Tom Maze, Influence and Impact

Tom Maze's influence and long-term impact will be felt at Iowa State University for years to come. Here's a retrospective of his association with ISU.


Receives B.S. in civil engineering from ISU.


Returns to ISU as associate professor of civil (transportation) engineering and director of the Rural Technical Assistance Program (the predecessor to Iowa LTAP).

Brings along 2 grad students from his stint in Oklahoma, Omar Smadi and Neal Hawkins, who become research assistants in civil engineering at ISU.

Sets up research shop in basement room of the small Engineering Annex Bldg on Haber Road. Omar learns the entertainment value of rodents.

Reinvigorates interdisciplinary Master of Science in Transportation Planning degree.


Assumes directorship of Midwest Transportation Center (MTC), FHWA’s (Federal Highway Administration) Region 7 University Transportation Center.

Pioneers innovative Transportation Scholars program, an academic enrichment program for students in transportation.

Initiates and directs Iowa Transportation Center (ITC) as umbrella for MTC and LTAP; ITC becomes focal point for transportation research and education at ISU

Neal heads to Des Moines, MS degree in hand; Omar pursues a PhD.

Builds staff expertise (eventually a division) in advanced transportation technologies including intelligent vehicle-highway systems (IVHS)

Moves ITC to larger facilities in Town Engineering Bldg.


Hits the $1 million expenditure mark (fully funded)...and kept going up.


Leads studies on transportation and the economy and on institutional barriers and opportunities for IVHS in commercial vehicle, which became models for states conducting similar research for FHWA.

Through Iowa Signal Go! program, helps Iowa’s local agencies coordinate traffic signals to improve traffic safety and fuel savings.


Moves ITC to larger facilities in Southgate Square (3500 sq ft). Tom gets a real wood desk!

Builds staff expertise (eventually a division) in GIS for transportation.

Lures Reg Souleyrette from Nevada to lead newest division and join civil engineering faculty.

Begins broadcasting Transportation Scholars seminars using satellite uplinks.

Initiates effort to develop roadway spatial data infrastructure, which forms the basis for several generations of crash location and analysis tools and other traffic safety data systems for Iowa DOT and other state highway agencies.

Sponsors (through MTC) an issue of Policy Studies Journal.

Organizes IVHS in the Midwest Conference.


Leads development of Iowa’s pavement management system. Hires Omar to manage the pavement management effort.

Initiates outreach division at ITC.

Initiates electronic bulletin board system (BBS) to provide toll-free batch e-mail and other services for Iowa’s local roadway agencies.


Moves ITC to larger facilities in Bldg 2 of ISU Research Park (6750 sq ft) to house a lab for GIS-transportation applications (and The Couch for late-night and weekend naps).

Relinquishes MTC grant to Nebraska, but just temporarily.

Transitions the broadcast of Transportation Scholars seminars to Iowa Communications Network.


Changes ITC’s name to Center for Transportation Research and Education (CTRE) to mark the center’s multi-million dollar, international funding base and strong core activities conducted by 26 professional and support staff and several affiliate faculty.

Makes BBS obsolete by introducing CTRE’s website.

Organizes premier Mid-Continent Transportation Research Symposium to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Transportation Research Board and Iowa’s role in establishing and setting the bar of excellence for that institution.

Facilitates initial cooperative transportation research management agreement between ISU and the Iowa DOT.


Moves CTRE to even larger facilities in Bldg 3 of ISU Research Park (14,000 sq ft).

Partners with ISU “bridge people”; Bridge Engineering Center moves to CTRE.

Works with Reg, the Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau, and Iowa DOT to initiate Iowa Traffic Safety Data Service (ITSDS) at CTRE.

Works with Iowa DOT and Iowa Concrete Paving Association to initiate new Portland Cement Concrete Pavement Technology Center at CTRE.

Helps the Statewide Urban Designs and Specifications program get off the ground.


Takes a detour with H.R. Green.


Returns to ISU and CTRE, bringing Neal Hawkins with him.


Establishes and directs Center for Weather Impacts on Mobility and Safety.

Once again wins and directs FHWA’s Region 7 University Transportation Center, this time the Midwest Transportation Center (MTC).


The programs that Tom built flourish and CTRE moves to Bldg 4 of ISU Research Park (25,000 sq ft).


MTC becomes a Tier-1 center.


Friends and colleagues of Professor Tom Maze mourn his passing on June 8, 2009, at University of Minnesota Hospitals of heart failure.


Spaulding Center for Transportation, home of the Iowa Transportation Museum, honors Tom Maze as a Transportation Hero by Example and inducts him into its Heroes Center, praising him as "an outstanding educator and a continuing influence in transportation research." Tom's wife Leslie Maze accepts the award.

News release

Tom Maze
Professor Tom Maze, InTrans founder
Tom presenting at an LTAP function
Technology transfer was important to Tom from the beginning.
Tom speaking during a Transportation seminar
A Transportation Seminar broadcast.
Softball team
An early student/faculty softball team.
Fred Bigelow's retirement party
The Safety Circuit Rider program was an important part of the outreach division.
Tom speaking at a podium
Tom could be a very funny speaker. You could never be sure what he would say next.
Steve Andrle and Tom Maze shaking hands
Tom passed the CTRE reins to Steve Andrle in 2000.
Leslie Maze accepts Tom’s Transportation Hero award
Tom's wife Leslie Maze accepts Tom’s Transportation Hero award from the Iowa Transportation Museum in 2012.