Top 40 Under 40 2013: Lora Byala

Lora Byala, AICP, is the president of Foursquare Integrated Transportation Planning, a firm she founded in 2006. Byala has 16 years of experience in the transportation field with a primary focus on public transit. She works to promote transportation improvements through stakeholder and inter-agency coordination, planning studies, impacts analysis and extensive use of data to help make informed decisions. Her major areas of expertise are long-range regional transportation planning, mid-range transit planning, bus priority planning, and data- and performance-based strategic planning.

Byala has worked on a number of studies including the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) Priority Corridor Network Analysis, which developed a regional impacts analysis for the implementation of a 23 corridor priority bus network in the Washington, D.C., region and a Multimodal Coordination Study for Bus Priority Hot Spots in the Metropolitan D.C. area. Byala and Foursquare ITP have just begun working on service and integration planning for Montgomery County, Maryland’s rapid transit system and are managing the Metropolitan Washington region’s TIGER grant which funds transit improvements on eight bus priority corridors.

Byala has worked on and managed a variety of transit and transportation plans across the mid-Atlantic region. She currently serves as the project manager for a transit service quality and access study for Maryland MTA in Baltimore and served as the project manager for a transit development plan for Fairfax County, Va. She has worked on transit development plans for systems as diverse as Hampton Roads Transit, the DC Circulator, and exurban and rural Southampton, Va. Byala also led the completion of Hampton Roads Transit’s first Transit Capital Improvement Plan and co-developed an NTI course on financial planning for transit agencies. Byala and Foursquare ITP have also worked on several station access studies and she has led the completion of a number of long-range transportation plans, strategic plans, transportation demand management plans, bikeshare studies and ITS deployment plans.

Byala hired Foursquare ITP’s first full-time employee in 2010 and the company has since grown to 12 planning professionals. She previously worked for Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority in the planning office where she managed the regional planning section. She holds a Master’s degree in transportation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Bachelors’ degrees in Systems Engineering and Urban Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. She received the Women’s Transportation Seminar – DC Chapter 2011 Woman of the Year award for her outstanding contributions to the transportation industry.

“One of the many reasons I like being in the public transit industry is that every day presents new challenges and a variety of work. I get to work on all modes of transit, from rail to bus to bike share from a wide variety of perspectives, including long-range system plans, short-term transit service plans, feasibility studies and project implementation.

“The things I like most about my job are collaboration and working with people. I really enjoy working as part of a team with our clients to provide results that they can use, and I love working closely with all of my staff to make sure that they succeed.”