Valley Metro Rail

Valley Metro Rail

Valley Metro Rail

Bombardier

96. John Swanson

Light-rail designer of Parsons Brinckerhoff

Mass transit is crucial to a carbon-frugal economy and livable, vibrant cities; $150 billion in new federal spending for infrastructure, including a substantial chunk for light-rail, drives the point home. An unassuming Texan who has worked in Germany, France, and the U.K., John Swanson is the sector's top design consultant, bringing European automotive-quality light-rail design to the United States. His cutting-edge cars for Phoenix's brand-new Metro system were climate-tested at up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit in Japan, and contain special shock and noise absorbers, LED lighting, sleek ergonomic interiors, energy-capture brakes, and state-of-the-art security features. Next stops: Honolulu, Seattle, and Dubai. -- by Anya Kamenetz

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