Larson Lecture: Mallory taps Larson wisdom in look to transportation's future

12/13/2016

By Michael Casper

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Brad Mallory, Penn State alumnus, former CEO of Michael Baker and past secretary of transportation for Pennsylvania, delivered the 2016 Thomas D. Larson Distinguished Transportation Lecture to a hushed crowd of nearly 600 at the Transportation Engineering and Safety Conference, held Dec. 7-9 at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel.

Karyn Vandervoort, of the Federal Highway Administration, who served as the conference’s program chair, introduced the session, which took place at noon on Thursday, Dec. 8. Vandervoort noted the Federal Highway Administration’s vigorous support of the critical themes of the conference: efficiency, judicious use of taxpayer dollars, reduced congestion, keeping America moving, and continuing to move in the direction of zero roadway fatalities.

In his remarks, Mallory invoked the wisdom of Tom Larson while providing his own insightful observations on how we got where we are, and how we’ll turn the page from here.

Mallory said the conference’s attendees “are the cornerstone of our quality of life today.” Mallory noted one of the enduring transportation practitioner’s goals as social justice, remarking how the interstate highway system enabled many Americans to travel for the first time beyond their local hub of activity.

One of Larson’s “pet peeves,” said Mallory, was the fine line between needs and wants, and he supplied Larson’s reasoned solution: provide a well-defined result that will come from a small price increase. Because transportation industry costs are constantly rising across the board, said Mallory, we must continue to seek new ways to increase productivity.

Larson began his career as a student at Penn State before advancing to professor, founding and directing the Pennsylvania Transportation Institute at Penn State that today bears his name, then being asked to serve as secretary of transportation for Pennsylvania and then the Federal Highway Administrator. Larson left an indelible mark as a thinker, doer, pioneer, pragmatist and mentor for generations of students and professionals in government, industry and academia.

As technologies and challenges are quickly evolving, and the future is not always clear, Mallory observed Larson’s thoughtful response that still applies: We must make the best-informed decisions possible today.

Mallory put forth at least two lingering questions to ponder: “Will automation make things better? And, who will be in charge of all this?”

Looking into the crowd before him, he remarked that within this group were many of the career professionals who would be leading us into that future.

To view Mallory's full remarks, click here.

For more information about the conference, visit http://transportation-engineering.outreach.psu.edu. For information about Penn State’s Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, visit http://www.larson.psu.edu/.

 

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MEDIA CONTACT:

Michael Casper

mcc4@psu.edu

Brad Mallory

Brad Mallory, Penn State alumnus, former CEO of Michael Baker and past secretary of transportation for Pennsylvania, delivered the 2016 Thomas D. Larson Distinguished Transportation Lecture on Dec. 8 at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel.

Karyn Vandervoort

Karyn Vandervoort, of the Federal Highway Administration, served as the 2016 Thomas D. Larson Distinguished Transportation Lecture's program chair.

 
 

About

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.

Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute

201 Transportation Research Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4710

Phone: 814-865-1891