Faculty Details

Photo of Allen D. Biehler

Allen D. Biehler

Distinguished Service Professor of Transportation Systems and Policy

Distinguished Service Professor

Special Faculty Appointments

Voice: 412-208-5520
Email: abiehler@andrew.cmu.edu

Biography

Al Biehler joined Carnegie Mellon in August 2011.  In January 2012 he was appointed a Distinguished Service Professor of Transportation Systems and Policy at the H. John Heinz III College at Carnegie Mellon University and Executive Director of CMU’s University Transportation Center.  He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department in the Engineering College at Carnegie Mellon University.

Prior to his Heinz appointments, Al served as Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department Transportation for eight years leading an organization that operated the nation’s fifth largest state highway system and administered one of the nation’s largest grant programs for mass transit, rail freight, and aviation.  He launched a program known as Smart Transportation that streamlined and stabilized the Commonwealth’s transit program, accelerated PennDOT’s highway project delivery processes and ensured that highway projects became assets for the surrounding community.  Highway funding was targeted to support critically needed asset repairs.

In 2009, Al was elected President of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.  His presidential focus area of sustainable transportation practices led to creation of the State Smart Transportation Initiative (SSTI), a University of Wisconsin based program funded by USDOT and Rockefeller Foundation.  SSTI assists state DOTs wishing to accelerate sustainable practices.  Al provides consulting services to SSTI and serves on the SSTI Executive Committee.  He also served on the executive committees of the American Public Transportation Association and Transportation Research Board and numerous other boards and commissions.

Prior to being Secretary, Al was a Vice President with the international transportation consulting firm DMJM-Harris.  He was Project Manager for preliminary engineering of the North Shore LRT Connector project in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and was Director of Planning and Preliminary Engineering for extension of the Tren Urbano rail system in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Earlier, Al was Director of Planning, Engineering and Construction at Port Authority of Allegheny County in charge of the agency’s $500 million capital improvement program.  Example projects include Port Authority’s busway system expansion, light rail system rehabilitation, and bus garage renovation.  Al developed Port Authority’s first strategic business plan and directed bus and rail service planning, marketing, and paratransit operation.  

Before joining Port Authority, he served as Allegheny County’s transportation planning manager and before that he was a transportation planner with Pittsburgh’s City Planning Department.

He has written articles for national transportation professional journals and his awards include:

  • Distinguished Alumnus Award, University of Pittsburgh Civil and Environmental Engineering, 1997.
  • William Metcalf Award for Outstanding Engineering Achievement, Engineers Society of Western Pennsylvania, 2004.
  • Transportation Person of the Year, The Traffic Club of Philadelphia, 2009.
  • Friend of Pennsylvania Award, 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania, 2010.
  • Service to Humanity Award, March of Dimes of Pennsylvania, 2010.

Al received a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 1967 and a Certificate in Highway Transportation (Masters equivalent), Yale University, New Haven CT 1968.  He is a registered professional engineer in Pennsylvania

Research

Al Biehler is part of the Traffic21 Initiative team at Heinz.  Traffic21, an inspiration of Pittsburgh philanthropist Henry Hillman, furthers the research, development and deployment of intelligent transportation systems in the Pittsburgh region.  The success of Traffic21 was a catalyst in 2011 for CMU to compete for designation as a USDOT University Transportation Center.

Carnegie Mellon in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania was selected in January 2012 by USDOT to be one of four new University Transportation Centers nation-wide.  Al is a member of the UTC management team along with Prof. Raj Rajkumar and Stan Caldwell from CMU and Prof. Dan Lee of Penn.  As Executive Director, Al is responsible for day-to-day management of the UTC and engagement of deployment partners with public and private agencies.

The CMU-Penn UTC aims to study, build and deploy a targeted suite of complementary technologies, policies and deployments to make surface transportation safer and more efficient.  Current technology thrusts include: in-vehicle sensors and actuators, smart infrastructure technologies, human-vehicle interactions, and large-scale mobility and data analytics.

Education


B.S., Civil Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, Certificate in Highway Transportation, Yale University