Understandably, we at the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) focus our research on Texas issues…it’s right there in the name, isn’t it? But often, the results of TTI‘s research reach far beyond the borders of the Lone Star State.
TTI conducts research for national and international, as well as state and private-sector, sponsors. The Institute is actively involved in national and international organizations, and a number of our leading researchers chair committees or hold other leadership positions on, to name a few, the Transportation Research Board, ASTM International, and the Institute of Transportation Engineers. Through these affiliations and others, TTI researchers are helping shape the future transportation system.
Take ASTM International, for example. You may not know it, but you benefit from ASTM‘s work every day. For more than a century, ASTM has been the primary standards agency worldwide. Today, ASTM committees have developed and maintain more than 12,000 standards used around the world — all intended to ensure and advance safety, consistency and durability in the products and processes that are a part of our everyday lives.
Two ASTM committees chaired by TTI researchers are generating standards aimed at improving national security around the world. One committee has developed a standard for testing anti-ram barriers that protect buildings from terrorist bombings, while the other is developing the first standard for boat barriers that will protect ships in the same way. Among other collaborations, TTI is also working with ASTM to create a new retroreflectivity test method for rain-soaked pavements to make driving at night safer.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and other federal agencies conduct scan tours to learn from the experiences of other countries. TTI researchers are assisting with these scans, acting as the official reporters and documenting best practices applications.
Like its professional staff, TTI facilities are also sought out by sponsors. Two of these are TTI‘s newly accredited Proving Ground Research Facility, which has conducted hundreds of standards tests, and the Institute’s Hydraulics, Sedimentation, and Erosion Control Laboratory, which is conducting tests as part of an FHWA Pooled Fund Project to improve our nation’s water quality.
As you will see in this issue, TTI plays an important role in helping develop transportation standards — one more reminder that what starts out as a TTI research project can result in significant improvements to transportation systems and safety nationwide…indeed, around the world.
When you think about it, the benefits of research know no borders. At the Texas Transportation Institute, we are proud of our name and our home state. We are equally proud of our key role in helping develop standards across the broad spectrum of transportation. And that benefits everyone, wherever they might call home.