Mr. Schwartz is President, and CEO of Sam Schwartz Consulting, LLC, a firm that specializes in transportation planning and engineering. He also writes columns on traffic for The New York Daily News and the NY Downtown Express. Previously Mr. Schwartz was New York City’s Traffic Commissioner and was the Chief Engineer of the NYC Department of Transportation. He started his transportation career in the late 1960’s as a NYC cabbie and joined the Traffic Department, as a junior engineer, in 1971.
Mr. Schwartz is the Inaugural Ted Kheel Fellow at Roosevelt House at Hunter College. He has been an adjunct professor at Cooper Union, Long Island University, and Brooklyn College. He is a prolific writer and his most recent book, Street Smart: The Rise of Cities and The Fall of Cars received critical acclaim. His next book, Driverless Cars: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly will be released by Public Affairs Press in 2018.
Mr. Schwartz specializes in creative problem-solving for seemingly intractable situations. He is expert at getting people out of their cars and into other forms of transportation. He is also proficient at moving those people who remain in their cars more swiftly and safely. Mr. Schwartz has created many win-win-win situations whereby traffic moves better pedestrians are safer, and the community gains more sidewalk and green space. He’s been called an Urban Alchemist for making grass grow from asphalt. Mr. Schwartz often referred to by his nom de plume “Gridlock Sam,” released the word “Gridlock” into the lexicon during the 1980 NYC Transit strike.
Mr. Schwartz is active in community affairs and helped found two New York City public schools: The School for the Physical City and the Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School. He is a board member of the Regional Plan Association and the Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation and is a Fellow of the Institute of Transportation Engineers.
He has received more than a score of awards for his work, including 2016 NYC Zoning Advisory Council Honor Award, 2014 AAA Traffic Safety Award, 2014 Brooklyn Technical High School Distinguished Alumnus Award, 2012 American Society of Civil Engineers’ Sustainable Civil Engineering Award, 2012 Businessman of the Year from the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, 2011 New York State Society of Professional Engineer of the Year award, 2011 Brooklyn College Alumnus of the Year, 2010 NSPE Professional Engineers Merit Award, Public Works Magazine’s 2008 Trendsetter Award and Civil Engineer of the Year from the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Institute of Transportation Engineers and the American Council of Engineering Companies.
He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Physics at Brooklyn College and received a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Florida.