The Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) hosted the 2022 Texas A&M Transportation Technology Conference Sept. 15–16 in partnership with The Texas A&M University System, Texas A&M University, Texas A&M Engineering and the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station. The event — sponsored by HNTB, Alliance Texas Mobility Innovation Zone, 3M and Cavnue — highlighted innovative projects that are addressing mobility and expedited goods movement.
The conference, which was attended by about 125 participants, kicked off with an opening luncheon and welcome address from TTI Assistant Director Joe Zietsman, followed by a conversation with Hillwood Properties Executive Vice President Russell Laughlin on the future of urban air and automated freight moderated by TTI Senior Research Engineer Ginger Goodin.
“One theme that we’re going to see through this conference is that technology is not a luxury anymore; it’s a need,” Laughlin stated during the opening luncheon. “Innovation and data are leading the next generation of growth of in transportation. What can we do today that will help accelerate that growth?”
The following sessions answered just that. An interactive panel of national, state and local leaders offered unique perspectives on innovative technologies that are improving safety and mobility in transportation. Speakers included Federal Highway Administration Director of the Office of Safety and Operations Research and Development Brian Cronin, Transportation Research Board Executive Director Neil Pedersen, Texas Department of Transportation Director of Strategy and Innovation Darran Anderson and City of Arlington Principal Planner of the Office of Strategic Initiatives Ann Foss.
Presentations included pilot projects that demonstrate how innovation has led to the development of autonomous vehicles, improved mobility and increased connectivity. According to the panelists, the biggest challenge moving forward will be connecting national, state and local communities with the private sector to better share resources and collaborate on activities. The first day ended with a panel moderated by TTI Senior Research Engineer Beverly Kuhn on Innovative Technologies for Smart and Resilient Communities with Innovative Technologies.
The second day opened with a session on big data moderated by TTI Senior Research Engineer Shawn Turner and included presentations led by National Renewal Energy Laboratory Advanced Transportation and Urban Scientist Stan Young, TTI Research Scientist Nicole Katsikides and TTI Assistant Research Scientist Michael Martin.
“The data world is in revolution, not evolution,” noted Turner. “We’re able to enhance efficiency by having a data buffet that can be shared with others. Implementing innovation can be challenging and time-consuming, but together the champions here today are just some of the people who are helping lead this change.”
The conference concluded with a keynote address by Dr. Bonnie J. Dunbar, retired NASA astronaut and professor in the Texas A&M Department of Aerospace Engineering.
The complete conference program can be found online.