The impact that Rafael has had on the science and application of traffic engineering in Mexico and throughout Latin America has been significant. As a young professional, Rafael was the recipient of an International Road Federation fellowship to attend the Bureau of Highway Traffic at Yale University in New Haven, CT, USA. During his tenure at the Bureau of Highway Traffic, Rafael had the opportunity to work with worldwide leaders in the discipline of traffic engineering and begin friendships and affiliations that spanned many decades. This included an opportunity to join the then Institute of Traffic Engineers and become associated with pioneers in the profession, to include Wilbur Smith, Burton W. Marsh, Bob Swain, Bob Holmes, Ted Matson and others. Rafael benefited from this experience by gaining knowledge and understanding of the art and science of traffic engineering.
Upon returning to Mexico, Rafael began to apply and adapt what he had learned to Mexico’s traffic needs. Through positions with the federal government and Mexico City, Rafael was able to provide needed improvements in traffic flow and regulation. Rafael also translated ITE’s Manual of Traffic Engineering Studies and appropriate chapters of the Traffic Engineering Handbook into Spanish. Rafael also helped mentor young professionals and encourage them to pursue careers in traffic engineering and teach short courses. Rafael subsequently authored a reference text in traffic engineering. He traveled throughout the world and extensively throughout Latin America. He was a sought-after speaker and lecturer on traffic engineering. He willingly shared his experience and constantly sought information from his peers throughout the world on innovative solutions to traffic challenges.
At Rafael’s urging, ITE chose Mexico City as the site of its 1977 Annual Meeting, the first to be held outside of Canada or the United States. Rafael served tirelessly on the local committee that worked with ITE Headquarters to assure a most successful international meeting. From 1979 to 1981, ITE selected Rafael to serve as an international director, representing ITE’s membership residing outside of Canada and the United States on the board.
After a long and distinguished career in public service, Rafael formed a consulting firm, Cal y Mayor and Associates, in 1978. He continued his service to the Latin-American community until his untimely death in July 1987. With Rafael’s significant contributions in mind, and the opportunities for ITE to help provide a network for continuing professional exchange, ITE has initiated a Latin American initiative to better serve current and future members and our profession in Latin America.