KTC History

In 1939, a materials research lab at the University of Kentucky (UK) published a paper in ASTM on the selection of aggregates for concrete pavement. Two years later, the Kentucky Highway Department took an interest in the group and established a Division of Research with the mission of investigating materials for pavement mixtures. Over the ensuing 40 years, the group expanded from its humble beginnings as a materials research lab, broadening its research focus to include various transportation-related topics. The group was officially designated as the Kentucky Transportation Research Program in 1981, when the Kentucky Department of Transportation transferred the Division of Research to UK’s College of Engineering.

For more than 35 years, KTC has continued to function as the research arm of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, while also providing services to a number of federal, state, local, and private clients. 

In 1995, KTC and UK’s Department of Civil Engineering moved into the new Civil Engineering building, which was dedicated the Oliver H. Raymond building in October 1998. Today, KTC continues to grow, benefitting from the resources it shares with the Department of Civil Engineering. Doug Kreis, KTC’s current interim director, follows in the footsteps of the Center’s previous directors: Robert Deen, Calvin Grayson, Paul Toussaint, and Joe Crabtree. KTC’s leadership, along with its staff, researchers, faculty, and students, have built a legacy of research excellence. The Center continues to address transportation issues, deliver exemplary technology transfer, and provide outstanding customer service.

Kentucky Transportation Center Directors

Read more about our past directors, including biographies and service dates.

Important Dates for KTC

1941 – The Kentucky Highway Department established a Division of Research which was located on University of Kentucky’s campus.  The initial focus was primarily on materials research.

1979 – UK’s Board of Trustees created the Kentucky Transportation Center at UK.

1981 – UK and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet establish an agreement that directs UK to assume the research function.

1988 – The research and technology transfer functions were brought together within KTC.

1995 – The Kentucky Transportation Center and the Department of Civil Engineering moved into a new building, which was later dedicated to Oliver H. Raymond, UK College of Engineering graduate and benefactor.

2000 KTC led the development of Context Sensitive Design training and conducts workshops across the US.

2007 – KTC received federal grants to work on Fedtrak and Section 1554 to address hazardous material movements in the United States.

2011 – KTC contributed to I-64 Sherman Minton Bridge evaluation and rehabilitation work.

2014 – KYTC named its first full-time Innovation Engineer to oversee all Cabinet research activities.

2015 – Project Manager’s Boot Camp and Boot Camp Xpress training were made available to KYTC and consultant project managers.

2018 – KTC and KYTC established a multiyear partnership to develop the Highway Knowledge Portal, a web-based reference for the Cabinet’s technical guidance and policies.

2020 – KTC rapidly adapted research, business, and training practices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including a successful movement to online training.