The March 26 grand opening celebration for the state headquarters of the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) not only highlighted the past accomplishments of the Institute’s last 60 years, but also the work that still needs doing.
“Quite frankly, this new facility is clearly the envy of our peers,” TTI Agency Director Dennis Christiansen told the 200 people in attendance. “It provides us with facilities that are unmatched anywhere else in the country for the kind of work we do.”
The 66,700-square-foot TTI State Headquarters and Research Building houses a state-of-the-art Visibility Research Laboratory 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 making driving at night safer. Nighttime fatalities outpace daytime fatalities by a 3-to-1 margin.
“250 to 300 people lose their lives in this senatorial district each year,” noted Sen. Steve Ogden, a champion of transportation safety. “The work that you do here will save lives today and in the future. My hat is off to you. There is no more important task out there.”
Other speakers at the grand opening celebration included Amadeo Saenz, the executive director of the Texas Department of Transportation, Michael McKinney, the chancellor of the Texas A&M University System and Morris Foster, the chairman of the Texas A&M System Board of Regents.
“Within these walls important research will take place that will save lives by improving the quality of our transportation system,” Foster told the crowd.
Since it was established six decades ago, TTI has become known worldwide for its safety innovations, congestion and mobility studies and research related to all modes of transportation.
“We are fortunate to have the support of everyone in this room at a time when transportation has never been more important,” Christiansen said.