation departments, and private sector and non-profit organizations. The aim is to achieve, to the greatest extent possible, a safe, efficient, environmentally sensitive and seamless intermodal transportation corridor.
“Ms. Cogburn understands transportation and policy. The coalition will be well served by her background in transportation planning, technical analysis, policy development, and consensus building,” said Tom Dingus, director of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.
Cogburn has worked for the Atlanta Regional Commission, most recently as senior management analyst, where she developed transportation revenue projections, helped long range transportation plans meet federal regulations, and led multigovernmental planning efforts. For example, she led a multi-agency team to develop a consensus policy on potential toll lanes within the Atlanta region, including estimating the impact on air quality, system efficiency, and toll revenue.
Previously, she worked for the Georgia Department of Transportation, where she was project manager for transportation studies in the Central West Georgia region. Cogburn also has a strong understanding and knowledge of air quality impacts due to transportation, federal air quality regulations, and mitigation techniques, having worked on air quality improving strategies for both the state of Georgia and the Atlanta region.
Duties with the I-81 Coalition include overseeing day-to-day operation with guidance from the coalition’s steering committee, identifying funding, and, as funding is secured, supervising the planning, development, coordination, and direction of projects. "The steering committee looks forward to Ms. Cogburn's leadership in establishing robust and sustainable programs through the coalition that will help to make the corridor safer and economically viable," said Debbie Bowden, I-81 Corridor Coalition steering committee chair.
Cogburn’s academic degrees are a Bachelor of Science in environmental engineering from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and a Master of Arts in economics from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute is an international leader in the transportation research dedicated to conducting applied research to solve significant transportation challenges. Employing an elite team of multi-disciplinary researchers, engineers, statisticians, technicians, support staff, and students, the institute conducts applied research to address transportation challenges from various perspectives: vehicle, driver, infrastructure, and environment. As the National Surface Transportation Safety Center for Excellence, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute develops and tests advanced transportation safety devices, techniques, and innovative applications.