Awards and More

ITE Recognizes Teens in the Driver Seat

left to right: Robert Wunderlich and Russell Henk

Russell Henk receives his ITE award from International President Robert C. Wunderlich.

TTI’s Teens in the Driver Seat® (TDS) is the recipient of the Institute of Transportation Engineers’ 2011 Transportation Achievement Award in Safety. TDS Program Director Russell Henk was presented with the award at the ITE Annual Meeting in St. Louis Aug. 15. This is the second time TDS has received the award, the first time being in 2007.

TDS is the nation’s first peer-to-peer program focusing solely on teen-driver safety. Its goal is to prevent crashes by raising awareness of the top driving dangers for young drivers and supporting teens’ efforts to develop and deliver safety messages to their peers. Student teams at more than 500 Texas schools have started TDS programs, reaching more than half a million of their peers with safe-driving messages. Other states, including Connecticut, Georgia, North Carolina and California, are now implementing TDS programs.

“Most young drivers don’t know that they’re many times more likely to die in a crash than people in other age groups,” Henk says. “This award signifies the importance of what TDS is all about — saving lives. It’s working, and we are all extremely proud and honored by the recognition the program is receiving.”

Freight Pioneer Inducted into Texas Transportation Hall of Honor

William Woody Callan


The founder of Central Freight Lines, Inc., William Woody Callan, was inducted into the Texas Transportation Hall of Honor July 27. Callan becomes the 33rd member of the Hall of Honor, established in 2000 by the Texas Transportation Institute as a way to recognize select individuals who played pivotal roles in the advancement of transportation in Texas and the nation.

Gary Thomas, vice president for safety, compliance and training (retired) of Central Freight Lines, provided comments about Callan’s career. Robert Braswell, Callan’s grandson, accepted the recognition for his grandfather on behalf of the Callan family. Callan was the first individual inducted into the Transportation Hall of Honor who devoted his career to the trucking industry.

“If I were to describe Mr. Callan in one word, it would be ‘visionary,’ ” said Thomas. “Over the course of its 86 years of operation, third and fourth generations of families have made their careers at Central because of the vision of Mr. Callan.” Braswell spoke of his grandfather’s ingenuity, integrity and dedication to his employees, most of whom he knew by name.

Callan founded the company in 1925 with a Model-T truck and built Central into the largest intrastate, regular-route common carrier in the nation, employing over 4,500 people and serving 1,200 Texas cities and towns. He retired as president of the company in 1952, served as chairman of the board, and was active in transportation and community affairs until his death in 1987.

Little Becomes ASCE Distinguished Member

Dallas Little


Dallas Little, TTI senior fellow and associate director of the International Center for Aggregates Research, has been selected as a distinguished member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Little is also a regent’s professor and the E.B. Snead Chair of Transportation and Civil Engineering in Texas A&M University’s Zachry Department of Civil Engineering.

Second only to ASCE president, distinguished membership is ASCE’s highest recognition. Little will be formally inducted during the 141st Annual Civil Engineering Conference in Memphis, Tenn., in October. Since 1852, only 615 individuals have been elected to distinguished membership. During his career, Little has been the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions and has served on many boards and review panels.

TexITE Outstanding Chapter

The Texas A&M Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Student Chapter was named the Texas District of ITE (TexITE) outstanding student chapter for the 2010–2011 school year. The members are now entered into the ITE international competition. Also, Texas A&M University student Kai Yin was the recipient of the TexITE outstanding student paper award. Yin’s paper, “Control Delay for Signalized Intersections with Left-Turn Bay Blockage,” will now compete in the ITE Daniel Fambro Outstanding Student Paper competition.

TTI Researchers Receive Awards at Annual ITE Meeting

left to right: Wunderlich and Fitzpatrick

Kay Fitzpatrick receives her ITE award from International President Robert C. Wunderlich.

The Traffic Engineering Council Technical Committee on Pavement Marking Patterns Used at Uncontrolled Pedestrian Crossings: An Informational Report was selected to receive the Institute of Transportation Engineers’ (ITE’s) 2011 Coordinating Council Best Project Award. Kay Fitzpatrick, research engineer at the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), chaired the committee, and TTI Assistant Research Engineer Marcus Brewer was also a committee member.

The report can be used by decision makers and practitioners to assist in developing or refining policies and practices for applying pavement markings at uncontrolled pedestrian crossings. It also identifies opportunities to educate or support these users regarding the application of pavement markings at uncontrolled pedestrian crossings.

“The technical committee included 14 members who, among other tasks, provided insights into U.S. and Canada regional differences in how crosswalk markings are selected,” says Fitzpatrick. “ITE and ITE technical committees provide a wonderful opportunity for interactions on a national level, and this technical committee benefited from the discussions we had during the committee’s activities. We are pleased that ITE recognized our efforts with this award.”

The ITE Coordinating Council Best Project Award may be given annually for technical committee excellence. The award recognizes an outstanding contribution to the ITE Coordinating Council through excellence in an ITE Coordinating Council project committee report.

Norboge, Welkener Honored by Texas Senate

Craig Welkener


Nicholas Norboge


Two students working for TTI are among seven Texas A&M University students who have been honored by the Texas Senate. Nicholas Norboge was a legislative liaison for TTI, and Craig Welkener was a legislative analyst for the Institute.

The students were enrolled in the Master of Public Service and Administration Program at the Bush School of Government and Public Policy and took part in the Bush Legislative Capstone Program. The new program allows students to work closely with legislators, committees and agencies. The Texas Senate approved a resolution honoring the students for their service during the 82nd legislative session.

