Larson Transportation Institute's annual conference is a huge success

Danica Laub
December 11, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The 2017 Transportation Engineering and Safety Conference (TESC) wrapped up Friday, Dec. 8, at The Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center on the University Park campus of Penn State. One of the largest conferences of its kind held in the region, and the main annual conference hosted by the Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute (LTI), TESC continues to attract some of the best and brightest in the transportation industry.

Celebrating its 23rd year, this year’s TESC topped previous years with record-breaking numbers of attendees, exhibitors and sessions. More than 670 attendees filled the halls and conference rooms to gather information from 40 sessions and 34 exhibitors representing products and solutions for intelligent traffic management, data collection and infrastructure. New for 2017, TESC included Traffic Incident Management (TIMS) and PennTime meetings, International Municipal Signal Association (IMSA) training and an online version of the conference program book – easily accessible on smartphones or tablets – which was met with rave reviews from attendees. 

“We are truly impressed with the turnout at this year’s event,” said Steven Williams, TESC general manager and LTI administrative services manager. “To host this many presenters, attendees and exhibitors under one roof and be able to share such a breadth of knowledge with so many key stakeholders in the transportation industry is something our staff at LTI looks forward to each year.”

The theme for the 2017 conference was “The Speed of Technology, Can We Keep Up?” and focused on the ever-changing technology in the transportation industry. With presentations from leading transportation faculty and professionals, topics included intelligent vehicle/highway systems, state and federal transportation guidelines, innovative financing, work zone innovations and safety improvements.

Esteemed Penn State faculty and LTI-affiliated researchers Sean Brennan, professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering, and Ilgin Guler, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, each presented research and offered insights about connected and automated vehicles. Vikash Gayah, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, served as a moderator. And, Eric Donnell, LTI director and professor of civil and environmental engineering, discussed the role of the Institute’s automated proving ground – one of ten federally designated sites in the nation – in the deployment of connected and autonomous vehicles. 

“There are big things coming out of the transportation industry. As an engineer, the wealth of knowledge that has been shared at TESC this year is exciting,” said Donnell. “Advancements in technology are playing such a pivotal role in both the transportation and automotive industries. Automated and connected vehicles, and how they will function with transportation systems around the world, are of particular interest in the transportation community, so it has been great to share some of the research coming out of Penn State and LTI.” 

In addition to informative sessions and forum discussions, this year’s TESC featured student poster presentations, project and person of the year awards, check presentations to the Adele A. Konefal Women’s Young Professional Scholarship and the Penn State Lions Pantry and the annual Larson Lecture – presented by Walter P. Kilareski, professor emeritus of civil engineering at Penn State and close friend and colleague of the late Thomas D. Larson. 

The 24th annual Transportation Engineering and Safety Conference is scheduled for Dec. 5-7, 2018. For more information about the conference and the Larson Institute, visit

The Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute is Penn State’s transportation research center. Since its founding in 1968, the Larson Institute has maintained a threefold mission of research, education and service. The institute brings together top faculty, world-class facilities and enterprising students from across the University in partnership with public and private stakeholders to address critical transportation-related problems.

  • Walter Kilareski speaks from the podium

    Walter P. Kilareski, professor emeritus of civil engineering at Penn State and close friend and colleague of the late Thomas D. Larson speaks about "Bees, Potholes, and Larson's Limits" during the annual TESC Larson Lecture luncheon.

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    IMAGE: Penn State
  • male and female students discuss research posters

    Kristin Kersavage, a doctoral candidate in transportation engineering, Danielle Berman, a graduate student in civil engineering, and Owen Hitchcock, a graduate student in civil engineering, discuss their research projects during the Penn State student poster session, Thursday, December 7, at The Penn Stater.

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    IMAGE: Penn State
  • TESC conference attendees talking to each other

    More than 670 attendees had a chance to network while visiting 34 exhibitors on display throughout The Penn Stater. 

    IMAGE: Penn State
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Last Updated December 11, 2017