Dr. Michel Van Aerde – Biography


Dr. Michel Van Aerde

The Canadian transportation engineering profession lost one of its leaders in August 1999 when Dr. Michel Van Aerde died suddenly at the age of 39. He is survived by his wife Maureen, son Eric, and daughter Stephanie.

Michel was born in Tillsonburg, ON, then lived with his family in Stekene, Belgium for twelve years before returning to Canada for high school. He received his B.A.Sc. in Civil Engineering from the University of Waterloo in 1983, winning the Alumni Association Gold Medal in his graduating year for top achievement in all branches of engineering. He received his M.A.Sc. in Civil Engineering in 1984, and his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering in 1985, both from the University of Waterloo.

In 1986, at the age of 26, Dr. Van Aerde became an assistant professor at Queens University in Kingston. He stayed until 1997, completing research for a variety of sponsors. He was also an instructor of graduate and undergraduate courses in traffic engineering, traffic network simulation and optimization, and transportation planning. After leaving Queens University, Dr. Van Aerde was a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State College, and Associate Director of their Center for Transportation Research until his untimely death.

Dr. Van Aerde was the developer of the INTEGRATION model, recognized worldwide as a leading tool for evaluating and optimizing both traditional traffic engineering as well as new ITS initiatives. He supported both the development and application of INTEGRATION, and was an expert in applying the model for ATMS and ITS applications.

Dr. Van Aerde was the author of over 100 publications. He had shared his knowledge with thirteen classes of undergraduate students, and had supervised the research of 25 Masters and Ph.D. students in Canada and the U.S. He was a member of ITE and Professional Engineers Ontario.

Michel was a keen runner and cyclist who once considered becoming a professional bicycle racer. He remained an avid fan of European professional cycling, and had just returned from a trip to Belgium to watch cycling with his son Eric. He was a coach and enthusiastic fan of his children’s soccer leagues. He had many academic achievements, but his colleagues, students and friends will remember him most for his warmth, humility, encouragement, generosity, humour, energy, and fondness for chocolate.

Through the fund raising efforts of transportation engineering professionals and firms across Canada, and actions of the local CITE Sections, the Scholarship Fund now exceeds the endowment necessary to render the fund self-sustaining. CITE wishes to extend its sincere thanks and congratulations to those individuals and organizations that have helped make this initiative a success. Your contributions are being used to support ongoing research and the training of our future professionals.