As a child, Eric Plosky ’99, MCP ’00, traveled with the New York subway system with his grandmother to every city on the map. “Every time someone asks me how I’m doing, I ask, ‘How is that possible?'” He says. I didn’t. ”
Now, as a major transportation planning officer at the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in Kendall Square, Plosky and his team have set their sights on potential transportation. “It’s not just metal and concrete. It’s the people, I make the decisions, it’s the history and the culture, ”he said.
At MIT, Plosky received two degrees in the department of Urban Study and Planning; he also took a humanities course and wrote for The Tech. The teaching profession at the Volpe Center has grown into a 20-year career.
Although part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Volpe receives all funding through direct consultations with other agencies and organizations that seek non-compliant approaches to critical issues. His group’s recent activities have also included autonomous vehicles in Yellowstone National Park and Wright Brothers National Memorial; analysis of major agricultural freight routes; and a number of initiatives, sponsored by the Millennium Challenge Corporation, to develop complex urban transportation systems in places like Kenya and Sri Lanka. “Every time someone talks about a strange, far-reaching project no one knows anything, that’s when we start with them,” says Plosky.
After Hurricane Katrina, Plosky spent several months in Louisiana working with the affected areas. Her writing became part of the National Disaster Recovery Framework, which helped streamline the covid-19 efforts. “If you’ll just put things back to the way they were before, that’s just a restoration; Real recovery requires something different, ”she says.
After work, Plosky coaches a management team at Harvard Extension School, serves as a judge at the Lemelson-MIT Student Award, as well as a first-year MIT Terrascope instructor. He also writes, sends short stories daily to Infrequent.com.
Plosky says he is motivated by strong federal growth to tackle the construction crisis that exacerbates racial inequality and climate change. He says, “I strongly believe we can find travel solutions that meet today’s and tomorrow’s needs rather than just yesterday’s fantasy.”