Infrastructure & Environment

Well-Known Washington Transportation Planner Killed

Ronald Kirby, 69, oversaw transportation planning at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.
November 12, 2013

A well-known transportation planner in the Washington, D.C-region was found killed in his Alexandria, Va. home, police said Tuesday.

Ronald Kirby, 69, was found dead due to multiple gunshot wounds Monday afternoon. A relative found him at 12:30 p.m., and medics pronounced him dead at the scene, according to Alexandria police.

Kirby served as director of transportation planning at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, the regional nonprofit serving 22 local governments in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

His death stunned the transportation community in Washington.

"His deep knowledge and wise counsel assisted local, state and national officials in reaching consensus on the major transportation issues over the years," said Chuck Bean, executive director of the COG, in a statement. "More importantly, he was a trusted colleague and a dear friend to all of us at the Council and his associates around the region."

A spokeswoman for the Alexandria Police Department said police have no other details about the circumstances of the homicide and don't have a suspect. The investigation is ongoing.

Kirby led the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board, which coordinates transportation planning across the Washington area. Kirby joined the Kirby joined the COG in 1987. As part of his duties, he supervised long-range planning of both highway and public transportation systems, assessed transportation projects' impact on air quality, and helped plan airport systems. Before joining the COG in 1987, he directed the transportation program at the Urban Institute. He was a native of Australia.

"I worked with Ron Kirby for more than 14 years," D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, who serves on the COG board, said in a statement. "He was an expert on transportation and respected by transportation leaders across the nation. Few people understood our transportation problems and needs as well as Ron Kirby. He was the go-to guy for transportation. Ron’s untimely death is not only a personal loss but an enormous loss for our region."

Kirby did an lengthy chat online with Washington Post readers earlier this fall, and he was featured in a Washingtonian interview in 2004. He was featured in a cover story in Washington Business Journal just last week.

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