Donny Katz '07 Increases Transportation Efficiency at Home and Abroad

Donny Katz ‘07 is a man on the move, but it’s more for our benefit than his own. Katz has a passion for getting people where they need to be safely and efficiently. He recently completed his Ph.D. in civil engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and his previous role as a research assistant had him analyzing the effects of airline depeaking at hub airports.

“Depeaking is the removing of flight banks from an airline schedule to save costs…By spreading out the flights, cost is saved, but connections are broken,” says Katz. “The goal of depeaking is to maintain the most valuable connections so that revenue is not hurt.”

Donny Katz conducts research on the Bangladeshi transportation system during his year on a Fulbright grant.

In short, Katz’s work helps to keep the airlines in business, costs low, and flights on time — important factors for those of us who would rather spend our vacations on beaches and not in airport terminals. His goal is to one day become involved in airport master planning and terminal planning for domestic and international airport expansions.

Though his present focus seems to be in the sky, Katz has also worked to make traveling more efficient on the ground. As an undergraduate majoring in civil engineering, he researched the profiles of heavy truck traffic operation on North Carolina’s interstate highways. Later, Katz explored new paint techniques for pavement markings to improve nighttime wet visibility.

As a recipient of a Fulbright U.S. Student Grant, Katz analyzed overcrowded buses in Bangladesh. While traveling back and forth, from route to route, he monitored how long it took passengers to board and exit buses when the doorways were blocked by those that were forced to stand.

“I used a variety of safety measures to evaluate how overcrowded buses were less safe for passengers,” says Katz. “To do this study, I rode buses ten hours a day to track passengers and measure how long it took them to get on and off the vehicles.”

Katz has traveled to Finland and Portugal for conferences on transportation policy and research, respectively. He recently attended the Eno Leadership Development Conference where he participated in policy discussions with transportation leaders and policymakers in Washington, D.C.

He is the recipient of the Dr. Thomas D. Larson Fellowship, the Georgia Department of Transportation Scholarship, the Federal Highway Administration Dwight D. Eisenhower Graduate Fellowship, and the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

Katz continues to support the Park Scholarships program by reviewing applications and interviewing semifinalists in the Atlanta area.