Top 40 Under 40 2014: Deron Lozano

Sept. 22, 2014
Deron M. Lozano, Senior Transit Planner/Project Manager, URS Corp.

After spending three years with Valley Metro, the regional transit provider in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, Deron Lozano returned to URS Corp. to take on the role of senior project manager and Arizona/New Mexico transit business line leader. He has progressed through a variety of professional and managerial positions in both the public and private sectors, specializing early in his career in environmental planning and transitioning to his current role in transit.

Shortly after his first year at Valley Metro, Lozano was promoted from a senior planner to a planning management position and was responsible for overseeing the division — responsible for bus service planning, geographic information systems, grants administration and fleet planning. In partnership with the local municipalities, he initiated and led separate working groups at Valley Metro to collaborate with member cities on issues including transit-oriented development and service planning. By implementing this regional approach, these working groups allowed individuals representing their communities a forum where ideas were shared amongst transit planning professionals.

One of the most significant efforts he led was the update to Valley Metro’s Transit Standards and Performance Measures. Directed by the Valley Metro Board of Directors to complete this important task, he worked with agency staff and member agencies to develop a comprehensive approach that resulted in the approval of an initial set of regional standards. Phase I of the effort was adopted by the Valley Metro Board in November 2013; the agency is in the process of Phase II of this regional planning effort.

Lozano appreciates having the opportunity to build strong partnerships in the roles he has undertaken. In the private sector, he engages with clients to identify and recommend solutions to transit issues. For instance, he takes great pride in the outcome of a project he managed for a local circulator study in the suburban community of Avondale, Arizona. Limited by lack of efficient transit options, the city selected URS to develop a local circulator plan that involved public outreach, analysis of routing options and identification of funding opportunities. The recommendation of the study was adopted by the Avondale City Council and the new route, known as the Avondale Zoom, initiated service in 2011.

The circulator has become an integral part of the community, connecting residents to education, shopping, employment and other transit connections. Success of the Zoom is demonstrated by the recent service expansion to an adjacent municipality, and it has contributed to Avondale being the recipient of several regional excellence awards, including the 2012 Clean Air Award and the 2012 Champion Livable Community Award.

While in the public sector, Lozano promoted the benefits of transit at various levels, as he frequently presented to elected officials, community groups and transit advocacy organizations. He was one of the key Valley Metro staff responsible for the enhanced partnership established between Valley Metro, the city of Phoenix Transit Department, and the regional metropolitan planning organization, the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG). This was exemplified by Valley Metro and MAG partnering for the first time to jointly fund and co-manage a sub-regional transit planning study.

Lozano is an active member in the transportation community. Representing URS, he was recently appointed as a board member to the Greater Phoenix Region Friends of Transit, an organization that actively promotes transit to the community. Additionally, he served on the city of Goodyear 2025 General Plan Citizen’s Committee and served as vice-chair of the concurrent Transportation Update Subcommittee, ensuring that transit and other multi-modal solutions were integrated into long-term planning efforts in the community in which he resides.

Lozano is an active member of the American Planning Association, American Public Transportation Association and National Transit Institute. He enjoys numerous opportunities to promote transit, from presenting on an individual project to a stakeholder group to addressing latest trends in the industry to those willing to learn about the topic.

“The best part of my job is the opportunity to build relationships with individuals in the transit industry who are passionate about their roles in advancing transit in their respective communities. I am grateful for the various experiences I’ve had, working with some of the best minds in the industry.”

“Early in my first stint with URS I had an opportunity to bring my planning expertise to participate in an 11-mile light rail extension study proposed in the city of Phoenix. My responsibilities quickly expanded from conducting analysis to leading individual teams to address various components of the 11-mile corridor. My interest in advancing transit really expanded from that first opportunity and I have been fortunate to lead and participate in several transit planning efforts since.”

“I enjoy being able to work in a field where there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to meet the various transit issues throughout the industry, regardless of funding, planning, or operations. I have seen firsthand and I am a firm believer that it is essential to collaborate with industry peers to bring fresh ideas to the table.”  

“I am very inspired to see transit ridership exceeding historic levels throughout the county to support urban living, sustainability and multimodal travel. With this trend certain to continue, we need a dedicated, long-term funding source to secure and advance public transit investments.”

“As an avid runner as far back as I can remember, I enjoy the opportunity to experience outdoor surroundings while allowing myself to unwind. I particularly enjoy running when I travel, as I find it allows me to explore new places I may not have the opportunity to come across.”