Professor Joseph Martin Sussman, born in Brooklyn, NY and a longtime resident of Lincoln, MA died in Boston, MA on March 20th, 2018. Joseph was born on November 17th, 1939 and was the eldest of two children to Leonard and Lillian Sussman.
Dr. Joseph M. Sussman was the JR East Professor (endowed by the East Japan Railway Company) in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Institute of Data, Systems and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he served as a faculty member for 50 years. He joined the MIT faculty in 1967. From 1977 to 1979, Professor Sussman served as the Associate Dean of Engineering for Educational Programs. From 1980 to 1985, he served as Head of the Department of Civil Engineering at MIT. From 1986 to 1991, he served as Director of the Center for Transportation Studies (CTS) at MIT. In 2011-2012, he served as the Interim Director of the Engineering Systems Division.
Dr. Sussman received the Roy W. Crum Distinguished Service Award from the Transportation Research Board (TRB) its highest honor, “for significant contributions to research” in 2001, and the Council of University Transportation Centers (Award for Distinguished Contribution to University Transportation Education and Research in 2003. He became a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2007. In 2008, he won the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the School of Engineering Alumni of the City College of New York. The Transportation Research Forum named Sussman as its Distinguished Researcher in 2014, a lifetime achievement recognition. In 2017, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering bestowed its Distinguished Service and Leadership Award on Professor Sussman.
Sussman’s work in railroads has had a major impact on the railroad industry in the U.S. and abroad. Dr. Sussman chaired the TRB committee overseeing the Federal Railroad Administration’s R&D program from 1996 to 1999 and chaired, in 2006, a TRB panel reviewing the federal transportation strategic plan for R&D. Sussman also chaired a new committee advising US DOT on the next generation of its Research, Development and Technology Strategic Plan . He has worked with the Union Internationale des Chemins de Fer (UIC) on technology scanning for the international freight and passenger railroad industry. In Portugal, he was the principle investigator of a project examining many aspects of High Speed Rail planned for that nation.
Sussman has worked extensively on Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), helping to build the U.S. national program. While serving as the first Distinguished University Scholar at ITS AMERICA (1991-92), he was the only academic member of the core group of five that wrote the first Strategic Plan for ITS in the U.S., a twenty-year plan for research, development, testing and deployment which has shaped the U.S. ITS program to the present day. In 2002 ITS Massachusetts named its annual “Joseph M. Sussman Leadership Award” in his honor. ITS America inducted Professor Sussman into the ITS Hall of Fame in 2015 on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the founding of the organization.
In February, 2011, a National Research Council (NRC) committee that he chaired, wrote a report entitled Federal Funding of Transportation Improvements in Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Cases. This report recommended a fundamental restructuring of the relationship between the Department of Defense and the civilian public sector with respect to how transportation programs are funded when there are substantial shifts of military personnel to bases in already congested areas.
Dr. Sussman has served on review panels for transportation programs at Northwestern, the University of Toronto, Cornell, and the University of Michigan (chair). He has served as the chair of the CE advisory committee at CCNY and completed a 10-year stint on the advisory committee of Cal-IT2, a joint venture of UC-Irvine and UC-San Diego.
Dr. Sussman is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Transportation Research Forum, Transportation Research Board (Executive Committee chair in 1994; Executive Committee member, 1991-1998), ITS America (Board of Directors, 1995-2001) and ITS Massachusetts (Board of Directors, 1996-2001). He co-founded Multisystems of Cambridge, MA in 1966 (now part of Transystems).
As a longtime Lincoln resident, Joseph loved to take walks around his neighborhood, frequent stops at the local ice cream establishments, loved his time as a Trustee to the Lincoln Public Library and enjoyed hosting many events at his beloved family home. He loved coaching his children in sports in their youth and found much joy in watching his grandchildren in their theater and in sports as they grew. If anyone ever talked to Joe, they soon found out his lifelong passion for baseball and horse racing.
Dr. Sussman is survived by his wife of 54 years, Henri-Ann Simon Sussman and their three children as well as his younger sister, Toby Manke and her husband Terry of Ft. Lauderdale, FL; daughter Kerri-Jae Sussman and her partner Kimberly Coppenrath of Windham, ME; son Andrew Sussman and his wife Kristina Sussman and their daughters Leda and Hailey of Westford, MA and son Craig Sussman and his wife Nadia Sussman and their children, Taylor, Ryan and Owen of Lincoln, MA. Services at the Wilson Chapel, 234 Herrick Road, Newton, MA on Sunday March 25th at 10am. Following interment at Lexington Road Cemetery in Lincoln, MA, observance will be at the home of Joseph and Henri-Ann Sussman. Shiva will be held at the home at 1:30pm on Sunday and will continue from 3 to 8pm on Monday March 26th, 2018.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Joseph and Henri-Ann Sussman Book Fund at the Lincoln Public Library, 3 Bedford Road, Lincoln, MA 01773.