David L. Mayer, PhD

Board Vice-Chair

Since December 2014, David L. Mayer, PhD has served 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 is responsible for enterprise-wide safety strategies and fostering a world-class organizational culture that provides the safest possible environment for employees, customers, and the general public.

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 and highway-grade 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. He was extensively involved in the investigation of the 1996 in-flight break up of TWA flight 800, responsible for investigative data management and leading eyewitness activities. He also served as deputy chief, and later as acting chief, of the Human Performance Division.

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. He has worked on accident investigations and safety projects in all modes of transportation.

Mayer is trained in experimental psychology as a human factors specialist, and holds a doctorate from Rice University in Houston, Texas.