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College of Engineering / Dean's Report / other-stories / National Transportation Leader Tapped to Head AU Transportation Research Institute

National Transportation Leader Tapped to Head AU Transportation Research Institute

As the Southeast’s leader in transportation research and education, Auburn University took another step forward in 2021 with the formation of the Auburn University Transportation Research Institute and the hiring of national transportation leader Laurence Rilett as the institute’s inaugural director.

The institute will provide greater visibility and a shared identity for all transportation-related research and educational programs at the university. It will also foster continued growth and expansion of Auburn’s rich history in its transportation research programs, ranging from advanced roadway design, aviation systems, next generation vehicles and transportation related logistics. 

In fiscal year 2020, Auburn Engineering’s centers and labs secured a combined total of more than $24 million in extramural funding for transportation research, education and outreach efforts. This level of extramural funding for transportation is greater than any other single research topic on the Auburn campus. 

“I am a big believer in multi-disciplinary research, and bringing all of Auburn University’s transportation-related research teams under one roof will position us to solve the complex challenges facing our nation’s multimodal transportation system and to educate the next generation of transportation professionals,” Rilett said.

Rilett comes to Auburn after having served as a distinguished professor of civil engineering and the Keith W. Klaasmeyer Chair in Engineering and Technology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, as well as the director of the Mid-America Transportation Center and the Nebraska Transportation Center.