Professor C. Michael Walton Receives 2013 Frank Turner Medal

C. Michael Walton, professor of civil engineering and the Ernest H. Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, received the 2013 Frank Turner Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Transportation.

The award recognizes lifetime achievement in transportation, as demonstrated by a distinguished career in the field, professional prominence and a distinctive, widely recognized contribution to transportation policy, administration or research.

Dr. Walton was honored for his influential 40-year career in transportation, in which he has combined distinguished university teaching and research, exceptional service to government at the state and federal levels, active engagement with the private sector and extraordinary service to professional organizations.

Walton received the award during a luncheon on Jan.16 at the Transportation Research Board  (TRB) 92nd Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. A committee composed of top staffers from the Federal Highway Administration, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, American Public Transit Association, the Texas Transportation Institute and TRB selects the award recipient. TRB, which is also the secretariat for the award, is one of six major divisions of the National Research Council, which is jointly administered by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.

As a researcher on transport systems engineering and policy analysis, Walton has contributed to more than 500 publications in the areas of intelligent transportation systems, freight transport, and transportation engineering, planning, policy, and economics. He is internationally respected by his colleagues and peers and has received numerous awards and honors. His election to the National Academy of Engineering in 1993 gave formal recognition to the high esteem in which he is held in the professional engineering community. As an educator, Walton has influenced the lives of several generations of transportation engineering students and has been a strong mentor to many who have worked closely with him.


Professor C. Michael Walton received the 2013 Frank Turner Medal for Lifetime Achievement.

Walton is often called upon to provide guidance and leadership to federal and state officials, industry representatives and fellow academics on a number of technical and policy issues. Recently, the Governor of Texas appointed him to the state’s 2030 Committee, a blue-ribbon panel of experts in business and transportation, established to develop a comprehensive estimate of Texas transportation needs through 2030. He was elected chair of that committee.

One of Walton’s hallmarks is the generous leadership he has given as a volunteer to many of the most important and respective national civil engineering and transportation-related organizations, including TRB. He has served as chair of the TRB Executive Committee (1991) and currently serves as its Division Chair for National Research Council (NRC) Oversight and as an ex officio member of the NRC Governing Board. Over the years, he also has served as chair or member of many TRB policy study committees, standing committees, conference planning committees and project panels. He was a founding member and elected Chairman of the Board of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America); and he was the first academic to be elected Chairman of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA).

Among his many honors, Walton was elected a Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and was chosen as a member of the inaugural class of ITS America’s ITS Hall of Fame. He received the Council of University Transportation Centers award for distinguished contributions to university transportation education and research, and the Institute of Transportation Engineers’ Wilbur S. Smith Distinguished Transportation Educator Award and its Theodore M. Matson Memorial Award. His TRB awards include the W.N. Carey, Jr., Distinguished Service Award and the Thomas B. Deen Distinguished Lectureship.

Walton earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the Virginia Military Institute, and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in transportation from North Carolina State University. He has been affiliated with the University of Texas at Austin since 1971, rising through the ranks to become a professor in 1983 and Chairman of the Civil Engineering Department in 1988. He also has held a joint academic appointment in the university’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs since 1987.