Transportation, whether measured in ton-miles, vehicle-miles or passenger-miles— is consumed. It cannot be stockpiled or accumulated. Each day’s transportation total is gone forever and each new day will provide new demands. Thomas H. MacDonald Chief, Bureau of Public Roads, 1919 – 1953,and one of the early leaders of TTI

Institute Legacy

The legacy of TTI is about a team of researchers in pursuit of a better way to develop and maintain a safe and efficient transportation—saving lives, time and resources.

Early Leaders

Gibb Gilchrist

Portrait of Gibb Gilchrist


December 23, 1887 – May 12, 1972
Mr. Gilchrist served as State Highway Engineer of the Texas Highway Department from 1928 to 1937, as Dean of Engineering at Texas A&M from 1937 to 1944, as President of Texas A&M from 1944 to 1948 and as Chancellor of the A&M System from 1948 to 1957. He was instrumental in the creation of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, and, working with Mr. DeWitt C. Greer, in developing the working relationship with the Texas Highway Department.

DeWitt C. Greer

Portrait of DeWitt C. Greer


July 27, 1902 – November 17, 1986
Mr. Greer (Texas A&M, Class of 1923) served as State Highway Engineer of the Texas Highway Department from 1940 to 1967. He was known as the Dean of the Nation’s Highway Administrators and was a contemporary of both Gibb Gilchrist and Thomas H. MacDonald. He worked with Mr. Gilchrist in establishing the Texas A&M Transportation Institute and was responsible for developing the cooperative research program with the Texas Highway Department.

Thomas H. MacDonald

Portrait of Thomas H. MacDonald


July 23, 1881 – April 7, 1957
Mr. MacDonald was the first chief of the U. S. Bureau of Public Roads, serving in that capacity from 1919 to 1953, and was known as the father of modern highways. Following retirement in 1953, he came to Texas A&M to work with Mr. DeWitt C. Greer and Mr. Gibb Gilchrist in organizing the programs of the newly created Texas A&M Transportation Institute. He provided direction and guidance to TTI until his death in 1957.

Institute Directors

Fred J. Benson

Portrait of Fred J. Benson


Director, 1955-1962
Mr. Fred J. Benson (Kansas State University ’35) came to A&M in 1937 as a faculty member in Civil Engineering. He was instrumental in the organization of TTI and served as the first Director until 1962, at which time he became Dean of Engineering. He retired in 1980 as Deputy Chancellor of Engineering, and as President of the TAMU Research Foundation in 1982. Dean Benson’s leadership in the early years enabled TTI to become a viable organization and set the guidelines for its continued growth.

Charles J. “Jack” Keese

Portrait of Charles J. “Jack” Keese


Director, 1962-1976
Mr. Charles J. “Jack” Keese (Texas A&M University ’41) returned to A&M in 1948 after serving four years as an Army officer in Europe and the Pacific and three years with the Texas Highway Department. After receiving his M.S. degree, he served as Traffic Engineer for the City of Midland, returning to Texas A&M and TTI in 1955. Mr. Keese served as the second Director of TTI from 1962 until heart surgery forced his retirement in 1976. Under Jack Keese, TTI attracted excellent professional staff and grew into national prominence.

Charley V. Wootan

Portrait of Charley V. Wootan


Director, 1976-1993
Dr. Charley V. Wootan (Texas A&M University ’50) joined TTI in 1956 as an Associate Research Economist. He served as Associate Director from 1966 to 1976 and as Director from 1976 to 1993 and received numerous national awards. He was one of the founders and first President of the Council of University Transportation Centers in 1979. He served as Chair of the Transportation Research Board in 1983. Under Dr. Wootan’s leadership, TTI grew to become the largest university-based transportation research agency in the nation.

Herbert H. Richardson

Portrait of Herbert H. Richardson


Director, 1993-2006
Dr. Herbert H. Richardson (MIT ’55), a member of the National Academy of Engineering, came to Texas A&M in 1984 as Dean of Engineering and Deputy Chancellor for Engineering. He served as Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System from 1991 to 1993 and as TTI Director from 1993 until his retirement in 2006. Under his leadership, TTI expanded its relationships with the academic sector, added significant infrastructure, and doubled annual research expenditures.

Dennis L. Christiansen

Portrait of Dennis L. Christiansen


Director, 2006-present
Dr. Dennis L. Christiansen (Northwestern University ’70) joined TTI in 1971 as a Graduate Research Assistant. He served as Deputy Director for 13 years prior to becoming Director in 2006. An expert in traffic operations and transportation planning, he was International President of the International Institute of Transportation Engineers in 1996. Under his leadership, TTI is significantly diversifying its research portfolio, charting a strategic future direction, and moved into its first state headquarters building in 2009.

Videos from TTI History

Like No Other: TTI’s 50th Anniversary

screen capture from TTI's "Like No Other" video

In 1998, TTI Communications produced Like No Other. This video presentation highlighted the Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s many contributions to safer, smoother roads and more efficient transportation. Spokesperson Bob Phillips, the Texas Country Reporter, takes viewers on an informative trip through TTI’s research. TTI is a multi-faceted organization that is truly Like No Other.

TTI Safety Division Video

screen capture from 1996 Safety Division video

The accomplishments of TTI’s Safety Division were highlighted in this video, produced in 1996 by TTI’s Communications Group. It features footage of TTI highway safety innovations that were developed through testing at TTI’s Research Annex.

The Measure of a Man: Tribute to Charley Wootan

screen capture from TTI's Measure of a Man video tribute to Charley Wootan

The Measure of a Man was produced by TTI Communications in February 1993. It honored the retiring Director of the Texas Transportation Institute, Dr. Charley V. Wootan. The Measure of a Man highlights Dr. Wootan’s life with stories and tributes from those who knew him best. Dr. Wootan was Director of TTI from 1976 to 1992. He died on March 24, 2001.