Daniel Muniz works for the New York City Department of Transportation where he has served as a Legal Consultant, Analyst, Senior Analyst, Deputy Director, and more recently as the Acting Chief of Staff for the Sidewalk Program. His current role focuses on Program Management which includes budgeting, planning, project delivery, and most importantly – the construction of sidewalks throughout all five boroughs of New York City. Improving New York City’s sidewalk infrastructure and making it more accessible to all pedestrians is the key driver of all his work.
1.What is your favorite YPT-NYC event and why?
I would say YPT Happy hour! Being able to connect with fellow transportation enthusiasts in a laid-back social setting allows everybody to network and share experiences. It’s the best way to get to know others and engage with people in the transportation field.
2. If you could snap your fingers and make one change to regional transportation, what would it be?
I am probably biased because I live in Rockland County but being able to take a “one-seat” train ride directly into Manhattan without having to do multiple connections/transfers would be a huge improvement. There are options available such as driving to Tarrytown/White Plains and taking Metro-North or riding a Coach bus but commute times aren’t the best. There is talk in Congress to change this, so I am hopeful this will come to fruition.
3. What sparked your passion to work in the transportation industry?
The transportation industry lured me in when I started my first job as a Legal consultant assigned to the NYC Department of Transportation. I was researching trip and fall claims related to the City’s infrastructure and that’s where I first started learning about the Agency and its operations. I obtained a B.S. in International Relations and Politics, so naturally, my next step was to go to Law School. However, by the time I became an Analyst for the Sidewalk Program, my interest quickly shifted to Public Administration and Urban Planning. Understanding how our cities connect and how the movement of people influences community development was what ultimately pulled me into the transportation world.
4. What are you working on that you’re most excited by?
I introduced a model to prioritize sidewalk repairs around New York City Housing developments. We were able to build out a tool in ArcGIS that automated a ranking system based on inputs that accounted for both condition and demographic scores. This allowed us to factor equity more easily into the work we did. It’s been two years since we started piloting this new tool and we are looking to expand its use for other work we do. Shout out to the team of analysts and our Information Technology team for making that project a reality! We are also working on a complete overhaul for all our internal databases and incorporating them all into one centralized system. Being a part of the engineering of a completely new system that will handle all our operations in a more efficient way is truly rewarding.
5. What career advice would you give to other YPT’ers interested in your career path?
Be curious and ask questions! Try to find an area that you feel most connected with and surround yourself with others that are already in the field. Networking events and socials may not be your cup of tea, but once you get out there and start making connections, it all becomes a lot easier.
6. What famous celebrity do you think should be given the opportunity to voice a NYCT Subway Announcement?
Not sure why, but I feel Samuel L. Jackson would be a perfect fit for that role.