ASCE's Transportation & Development Institute (T&DI) is pleased to congratulate Kyle Bathgate, a Ph.D. student at the University of Texas at Austin, on winning the 2023 Jack E. Leisch Fellowship Award. The Jack E. Leisch Fellowship is a memorial to the outstanding professional accomplishments and contributions of Jack E. Leisch, M. ASCE, to the fields of geometric design, traffic engineering, and transportation planning.

Kyle's research lies in the field of transportation infrastructure resilience. "Resilience" is defined as the ability of a system to recover from a disruption as quickly as possible. Kyle studies how transportation systems are impacted by disruptive events to better understand how these systems respond to perturbations and determine how we can mitigate these impacts in the future. Kyle has conducted research for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) that examines the resilience of the Texas port system to hurricane events. In this project, he performed stakeholder outreach with port authorities, state DOT officials, and private trucking and freight shipping companies to understand the barriers faced in the complex port environment during hurricane events and determine how landside highway connections to ports can contribute to bottlenecks during the recovery process. He also conducted risk and vulnerability assessments using GIS and networking modeling methods to better understand these storm impacts in landside port systems. Kyle is currently studying the application of highway traffic monitoring devices to hurricane evacuations. As part of this study, he conducted a survey with Texas hurricane evacuees and used network modeling techniques to simulate hurricane evacuation scenarios in Texas, with the objective of examining how real-time traffic monitoring devices may be able to aid with evacuations. This project also employed multi-criteria decision analysis techniques to help justify specific recommendations to the state DOT from an asset management perspective. Kyle has also studied traffic safety during past Texas hurricane evacuation events, by analyzing historic crash and traffic volume data.

Kyle is from Carbondale, Illinois, and graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2019. Involvement with research as an undergraduate student inspired him to pursue a graduate education at UT Austin, where he currently studies as the Charles W. Merritt Endowed Graduate Fellow in Engineering and works as a Graduate Research Assistant. Kyle's career goal is to pursue a faculty position in academia. As a professor, he would be able to follow in Jack Leisch's footsteps by researching innovative methods for transportation infrastructure design and planning. When working on a research project, Kyle always tries to think about the application of the research, such as how the project findings may influence existing design standards or be incorporated into engineering practice. Kyle also has a passion for teaching, and he enjoys sharing his knowledge with the next generation of engineers. 

A student member of ASCE since undergrad, Kyle served in several roles in the UIUC student chapter and concrete canoe team. He has also served as President of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS-A) UT Student Chapter and has been involved with ITE student chapters. His dissertation advisor is Dr. Stephen Boyles, Professor of Civil Engineering and Charles Elmer Rowe Fellow in Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin.