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American Public Transportation Association

 Jessica Vargas Astaiza

Transportation Planning Manager

South Florida Regional Transportation Authority
Pompano Beach, FL

A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico now living in South Florida working as a Transportation Planning Manager for the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA) with 15 years of experience in the public transportation industry. Graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a Master of Science in Transportation and the University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering.  Started her transit career in 2001 with the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) as a service planner and market research analyst.  Moved on to the consulting world in 2008 working with Cambridge Systematics in several multi-modal policy projects for a variety of clients including the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and various of the transit agencies in Florida.  In 2012, she worked as a Project Manager with Tindale-Oliver running its Fort Lauderdale office and leading or supporting many transit related projects for the FDOT, the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and the SFRTA including its ten-year Transit Development Plan (TDP). Since 2014, she is back working in the public sector as one of SFRTA’s transportation planning managers working on advancing capital development projects for the agency.  These projects include the double-tracking of the last 1.25-mile of the rail corridor over the Miami River and the development of the Design-Build package for a new layover facility for our rail system, Tri-Rail.
Since 2011, she serves as a Young Member on two of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Public Transportation Committees: AP025 Planning and Development Committee and the AP030 Fare and Marketing Committee.  She assists in the important task of reviewing the research papers submitted to be presented at the TRB Annual Meeting and/or published in the TRB Compendium but most importantly, participates in the discussions of proposing future research problem statements for the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TRCP).  She is also an active member of the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS), South Florida Chapter and the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO), Fort Lauderdale Chapter.  She was the Chair of the WTS’ chapter Mentor Program for two years and assisted COMTO’s chapter with its first Scholarship awards selection.  She was recently selected as an Ambassador for the TCRP for the January 2016-December 2017 term.
Family outings with my husband and two kids (9 yr-old girl and 7 yr-old boy), reading, working out and going to the Beach. 
Personal Interests
Disney and Star Wars
Romantic Comedies
Puerto Rico and Latin America History and Politics
Public Transportation
Humans of New York
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