The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) is sad to announce the passing of our first director, Dr. T.R. Lakshmanan.
Appointed as BTS Director by President Clinton and confirmed by the Senate in June 1994, Dr. Lakshmanan was reappointed in 1997 and served until February 1998 when he returned to Boston University.
Dr. Lakshmanan guided BTS through its early days, establishing BTS as the premier source of high quality, objective information about the multi-modal transportation system. During his tenure, BTS produced two major surveys of commodity movement and long-distance passenger travel, pioneered the use of CD-ROMs and the Internet for electronic dissemination of transportation data, and published in-depth analyses of economic productivity and other issues. As a member of the department’s senior leadership team, Dr. Lakshmanan brought the results of BTS data collections and research to inform the department’s policies and decisions.
In announcing his return to Boston University, Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater said, “But more than a source of expert, independent information, Dr. Lakshmanan brought profound wisdom and great enthusiasm to our debates.”
A native of Madras, India, he received his bachelor's degree from the University of Madras in 1952 and his master's degree the following year. He came to the United States to earn his PhD from Ohio State University in 1965. After pioneering work in transportation planning and regional economic development for Alan M. Voorhees & Associates and CONSAD Research Corporation, he joined the faculty of Johns Hopkins University in 1973, and five years later moved to Boston University. He was on leave from the university during his years at BTS, and retired from Boston University in 2009.
His wisdom and enthusiasm will be missed by BTS and the entire transportation community.