The Board of the International Association for Travel Behaviour Research is profoundly saddened by the passing of Prof. John Polak, of Imperial College, London, the 21st May 2019. John served the IATBR as Vice-Chair in 1996-1997 and as Chair in 1998-1999, and has been an incessant and energetic contributor to travel behavior research since the early 1980s. He was one of the pioneers of the Oxford Studies Group that is credited as one of the birthplaces of activity-based and dynamic travel behavior analysis. His work at Imperial College London has established this institution as a major international center for travel behavior research.
Johnʼs renaissance-man like diverse interests and substantial theoretical/methodological contributions include (but are not limited to) pioneering work on equilibrium in travel models, service and time reliability and perception, design of revealed and stated preference data collection, missing data imputation methods, spatial analysis of travel, telematics (later named Intelligent Transportation systems and now included in the Information and Communication Technologies) advanced discrete choice models, road and parking pricing, traffic law enforcement, human factors engineering, foundations of simulation methods, geometric design of highways, impact of fuel shortages, spatio-temporal accessibility, transport operational efficiency, emissions-energy consumption, travel demand for air travel, traffic flow and network analysis, fusion of data from multiple sources, travel demand management, new markets for automated vehicles, carsharing, electric vehicles, car use by young adults, agent-based forecasting and simulation, development of online and Big Data monitoring, and deep learning applications in transportation.
John has had a tremendous impact on the travel behavior community not only due to his pioneering work that paved the way for many other researchers but also with his mentoring of many major contributors to our collective intelligence. We will remember him as a scholar and a gentleman with a great sense of humor.
Additional details about John and his contributions to the profession can be found here.