The board of directors of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials has elected Roger Millar, secretary of the Washington State Department of Transportation, as its 2022-2023 president during its 2022 Annual Meeting in Orlando. The board also elected Paul Ajegba, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation, as its 2022-2023 vice president.
“To be entrusted with this national leadership role at a time of great transformation is an incredible honor and responsibility,” Millar said in a statement. “As president, I will use resilience as a lens to view and define what a safe, sound, and smart multimodal transportation system is. This systemic approach ensures that state DOTs have the tools, resources, and systems needed to reduce highway crashes and fatalities, advance equity and accessibility, and improve mobility for all users.”
Appointed WSDOT secretary in August 2016, Millar – a 1982 graduate of the University of Virginia – is a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers and a fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners. He also serves as president of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Transportation and Development Institute, is chair of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America’s board of directors, and is a member of the National Complete Streets Coalition Steering Committee.
An experienced land-use and transportation engineer, planner, and program manager – with an international reputation for innovative approaches to conservation and development – Millar’s key emphasis area as AASHTO’s new president is transportation system resilience. That includes preparing for and adapting transportation infrastructure to changing conditions and climate-related disruptions like wildfires, flooding, excessive heat, sea-level rise, and extreme storm events.
Three key principles underpin his resilience vision:
- A resilient transportation system is safe: Millar believes that the rising number of roadway fatalities is a public health emergency. To that end, safety forms a critical pillar of his resilience vision. He believes state DOTs must embrace the “Safe System” approach: that safe roads, safe speeds, safe vehicles, safe road users, and post-crash care, all play a role in decreasing fatalities across the nation’s road network.
- A resilient transportation system is sound: In order to get the most out of America’s transportation systems, Millar said the nation must strengthen state DOT asset management – programs that serve as the foundation for optimized resource allocation. This approach emphasizes equity and inclusiveness in policy and program decisions, while also emphasizing the importance of data in boosting transportation system resilience on a national level.
- A resilient transportation system is smart: Millar believes that the modern state DOT must use all of the tools at their disposal to get the most out of the assets they already have and be smarter about how to support the movement of people and goods. This includes prioritizing all travel options – transit, biking, walking and rolling – to improve accessibility, collaborating more on land use planning, and building upon ITS successes.
AASHTO 2022-2023 Vice President Paul Ajegba has led the Michigan DOT since his appointment in January 2019. He is a member of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials and serves on the board of directors of AASHTO, ITS America, the University of Michigan Civil and Environmental Engineering Friends Association, and the Mackinac Bridge Authority. Ajegba also received induction into the National Academy of Construction Hall of Fame in October 2022.
Ajegba holds a bachelor of science in civil engineering from Prairie View A&M University, a master’s degree in construction engineering from the University of Michigan, and is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Michigan. Information courtesy of AASHTO.