Nathaniel P. Ford, Sr. Receives 2024 Sharon D. Banks Award


Nathaniel P. Ford, Sr., chief executive officer, Jacksonville (FL) Transportation Authority (JTA), received the Sharon D. Banks Award for Humanitarian Leadership in Transportation during the Chair’s Plenary Session of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting Jan. 10.

The biennial award was established in memory of Sharon D. Banks, former general manager of AC Transit in Oakland, CA, who chaired the TRB Executive Committee in 1998. The award recognizes innovative and successful leadership in people-oriented initiatives in transportation, sustained over an extended period, that exemplify Banks’ ideals of humanity and service.

Ford is recognized for his visionary and innovative leadership, driven by an innate desire to make public transportation work efficiently for people who ride, regardless of the mode, and as a leading advocate for how autonomous vehicles and other advances can be used to improve the quality of life for travelers.

Ford began his career at the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, before becoming CEO of two of the 10 largest public transit agencies in the U.S.: the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority.

For the past decade, Ford has led JTA as its CEO. He received the Honorable Ray LaHood Award from the Women’s Transportation Seminar of Northeast Florida in 2022, APTA’s 2020 Outstanding Public Transportation Manager; the Thought Leader Award by the Eno Center for Transportation in 2019, and the White House Champion of Change in Transportation by USDOT in 2016.

Ford is a former member of the TRB Transit Research Analysis Committee; Transit Cooperative Research Program Oversight and Project Selection Committee; Subcommittee on Planning and Policy Review; and Executive Committee, which he chaired in 2022. He served as APTA chair from 2017-2018. He is currently a member of the APTA Mobility Recovery & Restoration Task Force, Diversity and Inclusion Council, and Public Transportation CEO Coordinating Council and serves on the Legislative, Rail Transit, Mid-Size Operations, and Waterborne Transit Operations committees, among others.