The Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) was well represented at The Transportation Research Board’s (TRB) 99th Annual Meeting. This year’s meeting celebrated TRB’s centennial and had a record year of attendance at 13,900+ participants from around the world. The meeting program covered all transportation modes, with more than 5,000 presentations in nearly 800 sessions and workshops addressing topics of interest to policymakers, administrators, practitioners, researchers and representatives of government, industry and academic institutions. A number of sessions and workshops focused on the spotlight theme for the 2020 meeting: A Century of Progress: Foundation for the Future.
Best Paper Awards
TTI Research Engineer Marcus Brewer and Graduate Assistant Jayson Stibbe were awarded The Geometric Design Committee’s 2019 Best Paper Award for their paper, “Investigation of Design Speed Characteristics on Freeway Ramps using Strategic Highway Research Program 2 (SHRP2) Naturalistic Driving Data.”
“This paper is based on a project sponsored by the SAFE-D University Transportation Center. The idea for that project came out of exploring new ways to use the incredible amount of data in the SHRP2 naturalistic driving database,” Brewer explains. “This type of data had not been previously used for a geometric design application, and we were able to explore how the data could be used to estimate how fast drivers travel on freeway ramps based on design characteristics. Results from this project can be used to evaluate the performance of existing ramps or estimate speeds that can be expected on future designs.”
TTI Senior Research Engineer Kay Fitzpatrick and TTI Associate Transportation Researcher Emira Rista were awarded the Traffic Control Devices Committee’s 2020 Young First Author Best Paper for their paper, “How Do LED-Embedded Pedestrian Crossing Signs Compare to Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) and Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons (PHBs)?”
“This paper addresses pedestrian safety issues, as agencies have installed various treatments, including LED-embedded pedestrian crossing signs, which are rather novel and less expensive than previously utilized countermeasures,” Rista explains. “However, because of their novelty, these devices have not been studied, and little is known about their effectiveness. Our paper examined their efficacy by studying driver yielding rates and how they vary based on several other road geometric and operational characteristics. This study will ultimately set the stage not only for further research on these devices but, from a practical standpoint, aid practitioners in understanding these devices and for what roads (and road characteristics) these devices are best suited.”
Blue Ribbon Award
Bill Eisele, head of TTI’s Mobility Division, chairs the TRB Urban Freight Transportation Committee, which received the TRB Technical Activities Council Blue Ribbon Award for Identifying and Advancing Ideas for Research.
Fred Burggraf Award
The Fred Burggraf Award, which recognizes excellence in transportation research by researchers 35 years of age or younger, was awarded to Alireza Talebpour, formerly of Texas A&M University’s Zachry Department of Civil Engineering and TTI.