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David L. Mayer, PhD

In 2018, David L. Mayer, PhD became the first Chief Executive Officer of the newly-created Washington Metrorail Safety Commission (WMSC). The WMSC is a state-level government agency with oversight and enforcement authority to ensure continual safety improvement in the Metrorail system that serves the National Capital Region. The WMSC, which is entirely independent of Metrorail, conducts audits, inspections, event investigations, and oversees corrective action plans to drive safety performance.

Mayer served from 2014 to 2018 as the chief safety officer of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). The MTA operates a network of subways, buses, railroads, bridges, and tunnels in a 5,000 square mile region. Mayer was responsible for enterprise-wide safety strategies, which included launching an extensive program to evaluate and improve railway crossings, and the rollout of a successful, non-punitive obstructive sleep apnea screening and treatment program for 20,000+ safety critical employees.

Previously, Mayer served for five years as the managing director of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). He functioned as the agency's chief operating officer and senior career executive overseeing the agency's technical organizational units. Mayer began his NTSB career in 1991 as a transportation safety researcher. He worked on studies involving recreational boating, truck driver fatigue, aviation safety in Alaska, air traffic control equipment reliability, and railroad crossing safety. In 1996, he was assigned to the Office of Aviation Safety where he was involved in the day-to-day operation of that office, and participated in a number of high-profile, major accident investigations.

In 2001, he was named assistant managing director, and in 2005 was promoted to deputy managing director. While in this post, Mayer concurrently served for 10 months as the NTSB’s chief information officer overseeing the agency’s information technology, records management, and information security programs. In February 2007, Mayer became a member of the senior executive service, and in 2009 became managing director of the NTSB.

Mayer was a 2012 recipient of the Presidential Rank Award for strong leadership in Senior Executive Service. Mayer is trained in experimental psychology as a human factors specialist, and holds a doctorate from Rice University in Houston, Texas.