When the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) formally opens its new state headquarters Friday, those familiar with the agency will not be surprised to discover that a large part of the first floor is devoted to a working research lab.
The TTI State Headquarters and Research Building not only provides the first official state headquarters in the agency’s 60-year history, but also houses a state-of-the-art Visibility Research Laboratory and offices for other agency research programs.
Grand opening ceremonies will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, March 26. The building is located at 2935 Research Parkway in the Texas A&M University Research Park.
“Transportation has never been more important to our state and country and is high on the minds of our public policy-makers,” noted TTI Agency Director Dennis Christiansen. “This new building puts TTI in a great position to address a wide range of transportation topics and issues for many years to come.”
The Visibility Research Lab is one example of that focus. The central feature of the lab is a 125-foot-long corridor designed to test devices and materials used for pavement markings and traffic signs. Real-world visibility conditions can be simulated in the lab, allowing researchers to explore ways of improving nighttime driving safety.
Speakers scheduled for Friday’s grand opening celebration include:
- Steve Ogden, State Senator, District 5;
- Morris Foster, Chairman, Board of Regents, The Texas A&M University System;
- Michael D. McKinney, Chancellor, The Texas A&M University System; and
- Amadeo Saenz, Executive Director, Texas Department of Transportation.
In 1950, the Texas Legislature took action on a cooperative agreement between the Texas Highway Department (now the Texas Department of Transportation) and Texas A&M that led to the creation of TTI as a state agency. Innovations developed by TTI researchers include “breakaway” road signs and the “crash cushions” now found on virtually every roadway in Texas and beyond. Institute research has broadened over the years to include all modes of modern transportation: highway, air, water, rail, pedestrian/bicycle, and pipeline.
Since publishing the first Urban Mobility Report in 1982, TTI has become the national authority on traffic congestion and mobility in cities across America. The agency also is home to the Teens in the Driver Seat program, the nation’s first peer-to-peer safe driving initiative for teenagers.
A member of The Texas A&M University System, TTI employs more than 600 researchers, students and support staff. TTI maintains a full-service safety Proving Ground Research Facility, an Erosion Control Laboratory, and an Environmental and Emissions Research Facility at Texas A&M’s Riverside Campus. The Institute also operates other facilities in Arlington, Austin, College Station, Dallas, El Paso, Galveston, Houston and San Antonio. At any one time, TTI has research projects in about 30 U.S. states and 20 foreign countries.