The Faces of CITT: Tyler Reeb

As the Director of Research and Workforce Development at the Center for International Trade and Transportation (CITT), Tyler D. Reeb, Ph.D. leads research and workforce development teams that address transportation challenges related to transformational technology and institutional change. He produces research-driven publications and programs that promote innovation and civic partnerships. The CITT Editorial team recently sat down with Dr. Reeb to learn more about his professional background and how it informs his research topics, publication focuses, and program and curriculum development.

How does your early work as a journalist inform the topics you address today?
My interest in transportation was sparked early in my career working as a journalist. I recall covering a community forum about the proposed expansion of the I-710 Freeway, which called for using eminent domain on hundreds of homes and businesses. Community members were outraged. In response, I investigated the issue and wrote a series of articles addressing the decision-making process driving the proposal and explored alternative sites for the expansion to prevent unnecessary displacement of local homeowners and businesses.

One thing I learned early on as a reporter was that access to affordable transportation systems means access to opportunity. Communities that don’t have reliable access to transportation systems—that get people where they need to go and to the things they need—are likely struggling with poverty conditions. I recognized this socioeconomic reality as a reporter, and it has informed my research, publications, and education initiatives.

Did your focus on promoting access to opportunity play a role in your book Empowering the New Mobility Workforce?
Definitely. I was the first person in my family to graduate from college, and I feel a personal sense of responsibility to help young people and working adults access the education and training they need to pursue their career goals.

Promoting access to opportunity also means literally building career pathways into our socioeconomic infrastructure, and this is what I explored with the leaders in industry, education, and government who contributed their expertise to the book. Norman Mineta endorsed the book and I am very proud of that.

You mentioned career pathways. Why do career pathways matter?
I think career pathways help students and educators agree on common narratives for success. Choosing a career is so often an unintentional process. At CITT, we work to develop partnerships that bring together leaders in industry, education, and government to make career pathways intentional team efforts, not unintentional lucky accidents.

A great example of that approach is the “Transportation in GIS” pilot course we developed with Los Angeles Trade Technical College, Esri, and other strategic partners. That course, which is now a regular course offering, won the Award of Excellence for Opportunity and Empowerment at the 2019 American Planning Association Los Angeles Awards. I think the approach we used to develop and deploy that course could be applied to a wide range of industry-supported certificate and degree programs.

How have the many challenges in 2020 influenced your research?
I suppose my biggest takeaway from the global pandemic, social unrest, and recent fires is that we are all connected. We breathe the same air, drink the same water, access the same supply chains, travel down the same roads, and are vulnerable to the same diseases and viruses. Teamwork is not an option. We need to work together.

Empowering the New Mobility Workforce taught me that social mobility is directly linked to access to the actual systems that move people and goods. The events of 2020 have doubled my resolve to use my research to develop pathways to opportunity; to find ways to give students and working adults a sense of community and purpose in their lifelong educations, while also grappling with what “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” means to them in 2020.

What transformational trends are you focusing on?
Some developments in mobility and transportation I’m excited to see are blockchain deployment, congestion pricing, new industry-supported education and training opportunities, and related evergreen degrees.


Explore articles by category