Academy of Distinguished Alumni

Alumni Image #1:


Valerie A. Briggs

MS, University of Texas at Austin, 2000
BS, University of Texas at Austin, 1997

Valerie Briggs is a visionary leader who has worked on the cutting edge of transportation research and directing critical transitions in improving and modernizing transportation services in the United States. She brought to the nation’s attention the need for comprehensive collaboration and coordination of transportation operations programs and led large-scale efforts to successfully apply technology to enhance personal mobility, safety and transportation system performance.

As a graduate student supervised by Dr. Mike Walton, she saw the need for the transportation industry to better communicate across boundaries in order to better serve the public. She recognized and documented trends and through committee work helped lead a fundamental change in how state transportation agencies went beyond just management of construction and maintenance of roadways to operating multi-modal transportation systems.

As the first permanent Program Manager for Operations at the American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO), Briggs developed and oversaw new programs in transportation operations and security/emergency management. These concepts represented a fundamental change in how state transportation agencies manage and operate facilities in conjunction with other disciplines and government agencies. 

In the aftermath of 9/11 and Hurricanes, Katrina and Rita, numerous states saw firsthand the need to start or expand their own activities in transportation operations and security, and relied on the AASHTO programs that Briggs oversaw to help make this happen.

She also led another transformative change across the industry—the development of vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications capabilities as part of USDOT’s Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office. She helped to implement these systems while protecting user privacy and security. 

In her current role as Director of Training for the Federal Highway Administration’s National Highway Institute (NHI), she currently provides technical training to the nation’s highway transportation workforce to build skills and enhance job performance. NHI trains over 40,000 professionals per year on topics that lead to improved conditions and safety of our nations’ roads, highways and bridges.