Jonathan L. Gifford

Photo of Jonathan L. Gifford
Titles and Organizations

Professor; Director, Center for Transportation Public-Private Partnership Policy

Contact Information
Phone: 703-993-2275
Fax: 801-749-9198
Mason Square, Van Metre Hall, Room 527
3351 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
MSN: 3B1


Jonathan L. Gifford is a professor in the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, and the director of the Center for Transportation Public-Private Partnership Policy.

His primary area of expertise is transportation and public policy, with a particular focus on transportation and infrastructure finance. His recent research investigates transportation finance and the role of public private partnerships.

Gifford's book Flexible Urban Transportation (Pergamon 2003) examines policies to improve the flexibility of urban transportation systems. He has also studied the role of standards in the development and adoption of technology, particularly technological cooperation across jurisdictional boundaries through coalitions and consortia. A case in point is the E-ZPass highway toll tag, now adopted by millions of households in the U.S. Mandatory standards setting processes, which are more common in Europe and Asia, have met with less successful adoption and serious implementation problems.

He has twice chaired committees of the National Academy of Sciences that reviewed the U.S. Department of Transportation standards program for intelligent transportation systems (2002-03 and 2006-07).

Gifford teaches master's classes in transportation policy in the Schar School. He has also taught a course on the interstate highway system as a socio-technical system as part of the Mason's Honors in General Education, which examines the history and development of the interstate highway system, and the role it has played in the development of modern America.

He received a BS in civil engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and an MS and PhD in civil engineering (transportation) at the University of California, Berkeley, with doctoral minors in economics and urban and regional planning. His dissertation examined the history and development of the interstate highway system from its origins in the 1930s through its design and deployment in the 1960s and beyond.

View Jonathan L. Gifford's CV 

Areas of Research 

  • Civil Engineering
  • Development and Delivery
  • Federalism/State and Local Government
  • Fiscal Policy and Budgeting
  • Infrastructure Finance
  • Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs or P3s)
  • Regional Development
  • Transportation Policy
  • Urban Policy