Elected in 2000
“For the discovery and application of the quantitative relationships between urban land uses and traffic flows.”
BY THOMAS B. DEEN
ALAN M. VOORHEES, engineer, planner, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, died unexpectedly on December 18, 2005, in Richmond, Virginia. He had just returned to his hotel room after attending a party for his 83rd birthday.
As an urban transportation planner early in his career, Alan developed novel techniques for planning large portions of the interstate highway system in large urban areas. He established an engineering firm that worked on transit and highway plans in scores of cities around the world, later served in leadership positions in academia, and then helped to establish a number of private firms in land development, transportation, software development, business machines, space exploration, and information systems.
Alan was born in 1922 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. His father, a stockbroker, died when he was 7 years old, and his mother raised him alone until she remarried when he was a teenager. As fate would have it, his stepfather was the father of Al’s best friend, Fred Zimmerli, who then became his half-brother.
After a brief stint at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Al enlisted in the Navy during World War II and trained as a U.S. Navy frog man (now called Navy Seals) with the rank of Lt.(JG). He was part of an elite Navy unit called UDT-11 (Underwater Demolition Team 11), a unit featured in an exhibit at the