History of ITE

Institute of Transportation Engineers

The Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) is an international professional society of more than 13,000 transportation engineers, planners, and others responsible for the safe and efficient movement of people and goods on our streets, highways, and transit systems. Since its founding in 1930, the Institute has been providing transportation professionals with programs and resources to help them meet those responsibilities. Institute programs and resources include professional development seminars; technical reports; a monthly journal; local, regional, and international meetings; and other forums for the exchange of opinions, ideas, techniques, and research

ITE members are from both the public and the private sector. They are employees of government agencies, regional planning offices, consulting firms, educational institutions, product manufacturers, and other transportation related organizations. If you're engaged in planning, designing, operating, managing, or maintaining surface transportation systems, ITE can meet your needs for on-going professional development. Through its monthly journal and its technical reports, you'll be kept apprised of the latest developments, research, applications, and innovations in the field. It's annual meetings, conferences, and topical seminars offer top-notch technical presentations, along with social gatherings intended to foster informal sharing of ideas and opinions with your peers. The many committees of ITE's Technical Council provide you the opportunity to participate in shaping policies, recommended practices, and standards.

Midwestern District ITE

ITE is divided into ten Districts worldwide to better serve its members. The Illinois Section is part of the Midwestern District, which encompasses eleven states in the Midwest. The District IV Board includes representatives from all four Sections and typically holds its annual meeting each June to discuss District and Section activities. There are four sections within the Midwestern District, as shown in our district map

Movite (Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, Arkansas, and Nebraska)
North Central (Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota)

Illinois Section

In 1944 the Institute of Transportation Engineers membership roster listed 297 active members of which approximately 10% resided in Illinois. The membership was well represented in the armed forces totaling 97 or approximately one-third.

Membership growth developed steadily through the forties and eventually efforts by ITE to place traffic engineering administrations into engineering departments were successful. As vehicle registration soared traffic problems became complex and the traffic engineering profession gained recognition as an important function of transportation.

The City of Chicago had already established itself as a pioneer in traffic engineering with a separate department within the public works administration. In addition, it maintained a large traffic engineering department within the Chicago Park District that had jurisdiction over the many miles of boulevards including the north and south Outer Drive. When the Park District Police and Engineering Departments merged with the City of Chicago, it created the largest traffic engineering administration in the United States under the direction of Leslie J. Sorenson, one of the pioneer members of ITE.

As the ITE membership grew, it was apparent that the national organization should form local chapters. The Washington, D.C. Chapter was one of the first to seek admission as a District Chapter. In 1947, the Chicago area membership represented approximately 10% of the national, and the plan for a district began to develop. At the invitation of Matt Sielski, a group of traffic engineers met on the 38th floor of the Opera Building in the Electrical Club to discuss the organization of a district chapter. The luncheon was sponsored by William Abbott, representative of Automatic Signal Corporation. Among those in attendance were Richard Fend, William McConochie, Ralph Gross, William Marston, Matt Sielski, and Ralph Michel. At this meeting it was proposed that the district be identified as the Midwest Section and it membership to include the following states: Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and Indiana. Approximately 70 active members resided in the ten-state area. At the meeting Matt Sielski was chosen as Acting President pending the first meeting of the Section.

The first meeting of the Midwest Section was held at the Engineers Club on April 17, 1947. The dinner meeting was well attended and included members from Wisconsin, downstate Illinois, Indiana and Missouri. At that meeting Vic Hofer was elected President, Stan Baker, Vice President and Matt Sielski, Secretary-Treasurer. At this meeting the By-Laws were approved and submitted to the Board of Directors, which subsequently approved them on June 19, 1947.

Subsequent dinner meetings were held bi-monthly at the Engineers Club. All were well attended. As the membership of ITE grew, it became apparent that the Midwest Section included too large a geographical area and consequently the section was eventually dissolved into other groups such as the Indiana Section and the Movite Section.

In 1961 the Midwest Section membership was reduced to Illinois and Wisconsin. Its roster included a total of 150 active members. In the subsequent year, the Illinois Section was formed to include only members residing in Illinois. From the 1960's to the 2000's, the membership has continued to grow. In 2002, the membership of the Illinois Section exceeded 350, with over 11 Board positions and 18 committees.

The activities of the Illinois Section are a result of its various committees. These committees involve technical/social programs, student activities, legislative affairs, professional development and communications to the membership. The committees provide the members the opportunity for professional growth while also assisting the Section in its activities. The ILITE Committees are divided into five groups:

  • Activities Group
  • Operations Group
  • Public Affairs Group
  • Student Affairs Group
  • Technical Group

More information on the the Illinois Section can be found at the following links: