ITS-Davis alumnus David Friedman to become acting administrator at NHTSA

ITS-Davis alumnus David Friedman will become acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, according to news reports. Friedman, who has served in the No. 2 post of the nation’s top auto safety agency since his appointment in May 2013, will take the reins when the current administrator, David Strickland, steps down. The timing has not been announced.

Friedman played a lead research role with ITS-Davis’s first industry-government research consortium on fuel cell vehicle modeling and co-authored 12 technical publications during his graduate studies here. He passed his Ph.D. exam with a proposal to mathematically model fuel cell stacks and systems.

Prior to his appointment at NHTSA, he was a transportation analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists, where he pushed for stricter fuel economy standards and lower oil consumption.

ITS-Davis Director Dan Sperling said Friedman excelled as a member of the first class of the institute’s Transportation Technology and Policy Program students. Indeed it was Friedman’s interest in interdisciplinary transportation education that inspired faculty leaders to accelerate the proposal to launch TTP.

“David is an example of how the interdisciplinary training of the TTP program succeeded, in this case, broadening his education beyond engineering to include social science, policy research and education,” Sperling said.

Photo: ITS-Davis director Daniel Sperling (left) and David Friedman prepare to testify on the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment