Robert H. Prince, 2020 Sharon D. Banks Award for Humanitarian Leadership in Transportation Recipient


The Sharon D. Banks Award is a biennial award established in the memory of Sharon Banks, who chaired the TRB Executive Committee in 1998. She passed away in 1999. The award recognizes innovative and successful leadership in people-oriented initiatives in transportation, sustained over an extended period of time, that exemplify Banks’ ideals of humanity and service.

The Award will be presented during the Annual Meeting’s Chair’s Luncheon on Wednesday, January 15, 2020.

The 2020 recipient of the Sharon D. Banks Award is Mr. Robert H. Prince of HNTB Corporation. Mr. Prince is recognized for his impact on the people he has served and for his dedication in supporting and mentoring the next generation of transit leaders.

Mr. Prince began his public transit career in 1976 as a bus driver for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). Over the next 21 years he worked his way through the ranks until in 1997, he became General Manager of the MBTA, which at that time was the fourth largest multimodal transportation agency in the United States and carried over one million passengers a day.

Mr. Prince became known as “The People’s General Manager.” Under his leadership the MBTA received the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA’s) Minority and Woman Advancement Award and the Women’s Transportation Seminar’s 1999 Employer of the Year Award. After retiring as the MBTA’s General Manager in 2001, Mr. Prince joined AECOM where he helped other transit agencies to build, strengthen and improve their operations and infrastructure. He is currently with HNTB consulting on transportation issues.

Until 2015, Prince served as Chairman of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO), where he directed many successful programs and initiatives during his 17+ years with the organization.

He became involved in mentoring as a faculty member for the ENO Center for Transportation Leadership Management Training Programs, through his leadership in APTA, and in the Mentorship Program initiated at Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute. In all those venues, his presentation was “Let’s Talk” with the students asking questions and him giving them real life answers and inspiring them by sharing the challenges he experienced during his career.

He has served on several Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) panels included the panel that oversaw development of the TCRP Report 148: Practical Guide for Recruiting Minorities for Chief Executive Officers at Public Transit Agencies. He also served as a member of the TCRP Oversight and Project Selection Committee. In 2011 he was recognized as a National Associate of the National Research Council of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

His other honors include being named a member of the APTA Hall of Fame and receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of University Transportation Centers.

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) 99th Annual Meeting will be held January 12–16, 2020, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, in Washington, D.C. The information-packed program is expected to attract more than 13,000 transportation professionals from around the world.

All full registrants at the 99th Annual Meeting will be eligible to pick up a complimentary copy of the book, Transportation Research Board 1920– 2020: Everyone Interested Is Invited, which chronicles the important events, people, and successes that helped make TRB what it is today.

The meeting program will cover all transportation modes, with more than 5,000 presentations in nearly 800 sessions and workshops, addressing topics of interest to policy makers, administrators, practitioners, researchers, and representatives of government, industry, and academic institutions. A number of sessions and workshops will focus on the spotlight theme for the 2020 meeting: A Century of Progress: Foundation for the Future.