The MIT Portugal Program celebrates the life of Joseph Sussman, MIT Portugal Transportation faculty member, and Professor at MIT’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) who passed away in March 2018 at the age of 79.
Dr. Joseph M. Sussman was the JR East Professor (endowed by the East Japan Railway Company) in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Institute of Data, Systems and Society (IDSS) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he served as a faculty member for 50 years.
He joined the MIT faculty in 1967 and from 1977 to 1979, worked as Associate Dean of Engineering for Educational Programs. In 2006, he initiated the transportation systems focus area for the MIT Portugal Program, where he participated in the development and teaching, in collaboration with three Portuguese universities, of the new international masters in Complex Transportation Infrastructure Systems, in the foundations of the new Doctoral Program in Transportation Systems, and in research connected to transportation systems in general. Sussman also worked on ITS (intelligent transportation systems) to help build a U.S. national program and served as the first Distinguished University Scholar at ITS America from 1991-92.
During his professional life he worked on the development of an “intelligent corridor” in Bangkok; a comparison of ITS programs in Western Europe, Japan, and the U.S.; building regional architectures in Massachusetts; and emergency response and institutional issues concerning ITS and the provision of “flexibility” in surface transportation through intelligent technologies. He was the program chair of the ITS America annual meeting in 2000. In his last years he served as the chairman of the Intelligent Transportation Systems Program Advisory Committee for the U.S. Department of Transportation, advising the department on all facets of its Intelligent Transportation Systems Program. In 2015 Professor Joseph was elected to the Intelligent Transportation Society of America Hall of Fame.
According to Professor Luís Picado Santos who worked closely with him and others in the enhancement and development of the transportation focus area of the MIT Portugal Program, Joe was an exceptional human being and an outstanding Professor and Researcher that delivered a robust contribution for the success of the initiative.
Some of his friends and co-workers left their online testimony to honour his life and work, who will surely be greatly missed.