Larson Distinguished Lecture to be delivered Dec. 6

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute at Penn State has announced that William W. Millar will deliver the 2011 Thomas D. Larson Distinguished Transportation Lecture, titled “Why Would Anyone Invest in Public Transportation?” The lecture will be delivered at 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 6, in Room 105 of the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel on the University Park campus, in conjunction with the 17th annual Transportation Engineering and Safety Conference, Dec. 7-9. The lecture is free and open to the public; a reception will follow.

Millar is a public transportation and transportation policy expert and recent president of the American Public Transportation Association.

“With the current economy challenging every household budget, and limited funding available on the federal, state and local levels, does investing in public transportation make any sense anymore?” Millar asked.

Tom Larson was a Penn State student, professor, and co-founder and director of the Larson Institute at Penn State before rising to statewide and national prominence and helping to shape the direction and management of the nation’s transportation system and policy in the Interstate era. The Larson Lecture recognizes his singular contributions to the University and to the field of transportation.

At APTA, Millar led the organization to new heights, guiding it to legislative successes and dramatically increasing federal investment in public transportation.

Prior to APTA, he served 19 years at the Port Authority of Allegheny County, the principal transit operator serving Pittsburgh, Pa. As its executive director from 1983-1996, he oversaw the development and operation of bus, busway, light rail, paratransit and inclined plane service. He is the founder of Pittsburgh’s award-winning ACCESS paratransit service.

From 1973-77, Millar worked for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, where he developed and managed Pennsylvania’s Free Transit Program for Senior Citizens and led PennDOT’s rural public and community transit efforts. He began his career as the county transportation planner in Lancaster, Pa. in 1972.

A strong supporter of transportation research, Millar is the recipient of the Founding Father Award for his leadership in establishing the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP). He was a member of the executive committee of the Transportation Research Board for over two decades and served as its chair in 1992.

He has published numerous articles and has often testified before the U.S. Congress.

He is a frequent speaker and lecturer at conferences and seminars nationally and internationally and serves on the governing boards of several organizations. He is currently an adjunct instructor with the Heinz College School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University.

Millar is the recipient of many awards, including APTA’s Jesse Haugh Award for Transit Manager of the Year (1987); the Transportation Research Board’s W. N. Carey, Jr. Distinguished Service Award (1999); Railway Age’s Graham Claytor Award (2006); the Texas Transportation Institute’s Director’s Research Champion Award (2008) and the Eno Foundation’s Award for Transportation Excellence (2011). He recently received lifetime achievement awards from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) and was inducted into the ITS America Hall of Fame.

Millar earned a bachelor's degree from Northwestern University and an master's degree from the University of Iowa, majoring in urban transportation planning and policy analysis.

For more information on the lecture or the conference, call 814-863-5621 or email

Last Updated January 09, 2015