Auburn hosts 65th annual Alabama Transportation Conference

Published: Feb 17, 2022 3:00 PM

By Jeremy Henderson

The first morning of the two-day 2022 Alabama Transportation Conference (Feb. 9-10) was busy for Larry Rilett.

He delivered a keynote address on COVID-19's impact on the nation’s transportation system. He presided over the Governor's luncheon.  

An afternoon of technical sessions lay ahead. But before heading in for presentations on highway safety, roadway design, emerging technologies, geotechnical engineering, asphalt pavements, construction projects and bridge engineering, he found a chair in the busy exhibit hall of the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center — to catch his breath, and to take it all in.

"This is so great," said Rilett, who directed the Mid-America Transportation Center and the Nebraska Transportation Center before being tapped to lead the new Auburn University Transportation Research Institute in February 2021. "Very few states have a transportation conference this comprehensive and impactful. That Auburn University has been able to successfully host this for so long speaks to the leading role we have established in transportation research and outreach." 

Rilett is biased, of course. He's also right. 

Nearly 1,000 private and public transportation experts from across the state and the southeast attended the annual exchange of innovations in transportation planning, design, construction and operations, which the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, in partnership with the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT), has hosted since 1958. 

“The conference is a must-attend event for Alabama's best and brightest minds in the transportation, highway, construction, design and associated industries, and has been for 65 years now," said Rod Turochy, the James Madison Hunnicutt Professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the Alabama Transportation Assistance Program (ATAP), who presided over the conference's opening general session and also presented. "I'm definitely proud of how Auburn assists transportation professionals in delivering the safest, most efficient transportation system possible for Alabamians."

So is Alabama Governor Kay Ivey. 

While addressing attendees during the hour-long luncheon, Ivey praised the collective efforts of Auburn University, ALDOT and other state entities toward making Alabama's roadways and infrastructure not only the envy of its neighbors, but a continued selling point for outside investments.

"You are laying the groundwork — literally — for the future," Ivey said. "Building and maintaining good roads and bridges is how we put Alabama on the map and ensure that we keep a positive business climate for companies to work in."

As for keeping a positive conference climate, Rilett believes that listening actively to the feedback provided by the attendees is the primary reason for the long-term success of the conference. 

“The conference organizers — Alabama transportation industry leaders, in conjunction with Auburn faculty — actively seek out input for the conference attendees and are always striving to improve the program,” Rilett said. “These requests include everything from which national experts to include on the program to changes to the Governor’s Luncheon menu.”

Media Contact: Jeremy Henderson,, 334-844-3591
Larry Rilett, director of the Auburn University Transportation Research Institute, presides over the Governor's Luncheon at the 65th annual Alabama Transportation Conference.

Larry Rilett, director of the Auburn University Transportation Research Institute, presides over the Governor's Luncheon at the 65th annual Alabama Transportation Conference.

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