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Traffic Engineering, Operations Director to Retire After 34 Years

Home News Stories from the Turnpike Traffic Engineering, Operations Director to Retire After 34 Years

Growing up, Tim Scanlon imagined the PA Turnpike to be a road to adventure.  

 “I remember hearing my family talking about driving across the Turnpike and going through the tunnels,” he recalled. “It sounded like a magical, mysterious place.” 

That magical road turned into a 34 ½-year adventure. 

Scanlon, the Director of Traffic Engineering and Operations, retired April 20, and looking back, it was one detour early in life that set him on a path to the career he loved.  

“I started out as an art major, and my dad asked me if I liked to have food on the table and if I liked the house we lived in,” Scanlon said. 

He did enjoy those amenities, so his father recommended he change his major. Scanlon took that advice and transferred to Penn State to study traffic engineering – but, he’s quick to point out, it’s still an art. 

“You’re making predictions that are, many times, 20 years out,” he said. “That’s where the art lies – making those predictions on how traffic will grow, what will change and what developments will happen.” 

And if it happened on the Turnpike in the last three decades, there’s a good chance Scanlon played a role in it. Among his many accomplishments, he: 

  • Did traffic counts in the early days of the Allegheny Tunnel bypass project – a project that is just now coming to fruition.
  • Saw shoulder rumble strips tested and installed on the Turnpike, which became a national standard.
  • Saw the installation of the old call boxes before everyone had a cellphone and the removal of the call boxes after cellphones became commonplace.
  • Helped bring E-ZPass to the Turnpike.
  • And conducted the feasibility study for what would eventually become Open Road Tolling – the future of the Turnpike.

In 2014, the Turnpike combined the Traffic Engineering and Operations departments, and Scanlon was promoted to head the merged group. Turnpike Chief Operating Officer Craig Shuey said Scanlon’s leadership made a big difference in keeping customers and workers safe. 

“We made a lot of improvements to our work zone safety standards, and I’m not sure we would have had the success we did if we hadn’t joined those groups together,” Shuey said. 

Looking back at his career, Scanlon has many fond memories of the magical highway, but none fonder than the people he worked with. 

“I always said the Turnpike feels like a family,” Scanlon said. “I’ve made some good friends here, and the people are what makes it enjoyable to come to work.” 

But out of all of his accomplishments, what really sticks out in his mind is changing the Turnpike’s logo. It’s a slight change, but once you notice it, you can’t unsee it. 

“I decided I didn’t like the hyphen, so I took it out and produced our signs that way,” Scanlon said. “That’s my legacy, and I’m very proud of it. I de-hyphenated the Turnpike.” 

But Shuey said Scanlon’s legacy goes way beyond punctuation. It’s not just the logo that changed. Scanlon changed the Turnpike itself. 

“He wears the green shield with pride,” Shuey said. “He has a lot of passion for the organization, and he’s one of those people who really sees the work they do as having a lasting impact.”