Director's Message

Dear Transportation Colleague,

The Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute has a long history of delivering high‐quality transportation research and outreach programs to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the nation. The institute has also provided significant educational and outreach opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as transportation professionals. Our former student affiliates have gone on to become administrators of federal transportation agencies, secretaries of state transportation agencies, executives in private sector consulting firms, and leaders in academia.

I was once a graduate student who was supported by sponsored research conducted at the Larson Transportation Institute. Most recently, I was a faculty affiliate of the institute and have benefited from the interdisciplinary collaborations available to those at Penn State interested in transportation issues. This experience has instilled a desire in me to evolve the institute into a leader in the integration of transportation research, education, and outreach. 

As I assume the leadership role of the institute, I will work with faculty, researchers, and staff to build upon our past successes and develop new research and outreach programs to address the challenges facing our nation’s surface transportation system. Fatalities and injuries associated with traffic crashes remains high; congestion on our highway and street network is worsening; and much of the transportation infrastructure requires repair. Several emerging issues such as the integration of technology into the transportation system; “big” data systems; and network resiliency and reliability, will present new challenges. Collectively, the Larson Transportation Institute views these challenges as opportunities, and we hope to be a national leader in developing solutions that will have a positive impact on system users.   

I will strive to ensure that the Larson Transportation Institute remains a team-oriented, interdisciplinary organization; will offer excellent support to the administration of our programs; will work closely with sponsors to develop high-quality scientific, yet implementable, research products; will engage students and alumni in our mission; and will deliver high-quality education and outreach programs. 

On behalf of the faculty affiliates, researchers, and staff of the Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, we hope that you find the information on our website informative. If you have questions about any of our education or outreach programs or might like to collaborate on transportation-related projects, please do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to working with you for the collective good of our transportation system.


Eric Donnell, Ph.D., P.E.

Eric Donnell headshot

Eric Donnell, Director



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