Dennis L. Christiansen was formally appointed director of the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) during a special telephonic meeting of The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents Wednesday, November 1.
Regents named Christiansen sole finalist for the position last month. Wednesday’s confirmation by the Board completes the appointment process.
“The leadership provided by former directors Jack Keese, Charley Wootan, and Herb Richardson has put TTI into a strong and enviable position,” Christiansen said in assuming his new post. “It is a real honor and I feel very humbled to be named to follow in their footsteps and lead the Institute. TTI has an exceptionally qualified and dedicated staff and, because of that, we have many exciting opportunities ahead of us.”
Christiansen has served as deputy director of TTI since 1993. He joined TTI in 1972 as an assistant research engineer, and working his way up in the organization as associate research engineer and program manager, research engineer and division head, associate director, and most recently, agency deputy director.
As director of the Institute, Christiansen will serve as the CEO of the agency, providing overall leadership to the research, service, educational and administrative functions of TTI. The director also is charged with mobilizing and allocating resources effectively; creating synergy between TTI and its academic, public and private sector collaborators and constituencies; and ensuring the recruitment and development of an outstanding cadre of staff and students.
An international expert in high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, Christiansen pioneered the HOV lane concept in Houston and oversaw its development and implementation. His research in HOV lanes has been utilized throughout the country and has made a significant impact on the effectiveness of the transportation system in Texas and elsewhere, saving communities tens of millions of dollars by significantly improving traffic movement.
Christiansen holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Northwestern University. He received both his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in civil engineering from Texas A&M University.
Christiansen succeeds Dr. Herbert H. Richardson, who is retiring after 22 years of service to the A&M System.