EL PASO – The Texas Transportation Institute, the nation’s largest transportation research agency of its kind, has established an El Paso research center with new state funding secured by State Senator Eliot Shapleigh.
The Institute opened in 1950 and works to create technologies and solve problems in all modes of transportation – highway, rail, air, water and pipeline. The new El Paso presence, named the Center for International Intelligent Transportation Research, was authorized by the 79th Legislature. Funding of almost $2 million for the biennium began in September.
The new CIITR will focus its work in three areas – traffic management, border issues and air quality – to enhance the efficient, safe and secure movement of people and goods across the Texas/Mexico border and within the El Paso area.
“After September 11th, free trade depends on the safe, smart and fast movement of people and product around the world, but especially across borders,” said Senator Shapleigh. “Our new center will be a world leader in critical new technologies on how to make that happen.”
Researchers say that they plan to transfer the results of their work to other international border cities in Texas and beyond. In addition, they plan to work with local colleges to help ensure the training of the region’s future transportation workforce.
TTI Director Herbert Richardson pointed out that El Paso’s vibrant growth, its international dynamics and its worldwide significance make it a “living laboratory” for transportation research. “For that reason,” he said, “our research staff considers it both a rare opportunity and a high honor to be involved in work that will help to ensure this region’s future vitality.”
TTI has conducted transportation research for several years locally, as Richardson noted. The new funding, however, will give the Institute a permanent home, enabling it to work full-time to help solve regional transportation problems.
“We recognize that the need for fast, smart, secure transportation has never been more urgent,” