Passion, Excitement, and a Commitment to Truth, Accuracy, and Fairness

Nov 18, 2013

Ron Kirby's mechanical pencil and block eraser never touched a draft of this issue of TPB Weekly Report. It's the first time that's happened in the nearly two years since we started publishing -- 91 issues in all.

Week in and week out, Ron played an integral role in getting this publication ready to distribute to the hundreds of elected officials, planners, reporters, and engaged citizens subscribed to receive it. He was at the center of each week's effort to tell another piece of the regional transportation story, conceiving individual story ideas, sketching out key points, and editing drafts -- with his pencil and eraser, sometimes through three or four iterations -- before the final text was ready to go.

To that weekly process he brought an unprecedented knowledge of all things transportation, accumulated over several decades of study and work. That expertise was critical in bringing you stories full of valuable, insightful information, like the results of our many travel surveys and other data collection efforts, and the findings of our various technical assistance projects aimed at complementing the planning activities of the state and local governments in our region.

But Ron's passion and excitement for telling those stories, for being part of the regional conversation and making the Washington region a better place to live and do business, is really what sustained this weekly effort. Ron devoted more time and energy to this publication, and to our many other publications, presentations, and reports, than most people probably realized. For Ron, sharing our work with others was very important, and doing so in the best and most accurate way possible was paramount in maximizing its impact. That meant remaining committed to truth, accuracy, and fairness -- always. Which is why he would say to those of us tasked with helping him produce the report each week, as he had to others before, "Above all, we must remain 'aggressively neutral!'"

With this direction, Ron further carved out the TPB's niche as an impartial authority on transportation in the region. The data we collect, the analyses we perform, the studies we carry out -- this work was all done not to advocate a certain point of view, but to provide the information necessary for sound, informed decision-making. Aggressive neutrality was how Ron navigated the sometimes choppy political waters of our multi-jurisdictional, multimodal region.

As the days since his death give way to weeks, months, and -- eventually -- years, we will endeavor to continue delivering the kind of valuable, insightful, impactful stories that Ron thought so important to tell.

Ron Kirby's legacy will reach into many corners of this region and the world. This publication will be just one tiny part of that legacy. It is our intention to carry it on with the firmest commitment to truth, accuracy, and fairness -- and with passion and excitement -- so that we might continue enriching one another, informing and engaging our readers, and impacting this region more broadly, as Ron did for so many years.

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