Richard A. Zimmer

Zimmer, Dick

Program Manager
Senior Research Specialist

Proving Ground Support - Riverside 7091
Texas A&M Transportation Institute
Texas A&M University System
3135 TAMU
College Station, TX 77843-3135
ph. (979) 845-6388 Ext. 56388 · fax (979) 845-6107

Short Biography

Mr. Zimmer has more than 40 years of diversified transportation research experience with emphasis on the development of research vehicle instrumentation systems. He has functioned as manager, designer, project supervisor and operations coordinator. Responsibilities entailed: electronic and mechanical system design, software development, supervision of test system operations and technical personnel, and specification of major equipment to be purchased. He has developed test procedures for both vehicle and pavement evaluation, some of which have been adopted into federal and state standards. The systems he designed include the original automated roadway friction measurement vehicles which were used throughout the State of Texas as well as a patented digital speed and distance measurement system. As head of the Proving Grounds Support Program within the Safety Division of Texas A&M Transportation Institute, he has been instrumental in the development of crash test data acquisition systems using wireless telemetry. His expertise in telemetry was also central to the development and patent of instruments for measuring load-bearing capacities of offshore oil platforms.

Prior to joining TTI, Mr. Zimmer designed and fabricated electronic instrumentation for the U.S. Air Force and Uniroyal Proving Ground and NASA's Lunar Landing Program. Mr. Zimmer has served as the Principal Investigator on both state and federally sponsored research projects all of which were successfully completed and produced usable products for the sponsoring agencies. He has authored or coauthored about forty publications in the area of transportation safety research.

Mr. Zimmer's research experience spans a wide variety of projects involving electronics, instrumentation, computer based measurement and control systems, and highway illumination measurement and development. While Principal Investigator of the study "High Level Illumination Luminaire," his team was responsible for the development of Iso-footcandle curves for the majority of high and low mount fixtures used in the state of Texas. During this project he has made significant fixture improvements which are being reviewed by General Electric Lighting Systems. Under his leadership of project "A Mobile Illumination Evaluation System," the first computer based data acquisition system for highway lighting level and vehicle location was created. The results of this study were presented as a technical paper at the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board. Mr. Zimmer participated in a Texas project "Raised Pavement Marker Reflectivity" in which he developed an innovative method of measuring reflectivity of pavement markers from a moving vehicle.

Mr. Zimmer serves as a member of the National Defense Executive Reserve with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Transportation.


  • Program Manager, Proving Ground Support, Texas A&M Transportation Institute, Present.
  • Senior Research Specialist, Proving Ground Support, Texas A&M Transportation Institute, March 1999 - Present.
  • Instrumentation Specialist, NASA, White Sands Apollo Site, ZIA Company, 1968 - 1969.
  • Supervisor, Instrumentation Design and Fabrication, Uniroyal, Inc., 1967 - 1968.
  • Instrumentation Specialist, U.S. Air Force, 1963 - 1967.


  • Scientific Inquiry, Inc., 1980.
  • Ford Motor Company, 1988 - 1988.
  • Norton Chemical Corp., 1985 - 1986.


  • Member, U. S. Department of Transportation, National Defense Executive Reserves.
  • Member, Texas Transportation Institute, Strategic Management Team.
  • Chairman, American Society for Testing and Materials, E17.21.94.7.
  • Official, American Radio Relay League.
  • Member, American Society for Testing and Materials, Committee E17, Traveled Surface Characteristics Subcommittee - Intelligent Vehicle/Highway Systems.
  • Member, American Society for Testing and Materials, Committee F9, Tires.
  • Member, Society of Automotive Engineers.

Honors & Awards

The Meyer-Horne Outstanding Achievement Award, American Society for Testing and Materials, 2010.

TTI/Trinity Charley V. Wootan Career Achievement for Research Award, Texas Transportation Institute, 2009.

TTI/Trinity Senior Researcher Award, Texas Transportation Institute, 1997.

National Defense Executive Reserves Service Award, U. S. Department of Transportation.


Pipe Rack Crash Cushion, Patent No. 6179516.

Energy Absorbant Module, Patent No. 6082926.

Selected Publications

D.R. Arrington, L. Theiss, R.A. Zimmer, W.L. Menges. Development of Delineator Testing Standard. Test Report. 0-6772-1. Project No. 0-6772. Texas A&M Transportation Institute, College Station, TX. February 2015.

D.R. Arrington, L. Theiss, R.A. Zimmer. Development of New Delineator Material and Impact Testing Standard to Prevent Premature Failures Specific to Installation Application. 0-6772-S. Texas A&M Transportation Institute, College Station, TX. 2014.

R.A. Zimmer, E.G. Fernando. Evaluation of Skid Measurements Used by TxDOT: Technical Report. 0-6619-1. Texas A&M Transportation Institute, College Station, TX. May 2013.

E.G. Fernando, R.A. Zimmer. Evaluation of Skid Measurements Used by TxDOT. PSR. 0-6619-S. Texas A&M Transportation Institute, College Station, TX. May 2013.