Cornell CEE & CTECH Host Special Seminar on Transportation Engineering: “Innovative Transportation Developments in Japan and the United States”

Both Masaki Ogata and Carol Schweiger studied in the graduate transportation engineering program at Cornell University (CEE) in the early 1980s.  They returned to Hollister Hall on April 21 for this special seminar to discuss interesting highlights of their professional careers, as well as opportunities in transportation engineering and current transportation innovations on both sides of the Pacific.  Carol described her career journey from developing software for transit systems, to early involvement with Intelligent Transportation Systems and the first World ITS Congress in 1994, to today’s convergence of the automotive industry with Mobility as a Service (MAAS) and Mobility on Demand in pursuit of livable cities.  Masaki covered the evolution of the East Japan Railway Company from the breakup of the government-owned Japanese Railways (JR) in 1987 to today’s innovative, technology-driven, customer-oriented, and profitable East Japan Railway Company that operates in the eastern and northern part of Honshu in Japan.  At the end, both speakers joined together to host a lengthy and dynamic question-and-answer session.

Speaker backgrounds:

Masaki Ogata:
Masaki Ogata was born in 1952, joined Japanese National Railways (JNR) in 1974 and afterward was assigned to East Japan Railway Company (JR East) when JNR was divided and privatized in 1987. He has been consistently working for railways for more than 41 years.
In JR East, after having experienced various management positions including General Manager of Customer Service, Investment Planning, Labor Relations, Public Relations and Transport Safety, he joined the Executive Directors as Director at the Transport and Rolling Stock Department in 2002. Since he was engaged many times in drafting the ‘safety middle term plan’, today he is considered as a leader in the field of safety within the company.
From 2008 to 2011, as Executive Vice President, he took the full responsibility of the management of the safe and reliable operator of railway network with daily 17 million passengers. At the same time, he also strongly led the very important railway projects such as the raise of velocity of High Speed Rail up to 320 km/h, the evolution of ICT and the further development of the smart IC card “Suica”, which JR East introduced in 2001. “Suica” is the strongest smartcard ticketing and micropayment system today in Japan.
As Vice Chairman of JR East since June 2011, he has been driving the open innovation and the open globalization of the management and technology onward to enhance the quality and variety of overall business domain of JR East. Also he has been commissioned as Vice-President of UITP (International Association of Public Transport) and the chairman of Regional and Suburban Railways Committee of UITP since May 2013.
Ogata was elected President of UITP at the 61st UITP World Congress & Exhibition in June 2015. He is actively playing the role to promote further development and global communication network of public transport sector in the world.


Carol Schweiger:
Carol Schweiger, president of Schweiger Consulting, has 37 years of experience, and is nationally and internationally recognized in transportation technology consulting.  Her wide-ranging and in-depth expertise is in several specialty areas including systems engineering, technology strategies for public agencies, public transit technology, and traveler information strategies and systems.  Schweiger has provided over 50 transportation agencies with technology technical assistance.  She co-developed and was the lead instructor for five transit technology training courses for the National Transit Institute (NTI).  Further, Schweiger developed and delivered (via webinar) six modules regarding transit technology standards.  She authored numerous Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Synthesis reports and full TCRP reports.  Schweiger serves as Chairperson of New England ITS, the Co-Chair of the TRB Committee on Emerging and Innovative Public Transport and Technologies, a Charter Member of the Public Transportation Systems and Services (PTSS) Committee of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America), and member of the Program Committee of the ITS World Congress and TRB ITS Committee.  She received an M.S. in Civil Engineering from Cornell University and a B.S. in Mathematics from Tufts University.