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Certified Trainers

Drusilla van Hengel

Title: Principal, Nelson\Nygaard
NACTO Title: NACTO Certified Trainer
Drusilla van Hengel

Drusilla van Hengel, PhD, understands how the natural and built environment affect health and decision making related to behavior. She began her transportation career 25 years ago, studying transportation engineering and urban planning at the School of Social Ecology at the University of California, Irvine. Her scholarship focused on the impacts of the construction of the interstate highway system in the era of a new National Environmental Policy Act, when revolts countrywide rose up to defend citizens in the path of least resistance against right-of-way acquisition. During those years, she also competed internationally in flatwater kayak, competing in the 1996 Olympic games and several world championships. Dru has taught at major research universities, led nonprofit organization boards, and served as both the Mobility Coordinator and Supervising Transportation Engineer for the City of Santa Barbara. Frustrated by trip generation and parking determination models that didn’t account for people who walked and rode bicycles, she turned her attention to active transportation and the policies, projects, and programs that help people make decisions to bike or walk. Her unique blend of experience in land development, traffic operations, and community planning, combined with an MBA on sustainable business, positioned her to become a consultant renowned for delivering built projects, implementable plans, and innovative practices. As the national lead of Nelson\Nygaard’s active transportation sector, she is an expert on Vision Zero, Safe Routes to School, and bicycle and pedestrian planning and design. Dru helps make walking and bicycling viable options for people from one to one hundred by eliminating the cultural, organizational, and design gaps and barriers institutionalized by 70 years of planning for auto-mobility. Her most recent projects include Safe Mobility Santa Ana; PBOT’s Livable Streets Strategy; and LADOT’s Safe Routes to School, Vision Zero Youth Safety Study, and Vision Zero Conceptual Designs and Engagement Support.