A delegation of Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) researchers was invited to Beijing, China, recently to help with the growing congestion and air quality problems that affect the city and other parts of the country.
TTI co-sponsored the two-day workshop at the Beijing Transportation Research Center (BTRC) — an eight-year-old research institute similar to TTI.
“Traffic congestion in China is a fairly new problem,” says Program Manager Shawn Turner. “As the urban economy has grown substantially over the last 10 to 15 years, people have flocked to the cities for jobs and it seems they have all bought cars.” An estimated 1,900 vehicles are added to Beijing streets every day.
Beijing has nearly the population of Texas (about 20 million people) despite being 1/40th the size of the Lone Star State.
As a part of the Beijing city government, BTRC is tasked with developing innovative solutions to traffic congestion, and monitoring the problem is the first step to solving it. “In the three years that we have worked with BTRC, they have made great progress in communicating the congestion problem and in tackling it, as demonstrated during the 2008 Olympics,” Turner points out.
Turner, Research Scientist David Ellis and Director for the Center for Air Quality Studies Joe Zietsman were presenters at the “Workshop on Innovations in Congestion Monitoring.” Assistant Research Engineer Teresa Qu of the Mobility Analysis Program helped to organize the workshop and provided logistical support.
TTI has shared its expertise and offered technical assistance to BTRC since 2006 and has a contract with the center through next year. “We are also developing relationships with other Chinese cities,” says Associate Agency Director Ed Seymour, who helped moderate the workshop Oct. 28-29. “These international relationships help TTI reach its goal of expanding our outreach-and they are also extremely rewarding.”
Also, a delegation from Beijing Jiaotong University traveled to College Station to visit TTI Nov. 23. The group of university professionals and industry representatives spent all day learning about the various Institute programs and toured the Riverside Campus crash testing facility and the Hydraulics, Erosion and Sediment Control Laboratory.