Mr. Schwartz is President, and CEO of Sam Schwartz, a firm that specializes in transportation planning and engineering. He also writes columns on traffic for The New York Daily News, the NY Downtown Express and blogs for Engineering News Record.
Previously Mr. Schwartz was New York City’s Traffic Commissioner and was the Chief Engineer of the NYC Department of Transportation. He started his transportation career in the late 1960’s as a NYC cabbie and joined the Traffic Department, as a junior engineer, in 1971.
Mr. Schwartz specializes in creative problem-solving for seemingly intractable situations. He is expert at getting people out of their cars and into other forms of transportation. He is also proficient at moving those people who remain in their cars more swiftly and safely. Mr. Schwartz has created many win-win-win situations whereby traffic moves better, pedestrians are safer and the community gains more sidewalk and green space. He’s been called an Urban Alchemist for making grass grow from asphalt. Mr. Schwartz, often referred to by his nom de plume “Gridlock Sam,” released the word “Gridlock” into the lexicon during the 1980 NYC Transit strike.
He has been an adjunct professor at Cooper Union, Long Island University and Brooklyn College. He has authored more than 200 professional papers and presentations and has written several books and chapters in books. His latest book, AfterCarsTM, will be released in late 2015. He has received more than a score of awards for his work, including 2014 AAA Traffic Safety Award, 2014 Brooklyn Technical High School Distinguished Alumnus Award, 2012 American Society of Civil Engineers' Sustainable Civil Engineering Award, 2012 Businessman of the Year from the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, 2011 New York State Society of Professional Engineer of the Year award, 2011 Brooklyn College Alumnus of the Year, 2010 NSPE Professional Engineers Merit Award, Public Works Magazine's 2008 Trendsetter Award and Civil Engineer of the Year from the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Institute of Transportation Engineers and the American Council of Engineering Companies.
He began his professional transportation career as a NYC taxi cab driver while obtaining his Bachelor of Science degree in Physics at Brooklyn College and later obtained a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Florida.