With the widening use of the automobile in the 20th century, the challenges facing our nation’s transportation infrastructure became more complex and demanding. Highway engineering transformed into a dynamic and complex profession, and created an entirely new professional engineer—the traffic engineer.

In 1930, the traffic engineering community organized the Institute of Traffic Engineers to provide a central agency for the promotion of traffic engineering standards and the correlation and dissemination of factual data and techniques developed by members of this emerging profession. Following World War II, regional subdivisions of the Institute of Traffic Engineers were established including the Southern Section, which would later become known as the Southern District.

In 1975, the membership of the Institute of Traffic Engineers voted to change the organization’s name to the Institute of Transportation Engineers as to effectively represent the members who were not traffic engineers but who worked in transportation related fields.

The idea of a regional organization for southern traffic engineers was formulated at the 1952 Annual Meeting of ITE in Chicago. Paul Ristroph (New Orleans), Earl Reeder (Miami), Karl Bevins (Atlanta) and John Hanna (Richmond) met to formulate a plan for the new organization and they agreed to name it the Southern Section of ITE (SSITE). Karl Bevins served as host for SSITE’s 1st Annual Meeting at the Atlanta Biltmore Hotel on March 1-3, 1953.

A petition was drafted requesting that ITE issue a Charter to the Southern Section. The Founding Members of the Southern Section that signed the petition were:

  • Karl A. Bevins (Georgia)
  • John T. Hanna (Virginia)
  • Kenneth M. King (Louisiana)
  • Robert A. Burch (North Carolina)
  • Marble J. Hensley (Georgia)
  • William H. Mann (Tennessee)
  • William S. Derrick (Georgia)
  • Herman J. Hoose (North Carolina)
  • Paul L. Ristroph (Louisiana)
  • John F. Exnicios (Louisiana)
  • Fenton G. Jordan (Virginia)
  • Arthur M. White (Mississippi)

On October 1, 1953, the Southern Section was officially chartered by ITE. On June 1, 1988, the Southern Section gained District status and became the Southern District of ITE (SDITE).

Currently, the Southern District of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (SDITE) is one of ten regional subdivisions of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) which includes transportation engineering professionals in the states of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.