Epps Inducted into NCAT Wall of Honor

Jon Epps


TTI Executive Associate Agency Director Jon Epps was selected for the National Center for Asphalt Technology’s (NCAT’s) inaugural Wall of Honor during an award ceremony at Auburn University Aug. 8. Epps has served on NCAT’s board of directors since its inception in 1986.

In honoring Epps, a plaque that bears his likeness reads: “His strong knowledge of NCAT operations allowed him to provide guidance to the board and to the NCAT director. He also served as a professor training course instructors. Jon deserves credit for helping develop the national road map for asphalt research.”

Including Epps, NCAT inducted 18 members to its newly initiated Wall of Honor to signify the organization’s 25th anniversary and plans to add two additional members each year.

NCAT was created through an agreement between the Research and Education Foundation and Auburn University. NCAT is considered a world leader and authority in hot-mix asphalt research, development, technology and education.

2011 Buchanan Lecture (Advertisement)

Cold War Legacy — Design, Construction and Performance of a Land-Based Radioactive Waste Disposal Facility

2011 Buchanan Lecture - Speaker Dr. Rudolph Bonaparte, CEO of Geosyntec.  Nov. 11, 2011, at 2 p.m.  Brazos Amphitheater at the College Station Hilton.  The lecture will be followed by a reception at the home of Janet and Jean-Louis Briaud.

TTI Leads Mileage-Based User Fee Conference

Symposium on Mileage-Based User Fees banner

Some 115 federal, state and local government representatives, transportation system users, private-sector representatives, and transportation researchers attended the Symposium on Mileage-Based User Fees (MBUFs) in Breckenridge, Colo., June 13–14. TTI’s University Transportation Center for Mobility co-sponsored the event along with the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Move Colorado and the Transportation Research Board.

MBUFs, also known as vehicle-miles-traveled fees, would raise funds based on how many miles a motorist drives. Revenue generated would replace or supplement the fuel tax.

“Interest [in this topic] is really growing at the state and national levels,” says symposium co-chair Ginger Goodin. Goodin is currently serving as principal investigator for a U.S. Department of Transportation study on road-user fee collection technologies and is TTI’s resident expert on the topic. The three most popular questions on attendees’ minds involved how to implement MBUFs, coordinating research efforts on the topic and increasing public acceptance of the concept.

The four state departments of transportation — Oregon, Minnesota, Texas and Nevada — actively involved in MBUF research and testing were all represented at the conference. Alex Hergott, from Sen. James Inhofe’s office, discussed federal policy issues related to MBUFs via Skype. Private entities, such as the American Trucking Association, AAA and GMAC Insurance, also presented their views.

AWAM Named Most Innovative Use of Technology

a travel-time monitoring station using TTI-developed software called AWAM mounted on a light pole along I-45

A travel-time monitoring station using TTI-developed software called AWAM is mounted on a light pole along I-45.

TTI’s patent-pending Anonymous Wireless Address Matching (AWAM) system took center stage May 19 when Houston’s TranStar was given the Most Innovative Use of Technology Award by the Center for Digital Government. The center is a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government.

Developed by TTI Senior System Analyst Mike Vickich, Research Scientist Darryl Puckett and Research Engineer Tony Voigt, AWAM is a traffic-monitoring system consisting of Bluetooth®-enabled sensors placed along I-45 from Houston to Dallas. It allows TranStar to monitor the 200-mile stretch of highway, which is a major evacuation route. The interstate was turned into a parking lot in 2005 as Houston residents attempted to flee Hurricane Rita.

“The AWAM system that TTI developed leverages the use of applied research with widely available technology for the benefit of traffic management and traveler information,” Vickich says.

Soon after the hurricane, TTI, the City of Houston and the Texas Department of Transportation worked together to come up with a solution to the chaos caused by the evacuation. “Knowing in real time what the traffic conditions are allows TranStar to open up contra-flow lanes as northbound lanes become congested during an evacuation,” says Voigt.

Finley Elected President-Elect of TexITE

Melisa Finley


Texas Transportation Institute Associate Research Engineer Melisa Finley was recently elected to serve as vice president/president-elect of the Texas District of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (TexITE). Finley will begin her term as vice president on Jan. 1, 2012, and then serve as president in 2013.

Finley’s duties include chairing the program committee and developing the technical programs for the biannual meetings.

“It’s a big honor to be elected by my peers to this position,” says Finley, who currently serves as secretary/treasurer. “I’ve been active in TexITE since I was an undergraduate student, and it’s always been one of my professional goals to be elected president.”

Finley also helped to establish the Brazos Valley Section of TexITE.

TexITE is a professional organization for individuals in transportation who reside in Texas. Through this organization, transportation professionals strive to help Texans provide a safer, cleaner, and more convenient and efficient transportation system.

2011 Buchanan Lecturer Selected

The 2011 Buchanan Lecture will be held at the College Station Hilton Nov. 11. Created in 1992 to honor a world leader in soil mechanics and foundation engineering (as well as a distinguished Texas A&M University professor), the Buchanan professorship supports a wide range of enriched educational activities in civil and geotechnical engineering. In 2002, this professorship became the Spencer J. Buchanan ’26 Chair in Civil Engineering.

Dr. Rudolph Bonaparte, the CEO of Geosyntec, has been selected as the 2011 Buchanan lecturer. Bonaparte’s lecture will be “Cold War Legacy — Design, Construction and Performance of a Land-Based Radioactive Waste Disposal Facility.”

2011 National Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety Training Conference

2011 National Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety Training Conference; November 6-9, 2011; Galveston, Texas