Carnegie Mellon University

Rick Stafford

Rick Stafford

Distinguished Service Professor of Public Policy, Heinz College

5000 Forbes Avenue
Heinz College
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


Rick Stafford has been a Heinz College Distinguished Service Professor of Public Policy since June of 2006. He has directed the launch of Carnegie Mellon University’s Traffic21 and Metro21 Initiatives, the university's foray into the smart cities arena. Prior to his Heinz appointment, Stafford served as Chief Executive Officer for the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. The Conference worked to undertake several major regional initiatives in the Pittsburgh region in public governance, regional economic development, education and workforce development, and civic reorganization. Prior to the Conference, much of his career had been dedicated to public service. He served as Secretary of Legislative Affairs in the cabinet of Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburgh during the governor’s first term, and as chief of staff for the last 16 months of his second term. Stafford was Director of Research and Issues for the Thornburgh for Governor Committee and served as the Director of Transition between the administrations of Governor Milton Shapp and Governor Thornburgh. Previous to that position, he served as Special Assistant to the Executive Director of the Port Authority of Allegheny County. He has done extensive consulting in the public policy arena, as well as served on various governmental and community organizations.


  • B.S. in Mathematics
  • M.S. in Public Management


Stafford's research focuses on engineering and public policy change. His current focus is public policy affecting shale gas development.  He also directs CMU's Traffic21 Initiative to develop and deploy information and communication technologies to improve the efficiency of transportation systems.


Building on his professional governmental and civic experience, Stafford’s research and teaching interests are focused on the process of public policy change. He defines “engineering public policy change” as developing and executing “civic campaigns” to accomplish the enactment of significant public policy change. As a member of the Pennsylvania Policy Forum (a consortium of faculty members and academic leaders from Pennsylvania colleges and universities), Stafford has helped organize symposia for the Pennsylvania General Assembly related to its history and current operation. He serves on the Advisory Committee to The Dick Thornburgh Forum for Law and Public Policy at the University of Pittsburgh, on the Natural Gas Advisory Committee of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and on Pennsylvania's Open Data Committee. As a partner in a family farm in southwestern Pennsylvania, Stafford is involved with several organizations related to food, environment, and agriculture.