Oakland, CA – June 8, 2016 – Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf announced the establishment of the City of Oakland’s first Department of Transportation. This is a key milestone in the administration goal to more equitably bring greater safety and accessibility to Oakland’s streets for the benefit of all city residents.

The announcement followed a presentation to the City Council yesterday outlining the new department structure, which will include some responsibilities formerly held by Oakland Public Works, such as road design, resurfacing and maintenance. The DOT will have a strong planning focus on sustainable strategies that can bring needed change quickly to city streets. The two departments will be staffed by current employees.

“A better Oakland starts with better streets today, in every part of our city,” said Mayor Schaaf. “We need a world-class transportation department to take a fresh look at our streets, and provide Oakland residents with safer, healthier and more accessible ways to get around, to and from work and school. Equitably enhancing our streets and adding to the array of viable transportation options in Oakland increases the vibrancy of our urban community.”

Photo of Jeff Tumlin of Nelson\Nygaard


Mayor Schaaf also announced that the transition to the new department will be led by Jeff Tumlin, a transportation consultant and Principal and Director of Strategy with Nelson/Nygaard, an internationally recognized planning firm that focuses on mobility, accessibility and sustainability.

Tumlin is renowned for helping build consensus-based projects and will manage the creation of the DOT until a director is appointed at a later date. “Jeff gets Oakland and understands how to get things done, and I know that our hard-working staff who will be moving to the new department, as well as our city residents and business people, will benefit from his years of experience in building safer, more vibrant, and more equitable communities,” said Mayor Schaaf.

“This is such an exciting time for transportation in Oakland – our new Department of Transportation is forming just as AC Transit breaks ground on the bus-rapid-transit line connecting downtown Oakland with East Oakland and downtown San Leandro, as bike sharing gets ready to launch, and as the City develops our bond proposal to fund long-deferred infrastructure investments and fight against displacement with affordable housing,” said Mayor Schaaf.

Read the full press release here.

A revitalization project in Bridgeport, a town in Mono County, California, received the 2015 “Highway as Main Street,” Caltrans Excellence in Transportation Award. Nelson\Nygaard, as part of a larger team, redesigned the five-lane highway that was this rural town’s main street. The team worked closely with the community and Caltrans, and the new street was in place two months after our charrette. The new three-lane configuration makes room for bike lanes, back-in angle parking, and improved pedestrian crossings, creating a more inviting place to visit rather than pass through.

A rendering of the award-winning Blatchford Redevelopment Plan in Edmonton, Canada, one of many collaborations between the two firms. Image courtesy of Perkins+Will.

SAN FRANCISCO, May 12, 2016—Global architecture and design firm Perkins+Will announced today that Nelson\Nygaard, an internationally acclaimed transportation planning consultancy, has joined the organization. The strategic partnership will enable both companies to expand and diversify their worldwide mobility service offerings, providing a comprehensive package that includes everything from strategic master planning for cities and sites to architectural, interior, urban, and landscape design.

“The future success of our cities will depend on how easily people move into, out of, and within urban cores, using a variety of modes of transit, and doing so in the most satisfying way possible,” says Perkins+Will President and CEO Phil Harrison. “Innovative transportation creates great places, and that’s why mobility must be an integral part of all of our design work. We can do this confidently with Nelson\Nygaard’s progressive approach and unparalleled expertise.”

Founded in 1987, Nelson\Nygaard is committed to achieving broader community goals of mobility, equity, economic development, and healthy living—a natural complement to Perkins+Will’s values. In fact, the two firms have had a collaborative relationship for many years, working together on such notable projects as the Edmonton City Centre (Blatchford) Airport Lands Redevelopment in Alberta, Canada; Innovate Albuquerque in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Better Market Street in San Francisco, California; and Plan Abu Dhabi 2030 in the United Arab Emirates.

While Nelson\Nygaard will retain its brand and operate as an independent entity, the union of the two firms will allow them to collaborate more frequently. Additionally, Harrison adds, Perkins+Will’s research and technology platform will enable Nelson\Nygaard to better capture data, analyze it, and derive design intelligence from it—a key factor in smart, effective city-making.

“The firms are a good match because of their shared values and purpose,” says Jeff Tumlin, director of strategy at Nelson\Nygaard. “Perkins+Will has pursued equitable, vibrant, and verdant cities through good design, and Nelson\Nygaard has done the same through thoughtful transportation investments that serve places’ larger goals. Together, they make the transportation-land use connection necessary for urban success.”

“The coming decade is going to be all about mobility and accessibility,” says Nelson\Nygaard CEO Paul Jewel. “By combining our expertise in multimodal street design, transit systems, paratransit, walking, bicycling, on-demand service, and parking management with Perkins+Will’s expertise in urban planning, design, and architecture, we will be more nimble and better equipped to handle the transportation and design demands of a rapidly changing world.”

Read the Fortune article: “Two Global Firms Join to Revolutionize Cities.”

About Perkins+Will

Perkins+Will is an interdisciplinary, research-based architecture and design firm established in 1935 and founded on the belief that design has the power to transform lives and enhance communities. Each of the firm’s 23 offices focuses on local, regional, and global work in a variety of practice areas. With hundreds of award-winning projects annually, Perkins+Will is highly ranked among top global design firms. Perkins+Will is recognized as one of the industry’s preeminent sustainable design firms due to its innovative research, design tools, and expertise. The firm’s 1,900 professionals are thought leaders in developing 21st century solutions to inspire the creation of spaces in which clients and their communities work, heal, live, and learn. Social responsibility is a fundamental aspect of Perkins+Will’s culture and every year the company donates 1% of its design services to pro bono initiatives. In 2015, Fast Company ranked Perkins+Will among “The World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Architecture.” For more information, visit www.perkinswill.com.

About Nelson\Nygaard

Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates is an internationally recognized firm committed to developing transportation systems that promote vibrant, sustainable, and accessible communities. Founded by two women in 1987, Nelson\Nygaard has grown from its roots in transit planning to a 130-person, full-service transportation firm with offices across the United States. Nelson\Nygaard puts people first, recognizing that transportation is not an end by itself but a platform for achieving broader community goals of mobility, equity, economic development, and healthy living. Built on consensus and a multimodal approach, the firm’s award-winning plans are renowned as practical and implementable. For more information, visit www.nelsonnygaard.com.