James H. Kell


James H. KellJim's career spanned forty years, during which time he contributed extensively to the advancement of the science of transportation engineering as a practitioner, researcher, educator, and author.  Among his best known accomplishments are his work in highway capacity and traffic signal systems.  He contributed extensively to the work of committees of  the Transportation Research Board and the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices serving most recently as the chairperson of ITE's delegation. 

Jim authored or co-authored several well-respected and time-honored publications, including Fundamentals of Traffic Engineering, now in its 12th edition; ITE's Manual of Traffic Signal Design, now in its 2nd edition; the Traffic Detector Handbook; and chapters in TRB's Highway Capacity Manual and the forthcoming ITE Transportation Planning Handbook.  A literature search in traffic engineering will yield numerous citations to the many papers and presentations that Jim authored during his distinguished career.

Jim's many contributions to the transportation profession have not gone unnoticed;  he was recipient of Tau Beta Pi's Eminent Engineer of the Year Award; the 1981 Theodore M. Matson Award, which honors outstanding contributions to the field of traffic engineering; and the 1987 Purdue University Distinguished Engineering Alumni, and he was chosen to be an Invited Speaker at the 1984 Australian Road Research Board annual meeting.  In 1990, he became the first transportation engineer to be named Engineer of the Year by the Engineers' Joint Council of the San Francisco Bay Area.

In 1971 Jim founded JHK & Associates, after serving as a principal in its predecessor firm, Peat, Marwick, Mitchell and Company.  At the time of his death, Jim was chairman of the board of JHK & Associates, which had grown to a firm with offices in 19 cities and with 270 employees.

Jim loved to teach.  Early in his career, he served as a research assistant at Purdue University and from 1954 to 1962 as research engineer and lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley.  Throughout his career he continued teaching, as a lecturer to undergraduate and graduate classes and as an instructor for numerous professional development seminars.  Thousands of transportation engineers have benefited from his tutelage.

Jim was dedicated to ITE.  He joined in 1951, as an undergraduate student at Purdue.  He was active in technical and administrative committees at the section, district, and international levels.  He spoke at hundreds of meetings and in numerous countries.  Jim contributed extensively to the ITE Technical Council, serving as a committee member, committee chair, head of Transportation Operations Department, as vice chairperson, and as chairperson.  In 1985, in recognition of his leadership and visionary thinking, ITE's members elected Jim international vice president; in 1986, he was elected international president.  Jim encouraged others to join ITE, he extolled the benefits of belonging to the professional society, and he encouraged active participation in, and contribution to, ITE's programs.

Jim lived life.  Long hours, crammed schedules, and annual airline mile loggings in the 100,000's were the norm for him.  But he always made time to attend Institute meetings and conferences.  He enjoyed the opportunity to be with his many friends in ITE's "family."  His enthusiasm for the Institute knew no bounds, and he was thoroughly dedicated to his chosen profession.


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ITE Canon of Ethics
2017 Institute of Transportation Engineers