Larry Head received his Ph.D. degree in Systems and Industrial Engineering from the University of Arizona in 1989. He has over 25 years of research and development experience in adaptive traffic signal control, signal priority, and traffic management. In 1995, in partnership with the City of Tucson, the University of Arizona established the Living Transportation Technology Laboratory which consisted of eight intersections along Speedway Blvd in Tucson, AZ. The RHODES adaptive traffic signal control system was installed and operated for almost 8 years.
In 1997, Dr. Head joined Gardner Transportation Systems (GTS) as a Senior Vice President in charge of research and development. In his role at GTS, he oversaw the development of the icon traffic management system (installed in over 40 cities in the US plus Jinan China) and the NextPhase 2070/ATC intersection traffic management firmware. Dr. Head oversaw the design and development of the predictive-priority light rail traffic control system that was deployed in Salt Lake City (for the 2000 winter Olympics), Houston, and Phoenix. In 2000, GTS was acquired by Siemens. Dr. Head continued his role as Director of Research and Development and worked closely with management and engineers in Munich, Germany to develop a unified traffic management platform for international business.
In 2003, Dr. Head returned to the University of Arizona as a Research Professor and worked on the development of priority control algorithms for advanced traffic management. From 2006-2013, Dr. Head served as the Department Head of the Systems and Industrial Engineering Department at the University of Arizona.
In 2007, Dr. Head partnered with Raytheon, iRobot, Tucson Embedded Systems (TES), and Preferred Chassis to compete in the DARPA Grand (Urban) Challenge. The Scorpion autonomous vehicle successfully demonstrated autonomous driving in an urban environment, but wasn’t invited to the DARPA final event in November 2007.
In 2010, in cooperation with Maricopa County Department of Transportation (MCDOT), they established the MCDOT SMARTDrive National Connected Vehicle Test bed in Anthem, Az. The test bed has been a cornerstone for research in Connected Vehicle systems including the Mutli Modal Intelligent Traffic Signal System (MMITSS) that has been successfully demonstrated (and evaluated by USDOT) on the Anthem test bed (now called the Arizona Connected Vehicle Test Bed which is a partnership between Maricopa County Department of Transportation, Arizona Department of Transportation and the University of Arizona). MMITSS was funded through the Pooled Fund project and is a collaboration between the University of Arizona (Head is the PI), University of California at Berkeley – PATH Program, Econolite, and Savari.
Dr. Head served as chair of the National Academies Transportation Research Board’s Traffic Signal Systems Committee (AHB25) from 2006-2012, as co-Chair of the National Transportation Communication for ITS Protocol (NTCIP) Signal Control and Prioritization Working Group (1211) from 2014-2015, as a voting member of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Dedicated Short Range Communication Technical Committee from 32014 – present.
He has received several awards and honors including the D. Grant Mickle Award for Outstanding Paper in the Field of Operations, Safety, and Maintenance of Transportation Facilities from the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies and the Leading Edge Researcher at the University of Arizona Innovation Day on March 6, 2012.