Biography of John S. Niles

John S. Niles is founder and president of Global Telematics, an independent policy research and management consulting firm based in Seattle. The firm is lately focused on policies, educational programs, and actions for cost-effective and sustainable transportation improvement through technology and service delivery innovation.  He is also the co-founder and Executive Research Director of the non-profit research and advocacy think tank Center for Advanced Transportation and Energy Solutions -- CATES, also based in Seattle.

For the past two decades up to the present day, he has served as a non-resident Research Associate at the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) at San Jose State University leading study teams on a series of research projects documented at  In this role he has studied and reported on transit-oriented development (TOD), urban freight planning, incremental bus rapid transit (BRT), electric motorcycles, park-and-ride analysis, job creation from infrastructure construction, and pandemic-related justifications for microtransit expansion.

Expanding on a long-term collaboration, he has worked with Paul Minett’s research team at MTI to demonstrate with survey and traffic data how a wicked California road bottleneck could be cleared of peak period congestion by making electronic payments for solo commuters to become passengers, thus setting up a new no-build alternative to expensive road lane expansion.

Beginning in 2010 in response to vehicle automation developments, John Niles engaged in research with Bern Grush leading to the co-authored public transportation policy textbook, The End of Driving: Transportation Systems and Public Policy Planning for Autonomous Vehicles (Elsevier, 2018).

Earlier in his career, he led projects that linked telecommunications development to public policy in Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Montana, California, Minnesota, and Kentucky, as well as in the U.S. Government. He is the principal author of the landmark study for the U.S. Department of Energy, Beyond Telecommuting: A New Paradigm for the Effect of Telecommunications on Travel (1994).

Mr. Niles was a founding member of the Telecommunications and Travel Behavior Committee of the Transportation Research Board, Senior Fellow of Technology and Transportation at Discovery Institute, and Senior Fellow for Telecommunications and Land Use at Center for the New West

As a management consultant, John Niles has been on the development and start-up teams of eight successful business or community service enterprises. He has provided advice and counsel to business and government leaders in North America, Asia, Australia, and Europe. He is a leading interpreter of how advanced telecommunications changes the way people live, work and move around. John Niles has written several dozen published articles and co-authored The New Management: Line Executive and Staff Professional in Future Firm (McGraw Hill, 1976).

His views have been quoted in many publications, including the The Economist, Seattle Times, New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post. He has also appeared on the PBS TV show Nightly Business Report and on National Public Radio's Morning Edition, and spoken at such forums as the Annual Pacific Telecommunications Conference, National League of Cities Annual Congress, and the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board. (Click here for a list of presentations.)

He is also co-founder and editor of the web-based Public Interest Transportation Forum focused on the cost-effectiveness of public transportation in the Seattle-Tacoma region of Washington State.

He began his independent consulting career as a member of the start-up team of Control Data Corporation's Local Government Information Network (LOGIN), 1979-1984, based originally on the CYBERNET and TECHNOTEC mainframe computer technology of CDC, and later migrated to the World Wide Web.

Earlier in John Niles' career, he served as a project manager in the first District of Columbia home rule government of Mayor Walter Washington (1974-78), and before that as a U.S. Naval Officer in Patrol Squadron 26 (VP-26), 1971-74.

He earned his bachelors degree in mathematics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a master of science in industrial administration at Carnegie Mellon University. John Niles grew up in Detroit, Michigan and attended Cass Technical High School. Since 2014 he has been a worldwide traveler focused on peace and friendship, a member of both Servas International and Friendship Force International.invisible.gif (809 bytes)

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Last modified, May 13, 2021