TTI and PAHO to Collaborate on Roadway Safety Research
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), a regional office of the World Health Organization (WHO), and TTI have partnered to collaborate on roadway safety research.
TTI’s discussions with PAHO first began in 2007, when the organization expressed an interest in the Teens in the Driver Seat (TDS) program. Because vehicle crashes rank as the number-one cause of death for people under age 25 worldwide, PAHO has a strong interest in roadway safety improvements.
The two institutions will jointly pursue research and program opportunities related to roadway safety. The first venture will be to conduct a binational pilot project in which young drivers in Ciudad Juarez will be introduced to the TDS concept, with TDS students in El Paso being directly involved.
TTI Receives Prestigious ARTBA Glass Hammer Award
TTI has been recognized nationally with the Glass Hammer Award for its promotion of women leaders within the Institute and the transportation industry. The award was presented Sept. 7 at a gala dinner honoring the 2011 American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) Transportation Development Hall of Fame and the inaugural Women Leaders in Transportation Design and Construction Awards.
The Glass Hammer Award honors organizations in the transportation industry that have innovative programs and activities directed at successfully promoting women leaders. TTI received this recognition because of innovative diversity activities that have resulted in dramatic increases in its female workforce during the last decade, as well as its active promotion of women in leadership positions in national and statewide organizations.
“This award illustrates that TTI’s many efforts to grow and promote our female professionals are being recognized by our peers nationally,” said Dennis Christiansen, agency director of TTI. “Women are influential at every level in TTI and are contributing significantly to the Institute’s success and reputation. I couldn’t be more proud of them and of our organization for earning this special honor.”
Teens in the Driver Seat Honored with GHSA Award
TTI’s Teens in the Driver Seat program has been honored with a 2011 highway safety award from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).
The Peter K. O’Rourke Special Achievement Award “recognizes notable achievements in the field of highway safety by individuals, coalitions, organizations, nonprofit groups, businesses, government agencies, universities or programs.” The award was presented to the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT’s) Director of Traffic Safety Terry Pence during a ceremony in Cincinnati, Ohio, Sept. 27. TxDOT has supported the program since its creation in 2002.
In pointing out the accomplishments of the program, the GHSA news release stated, “TDS has had a strong positive impact in Texas, and its influence is beginning to be felt in other states. Since the program’s inception in 2002, Texas has seen a 40 percent decrease in the frequency of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes.”
Russell Henk, director of the Teens in the Driver Seat program, has also recently accepted a nomination to the GHSA/State Farm Teen Driving Expert Panel. The panel was formed to oversee a GHSA case study on teen driving. State Farm Insurance has been a sponsor of the program since 2007.
Transportation Research Board Appointments
Research Scientist Stacey Bricka — named chair of the Task Force on Understanding New Directions for the Future of the National Household Travel Survey (NHTS).
Division Head Joe Zietsman — named chair of the Transportation and Sustainability Committee.
Assistant Transportation Researcher Matt Sandidge — named to the Technical Activities Council Young Members Council.
Poe Named TexITE Engineer of the Year, Vice Chair of ITS America’s Connected Vehicle Task Force
Christopher Poe, assistant director at TTI, was awarded the 2011 Transportation Engineer of the Year Award by the Texas District of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (TexITE) Sept. 14-16. The award recognizes TexITE members for outstanding practice, teaching or research of the science and art of transportation engineering in Texas.
Poe was also named vice chair of ITS America’s Connected Vehicle Task Force, which focuses on technical and institutional issues related to the deployment of short-range vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-infrastructure and vehicle-to-device (V2X) applications. V2X technology or “WiFi on wheels” is the next major step in improving highway safety and transportation mobility and convenience. Poe will support the task force and represent the needs of infrastructure operators.
McLane, Lindsay Inducted into Texas Transportation Hall of Honor
Noted Texas business leader Drayton McLane Jr., a pioneer in modern transportation logistics, and Jon Lindsay, a strong political leader and advocate for transportation for over 30 years, were inducted into the Texas Transportation Hall of Honor in September and October, respectively.
During his tenure as president and CEO of the McLane Company, McLane played a key role in retailing giant Walmart’s entry into the grocery business. His technology-driven focus on distribution logistics helped Walmart become the largest grocery retailer in the world in less than 10 years.
“Drayton McLane deserves recognition as one of the most visionary transportation leaders in this state and country,”TTI Agency Director Dennis Christiansen said. “He wrote the book on distribution and logistics.”
As both a county judge and state senator, Lindsay initiated a number of innovative transportation projects, including the Harris County Toll Road Authority and the initiative to create freight rail districts with eminent domain authority and the ability to issue bonds. “Jon was a key member of the so-called ‘super group’ that gave unprecedented priority and leadership to transportation in this region,” said Christiansen. “He made the Harris County toll road system a reality.”
Houston TranStar Wins National Award
Houston TranStar, which provides transportation management and emergency management services, and TTI have collaborated for decades to improve traffic management to the Greater Houston Region. TranStar has received the 2011 Digital Government Achievement Award from the Center for Digital Government for TranStar’s cutting-edge anonymous wireless address matching travel-time information system. The Center for Digital Government is a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government.
The new deployment, extending north more than 200 miles along the I-45 North corridor to Dallas, gives Houston TranStar the capability to monitor and manage traffic conditions on this major evacuation route.
“Houston TranStar’s monitoring system on I-45 between Houston and Dallas allows us to provide travel information during both evacuations and for day-to-day use at a fraction of the cost of other technologies,” said John R. Whaley, director of Houston TranStar. “Because of the incredible cost savings involved, this technology is a game changer in travel monitoring — whether for emergency management or daily commuting.”
Harris Receives ITS America Award
Bill Harris, former Texas Transportation Institute associate director and holder of the E.B. Snead Endowed Chair in Transportation Engineering in the Texas A&M University Zachry Department of Civil Engineering, is the recipient of an ITS America Hall of Fame Award. Harris, a pioneer in the area of rail research, was instrumental in advancing intelligent transportation systems.
The Hall of Fame award recognizes individuals who are considered champions of technology in transportation. TTI Executive Associate Director Katie Turnbull accepted the award on behalf of Harris and TTI at the ITS World Congress in Orlando, Fla., Oct. 17, 2011.