In Memoriam: Hank Dittmar

April 13, 2018

Hank Dittmar—a transportation pioneer well known to most of us—died on April 3, 2018 at age 62 after a long battle with cancer. Like many in transportation, I came to know Hank while he was leading the Surface Transportation Policy Project in the mid-1990s. STPP was a highly effective campaign that brought together experts and organizations committed to ensuring smarter transportation choices that enhance the economy, promote social equity, and protect the environment.

After a couple other stints—such as founding an organization called Reconnecting America—Hank relocated to the United Kingdom. From 2005 to 2013 he was chief executive of Prince Charles’ Foundation for Building Community in the UK (now The Prince’s Foundation). One of Hank’s early jobs was at the Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission where he worked under longtime Executive Director and former Eno Board Chair, Lawrence Dahms.

While Hank’s resume is impressive, most remarkable is the long-lasting effect of his work. His thinking and action on transportation and urban planning was visionary yet practical, and its impact on the built environment of this country is profound. New ideas he helped promulgate like transit-oriented development, parking reform, new urbanism, and land value capture are mainstream concepts today. In these and many other ways, Hank’s legacy will certainly live on.

For more information on Hank’s life and career, see this statement from the Bay Area MTC.

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