Vincent Valdes Recipient of the 2021 W.N. Carey, Jr. Distinguished Service Award

Scenic sunset shot of downtown Pittsburgh with The Point in the foreground

In recognition of his outstanding service to TRB and advancement of innovations in public transportation partnerships, Vincent Valdes is the 2021 recipient of the W.N. Carey, Jr., Distinguished Service Award. Mr. Valdes is the is the Executive Director of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC), the designated Metropolitan Planning Organization for a ten-county region including the City of Pittsburgh, where he leads a team of planners, program managers, transportation specialists and engineers working to create a common regional vision and transportation implementation program for the communities of southwestern Pennsylvania.  The Carey Award—named in honor of W.N. Carey, Jr., TRB’s Executive Director from 1967 to 1980—recognizes individuals who have given leadership and distinguished service to TRB.

The award will be presented on Wednesday, January 12, 2022, during the Chair’s Plenary Session portion of the TRB Annual Meeting, January 9-13, 2022, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Valdes has been engaged with TRB for more than 20 years.  During that period, he has been a constant fixture and participant at TRB’s Annual Meeting. As the Associate Administrator for the Office of Research, Demonstration and Innovation with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) from 2008 to 2020, he was an invited presenter at every TRB Annual Meeting as well as numerous specialty conferences. As FTA’s liaison on the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Oversight and Project Selection Committee and on the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ Committee on Research and Innovation, he helped to program hundreds of TCRP and National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) projects. In addition to his roles with TCRP and NCHRP programs, he is a strong advocate for TRB’s Technical Activities Division as a premier source of ideas, knowledge, and information exchange; and its role on attracting and mentoring the next generation of transportation professionals.

During his time as FTA’s Associate Administrator, he advanced innovative public transportation partnerships, especially public-private partnerships. In January 2020, before he left FTA, his office announced the Integrated Mobility Innovation Program, a competitive program that will encourage agencies to initiate service such as Mobility as a Service and integration of private providers with more traditional public transportation services. A previous successful initiative was the Mobility on Demand Sandbox, which like the Integrated Mobility Initiative, encouraged agencies to experiment, especially with last mile solutions. Prior to that, he led the development of the Rides to Wellness initiative, which tackled the role of transportation in providing health care, especially to seniors, low-income people, and those with disabilities.

In addition to serving in previous roles with the FTA, Valdes was a lead planner with the District of Columbia Office of Planning, and worked for organizations including Inter-American Foundation, The World Bank, ICF Incorporated, and General Dynamics, Northrop, and Pratt & Whitney.

Mr. Valdes holds a master’s degree in Urban Planning from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Boston University.


The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC) is the region’s forum for collaboration, planning and public decision-making. As the designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the ten-county region including the City of Pittsburgh and the counties of Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington, and Westmoreland, SPC is responsible for planning and prioritizing the use of state and federal transportation funds allocated to the region. As the Local Development District (LDD) and Economic Development District for Southwestern Pennsylvania (as designated by the U.S. Appalachian Regional Commission and the U.S. Department of Commerce), SPC establishes regional economic development priorities and provides a wide range of public services to the region.