Charles Komanoff is widely known for his work as an energy-policy analyst, transport economist and environmental activist in New York City. He “re-founded” NYC’s bike-advocacy group Transportation Alternatives in the 1980s, co-founded the pedestrian-rights group Right Of Way in the 1990s, and wrote or edited the landmark reports Subsidies for Traffic, The Bicycle Blueprint, and Killed By Automobile. Earlier, Komanoff gained prominence for deconstructing the disastrous economics of nuclear power in the United States as author-researcher and expert witness for states and municipalities across the U.S. He wrote his visionary oil-saving report, Ending The Oil Age, after witnessing at close range the traumatic events of 9/11. Komanoff's current work includes modeling and advocacy for traffic pricing and free transit in New York City in partnership with renowned civic activist Ted Kheel. He also directs the Carbon Tax Center, a clearinghouse for information, research and advocacy on behalf of revenue-neutral carbon taxes to address the climate crisis. A math-and-economics graduate of Harvard, Charles continues to garner his share of media attention. Here's a sampling:
UK-based Traffic Technology International featured Charles on the cover of its Jan. 2013 issue, under the banner, "Transport economist Charles Komanoff is determined to solve New York City's traffic problems -- and mathematical models are his congestion-busting tools." The scintillating article, by British science journalist Max Glaskin, spotlights Charles's epic (but elegant and user-friendly) Balanced Transportation Analyzer traffic-pricing spreadsheet.
In 2010, The Nation magazine asked Charles to respond to the demise of climate legislation in Congress. Charles's piece, Senate Climate Bill Dies -- Does the Environment Win?, posted July 28, 2010, urged climate advocates to reject the discredited cap-and-trade approach and to unite behind a transparent, equitable, revenue-neutral carbon fee or tax.
WIRED magazine: In the June 2010 issue, noted financial blogger Felix Salmon profiled Charles and his Balanced Transportation Analyzer spreadsheet model for optimizing congestion pricing in New York City. To download and read "The Man Who Could Unsnarl Manhattan Traffic," click here.
WIRED follow-on: The NEW YORK TIMES City Room blog picked up on the Wired story in this short but sweet post on May 26, 2010. For links to more follow-on to Felix's story, click here.
The NEW YORK TIMES June 9, 2010 letters page led with Charles' letter on behalf of the Carbon Tax Center, criticizing the Kerry-Lieberman bill as a step backward on climate. Click here.
REUTERS traffic roundtable: In June, 2010 Reuters.com featured Charles in a roundtable discussion of traffic and congestion pricing. View the proceedings, moderated by Felix Salmon, here (in two parts, roughly 20 minutes each).
WNYC-TV interview with Brian Lehrer: Also in June, 2010, media impresario Brian Lehrer brought Charles to WNYC-TV to discuss traffic pricing, traffic calming and traffic policy in New York City. View here (Charles' segment is last in the program).
NOISE! Garrett Keizer's scintillating book, "The Unwanted Sound of Everything We Want: A Book About Noise," published in 2010, touches on Charles's advocacy and research on noise pollution. For book excerpt, click here. To purchase the book, click here.
In March, 2010 the NEW YORK TIMES Dot Earth blog carried Charles' report from Guangzhou on traffic congestion and road pricing's prospects in China's third-largest city. Photo highlights: Charles' shot of a monster traffic jam, and Charles on a bicycle. Click here.
STREETSBLOG: Also in March, 2010, Charles reported on his success in unraveling the rationale for congestion pricing for traffic specialists at South China University of Technology. Click here.
CHINESE TV CLIP of Charles cycling in Guangzhou: In this clip that aired on June 5, 2010, a reporter for station TVS interviewed Charles as he cycled around Guangzhou. Click here to view (approx. 2 minutes, follows a commercial, requires Adobe Flash Player or similar). Click here for translation.
Alex Matthiessen (born July 3, 1964) is an environmentalist and lives in New York City. He is the son of author and naturalist Peter Matthiessen. Mr. Matthiessen graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1988 with a BA in Biology and Environmental Studies, and earned his Masters of Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 1995.
Matthiessen began his activist career in 1990 as the grassroots program director for the Rainforest Action Network in San Francisco. In this capacity, he organized and managed an international network of affiliate activist groups. During the summer of 1994, he interned at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. From 1995-96, Matthiessen worked for the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) as a macroeconomic policy analyst in the Indonesian Ministry of Finance.
In 1997, Matthiessen was appointed as a special assistant to the U.S. Department of the Interior, where he worked on matters of special importance for Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt. He managed a multi-agency task force charged with reforming the hydropower licensing process of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. He was also co-creator and head of the Green Energy Parks initiative, a joint program between the Department of the Interior’s National Park Service and the Department of Energy, which promotes renewable and energy efficient technology throughout the national park system. Matthiessen received a Presidential Award from the White House for his work on this project.
Matthiessen was Riverkeeper’s chief executive from 2000 to 2010 and served on the organization's board of directors during that time. Under his direction, Riverkeeper—an environmental non-profit that protects and defends the Hudson River and the New York City watershed -- maintained a full-time patrol boat enforcement presence up and down the Hudson River and its tributaries, and extended its principal jurisdiction from north of Albany to New York Harbor. In addition to strengthening the group’s traditional enforcement role, Matthiessen pushed the organization to develop long-term, preventative strategies designed to strengthen the deterrents and incentives necessary to avoid pollution.
Under Matthiessen’s leadership, Riverkeeper joined forces with institutions such as Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University School of Law, and Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, to enhance scientific understanding of the Hudson River, as well as stop what it views as ill-conceived development projects along the waterfront.
In 2006, Matthiessen served on New York State Governor Eliot Spitzer’s transition team as an advisor on the new administration’s goals for energy and environmental policy. He also served as chair of the energy committee for Westchester County’s Climate Change Task Force as well as chair of the MTA Blue Ribbon Commission on Sustainability’s water committee. Matthiessen also served on the boards of directors of the Hudson River Improvement Fund, Governor's Island Preservation and Education Corporation (GIPEC), and Waterkeeper Alliance -- the umbrella organization for over 190 Waterkeeper programs around the world dedicated to protecting local water resources. He currently serves on the board of the Catskill Mountainkeeper.
In July, 2010, Matthiessen started an environmental consulting firm, Matthiessen Strategies, based in New York City, with clients in New York, Massachusetts, and Vancouver.