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NACTO Announces Appointment of Ryan Russo as Executive Director

Mar 27, 2024

Ryan Russo

Former Oakland DOT leader and NYC DOT Deputy Commissioner is nationally respected for innovative, equity-based transportation programs

Russo succeeds Corinne Kisner, who led NACTO’s growth into one of the nation’s most influential transportation policy and practice organizations

The Board of the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) today announced the appointment of Ryan Russo as its next Executive Director, bringing visionary leadership, transformative policy experience, and innovative design excellence to one of the country’s most influential organizations that reimagines transportation in cities. Russo is a highly regarded city and transportation planner with 25 years of experience, including as a former director of the Oakland Department of Transportation (OakDOT) and as a deputy commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT). In Oakland, Ryan made the city a national model for incorporating equity into transportation planning. In New York City, he designed and implemented some of the country’s most prominent safety, pedestrian, cycling, and transit projects, from the pedestrianization of Times Square to the nation’s first Vision Zero program. 

In June, Ryan will succeed Corinne Kisner, who will leave NACTO after 11 years, the last five as executive director, working closely with NACTO staff, members, and its board to grow the organization into a voice for cities on the national and international stage. Kisner will continue to advise the organization until the end of the year as she transitions to an independent consulting capacity. 

“Ryan brings strong leadership, advocacy, and integrity to his work in cities. He led some of the nation’s most transformative transportation projects, and his commitment to our core values of safety, sustainability, accessibility, and equity shows in his leadership and results,” said Janette Sadik-Khan, NACTO Chair. “Corinne turned NACTO into the policy and practice powerhouse it is today, and she leaves behind an organization positioned for new growth and success.”  

“Corinne has set the bar for progressive leadership and advocacy, leading the organization to where it is today,” said Mike Carroll, NACTO President. “We look forward to working with Ryan as he builds on this record of success.”

“The NACTO I joined was a skeleton crew with a mission,” said Corinne Kisner, outgoing NACTO Executive Director. “Over the last decade, NACTO changed the conversation about people-oriented transportation, building a movement for better streets and cities. From publishing a library of transformative design guidance to offering critical connections and inspiration for city officials committed to safe, equitable, sustainable transportation, I’m proud of the work NACTO has done to advocate for communities and lead with imagination, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to serve the NACTO community. As we continue changing the paradigm for city transportation, Ryan’s deep experience as a transportation practitioner and public servant will be immensely valuable as he leads NACTO in this next chapter.”

“NACTO and its network has meant a tremendous amount to me throughout my tenure at two city DOTs, as a technical contributor to its seminal guides and connecting with leaders and practitioners from around the country at Designing Cities,” said Ryan Russo, incoming NACTO Executive Director. “As a member, I faced the same challenges that transportation leaders across the nation face, whether it was making streets work for people during the pandemic or addressing the recent surge in pedestrian deaths. It is an honor to be asked to serve as executive director–I know how important this community is to its members and our movement, and will work with my colleagues in this new role as a collaborator and listener.”

NACTO fills an important gap in national transportation policy, where roadway design, policy, and practice historically overlooks people who walk, bike, or take public transit. NACTO, over the last decade, developed and published transformative new guidance, including the Urban Street Design Guide, which has been officially endorsed by the US Federal Highway Administration. NACTO has grown to a network of 100 cities and transit agencies that both exchange ideas as well as advocate for city-forward policies and programs on the state and national levels. The organization’s annual Designing Cities conference is among the most engaging and sought-after summits on urban development. 

As OakDOT director, Ryan Russo was the Affiliate Member representative on the NACTO Executive Board. While at NYC DOT, he contributed to the NACTO Urban Street Design Guide and Urban Bikeway Design Guide. Ryan is currently a principal at Together Projects, providing detailed technical assistance to cities applying for USDOT’s Safe Streets and Roads for All grant program as part of the Local Infrastructure Hub.

See NACTO’s staff and board on 

About Ryan Russo:
Ryan has 25 years of experience in transportation and city planning, executing some of the most transformative transportation changes in the nation. He served in the administrations of New York City Mayors Michael Bloomberg and Bill de Blasio, leading the agency’s 500-person planning, engineering and operating divisions staff.

Russo worked on the innovative safety, pedestrian, cycling and transit projects including North America’s first on-street parking-protected bike lanes, pedestrianizing Broadway at Times Square and operationalizing the nation’s first Vision Zero action plans. Ryan oversaw the design and implementation of more than 600 miles of bike network enhancements including 70 miles of protected bicycle lanes and projects that reclaimed hundreds of acres of former road space for walking, transit and bike riding—taming some of the city’s most dangerous roads and yielding the fewest fatalities in more than 100 years of record-keeping in New York City.

In 2017 he became the first permanent director of OakDOT, making the city a national model for incorporating equity into transportation planning, policy and programs. OakDOT’s “Slow Streets” initiative to repurpose neighborhood streets during the COVID-19 spurred cities around the country to designate roadway streets as shared spaces. OakDOT has been recognized for its community partnerships and creation of values-driven, evidence-based systems for allocating limited resources.

About the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)
NACTO is an association of 100 North American cities and transit agencies that exchange transportation ideas, insights, and practices and cooperatively approach national transportation issues. The organization’s mission is to build cities as places for people, with safe, sustainable, accessible, and equitable transportation choices that support a strong economy and vibrant quality of life. To learn more, visit, sign up for our newsletter, or follow us on social media, including on LinkedInFacebook, and Instagram

Press Contact
Alex Engel | alex ( a t )

For Immediate Release
March 27, 2024