In Memoriam: Michael Dixon

Friday, May 9


University of Idaho civil engineering professor Michael Dixon suddenly and unexpectedly passed away of an apparent heart attack May 7, 2014.

“It is with great sadness that we learned of Mike’s passing. He was in the prime of his career, he was a well-respected colleague and researcher and inspiring instructor, and his passing is a great loss to the university community. Our thoughts are with Mike’s family at this difficult time,” said Larry Stauffer, dean of the College of Engineering. 

Michael Dixon was a professor in civil engineering at the University of Idaho since 2000 and a licensed professional engineer in Idaho since 2004. He was promoted to full professor earlier this year. Mike earned his Ph.D. degree in civil engineering at Texas A&M University and his master’s and undergraduate degrees from Brigham Young University. 

Mike was a vital part of the University of Idaho’s transportation research team working within the National Institute for Advanced Transportation Technology (NIATT). Mike’s research focused on emerging traffic detection techniques and technologies, intelligent transportation systems and transportation systems modeling. He was an active member of the Transportation Research Board's Committee on Highway Capacity and Quality of Service, and served in several leadership roles on that committee. He collaborated with a number of researchers from around the U.S. and was highly regarded.

He was widely published and was an acting principal investigator on several large research projects. His grant work in progress included: Improving Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety by Identifying Critical Intersections and Street Segments; Modeling Passing Behavior on Two-Lane Rural Highways: Evaluating Crash Risk under Different Geometric Configurations; and Daily Travel Feedback to Encourage Eco-Routing.

Mike taught several key courses on transportation engineering and traffic systems. During his time at the University of Idaho he developed several online training modules and instructional software tools to help students better understand traffic systems design.  He was also the current advisor to over 20 undergraduate and graduate civil engineering students.

Mike was both an avid cyclist and winter sports enthusiast and loved taking his family skiing in McCall. He and his children participated in the annual Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic, one of the biggest recreational bicycle rides in the country.  Mike and his family are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is survived by his wife, Cecily, and their eight children.

Services will be held at the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints at 1016 South Mountain View Road, Moscow on Saturday, May 10, 2014. There will be a viewing at 10:00 am followed by funeral services at 11:00 am. Grave site services will immediately follow. All are welcome.

Contributions can be made to the “Michael Dixon Donation” Zions National Bank. The fund is for his children’s education. For more information you may contact Zions National Bank directly or Colin Campbell (brother-in-law) at (509) 715-9700.