The Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) is a supporting entity for the Southern Regional Climate Center (SRCC), which will conduct research at the intersection of transportation and extreme weather. The SRCC officially moved to Texas A&M University May 14, 2021, from Louisiana State University. The Texas A&M University System team includes TTI, Texas A&M’s College of Geosciences and Trabus Technologies. Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon, regents professor in Texas A&M’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences, serves as SRCC director.
“We couldn’t be more pleased to partner with Nielsen-Gammon, Trabus Technologies and the Department of Atmospheric Sciences to establish the SRCC at Texas A&M,” says SRCC Project Manager Jim Cline, TTI senior research engineer. “Climate issues are key to finding solutions to many transportation resiliency challenges, and the expertise available at TTI will contribute greatly to meeting the long-term goals of the southern region.”
In addition to meeting Texas’ needs, the SRCC serves Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee and is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Regional Climate Center Program. The center provides vital regional climate data products and services, houses climate information in a complex, computer-based infrastructure, and integrates smoothly between regional climate data and NOAA data.
“As Texas state climatologist, I’m primarily focused on helping match stakeholders with existing information that best meets their needs,” Nielsen-Gammon said. “Now, with the resources provided by NOAA through the SRCC, we have the capacity to take raw materials, which are the climate data, and transform them into products and information specially tailored to people’s needs, both now and in the future.”
TTI’s role related to the SRCC includes:
- Conducting overall project management;
- Offering transportation expertise in coastal resiliency discussions, especially related to hurricane evacuation and recovery;
- Seeking new opportunities such as linking crash data to climate data and exploring potential insights for safety improvements; and
- Assisting in other areas or discussions as applicable.
“The extreme droughts, record-breaking hurricanes, severe snow and ice storms, and increased flooding events that have occurred in our country during the past 15 years or so make this center a significant addition to Texas A&M and TTI’s research and education portfolio,” says TTI Agency Director Greg Winfree. “Improving the sustainability and resiliency of the transportation system is always top of mind for us, and we’re proud to offer transportation expertise for the center.”