2021 40 Under 40: David P. Mach, MURP

Nov. 23, 2021
David P. Mach, MURP, Senior Business Manager, Transit Planning, Torrance Transit System
  • One word to describe yourself: Persistent
  • Alma Mater: Cal Poly Pomona, University of California, Riverside
  • Fun fact about yourself: I have four kidneys, three do not work and one is in excellent shape and is a recent transplant, donated by an amazing friend of mine.
  • Favorite station or stop that you have ever visited or frequent: Harbor Gateway Transit Center is my favorite station because I love seeing our transit buses come through here, watching people make their connections and I also love how convenient it is to park and ride into Downtown Los Angeles.
  • Favorite route you have ever ridden or frequent: Torrance Transit Line 4X is the first route that I have ever worked on as a transit intern, so it will always have a special place in my heart.

David Mach joined Torrance Transit System in 2015 through an internship program while working towards his master’s degree in Urban Planning at California Polytechnic University, Pomona. While at Torrance Transit, he was instrumental on updating and automating more than 700 new bus stop signs, providing service planning and delivery for route expansions and submitting grant applications.

He has since worked his way up to senior business manager of transit planning. In this role, Mach has led the Torrance Transit Tomorrow Plan, a network redesign of the entire system. With this project, he has conducted extensive outreach by working with the public, elected officials, local stakeholders, sister agencies and the media to ensure that there was buy-in and confidence.

In early 2020, Mach began working with L.A. Metro for the successful takeover and launch of a new route that expanded Torrance Transit’s network to potential riders. Also in early 2020, Mach spearheaded and was responsible for the successful submittal of a $7 million grant application to the state of California for the Transit Intercity Rail and Capital Program. This grant allows the agency to expand, improve service delivery and electrify the fleet.

Additionally, Mach is a committee member of the Transportation Research Board’s Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Committee, which produces manuals on transit capacity and service quality research at annual meetings that are referenced and utilized by APTA and transit planners. Mach is now leading the planning and design team at Torrance Transit. He continues to train new interns and team members on transit scheduling and run cutting and analytical software. His goal is to train the next generation of transit planners to become more specialized and to help transit agencies provide better schedules for their customers. 

Is there a specific experience that led you to where you are today?

I remember distinctly stepping off the plane at LAX back in summer of 1996 when I was only 10 years old. As my parents, my sister and I embarked on a new journey and new life in America, the first thing I saw and admired was a massive highway system that transported mostly cars and trucks. As I began to study and learn about transportation infrastructure and transit planning, I realize that our nation’s dependency on cars have held us back from providing good public transit service for everyone.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Working for a municipal public transit agency is an excellent opportunity to wear different hats almost every day. I enjoy the fact that my transit planning role provides a holistic understanding of transit planning where it incorporates public facing matters, stakeholder’s engagement, politics, budgets, and rules and regulations. However, what I enjoy the most is being able to ride the bus service that I our team work tirelessly on and talk riders talk about how they are able to take our service to work and other places as part of their daily commute.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

The most challenging part of my job would have to be balancing the trade-offs that often occur in transportation planning. Almost every planning or scheduling scenario I work with often involves trade-offs and compromises. These trade-offs tend to be between coverage vs. efficiency or sometimes changing service to meet with staffing demands.

Accomplishment you’re most proud of and why?

The first thing I am most proud of is being able to lead a system wide transit network re-design called Torrance Transit Tomorrow Plan for our agency. This plan has really helped reposition our agency to become competitive in grant applications and provide a long term pathway to improving the network for our bus riders. The second thing I am most proud of is having successfully trained two new and young planners to become fluent in transit scheduling. This ensures that there is going to be continuity and passing on of knowledge in the agency and the industry.

Best advice/tip/best practice to share from your area of expertise?

For new transit planner, learn Geographical Information System (GIS) and transit scheduling and take public transit as much as you can. Finally, understand the power of influence you can have on others, don’t be afraid to ask, and always set an example.