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T&DI announces the Call for Applications for the 2019 Jack E. Leisch Fellowship Award

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

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The fellowship is a memorial to the outstanding professional accomplishments and contributions of Jack E. Leisch, M.ASCE to the fields of highway design, traffic operations, and transportation planning. The fellowship is supported by the income from donations in Mr. Leisch's honor.

The fellowship will apply to the pursuit of full-time studies in eligible academic programs in highway design, traffic operations, roadway safety, and transportation planning with the emphasis on highway design and traffic operations including ITS and influence of Autonomous Vehicles on highway design and traffic operations.

Application packages for this year's fellowship are due by March 30, 2019. Please visit the Leisch Fellowship page for details on eligibility requirements, application package, and the submission deadline.

About Jack E. Leisch

Jack Leisch is perhaps best known in the highway transportation engineering profession for his pioneering work in modern geometric design.  As chief of the Design Development Branch of the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads (1936-1956), Jack gave the final technical review and approval to all freeway and expressway projects proposed for federal funding.  Importantly, he was principal author of two design documents published by the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO; now AASHTO) followed in the United States and many areas of the world: A Policy on Geometric Design of Rural Highways (1954) and A Policy on Arterial Highways in Urban Areas (1957). Jack received the Department of Commerce Meritorious Service Award for his "valuable contributions to highway engineering through the development of geometric design guides and design capacity charts."

In 1956, following adoption of the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, Jack left the public sector to join De Luew, Cather and Company as chief highway engineer. He continued to develop innovative tools for use in operational analysis and design of freeway interchanges and channelized intersections. These included templates for turning paths of design vehicles, three-centered curve templates, and updates of the design-capacity charts for signalized intersections that he had initially developed in 1951.  He formed his own company in the 1970s.

ack Leisch was one of the first to recognize the importance of driver characteristics and expectations in developing design concepts and implementing design details such as route continuity, lane balance, and ramp spacing.  Jack conceived the concept of a "speed profile" to achieve more uniform operating speeds, one of the bases for the Interactive Design Safety Model developed by FHWA.

Among his more than 50 publications, Jack proposed a "major transportation corridor" concept.  This concept recognized and adapted to the real-world challenges presented by the urgency to create urban transportation networks, spurred on by the evolution of the cityscape and emerging travel demand patterns.

Jack Leisch was a teacher. He taught courses in geometric design and traffic engineering at a number of leading universities and at many short courses and seminars through which he influenced thousands of professional careers with his applied research and enthusiasm for the driver-oriented design process.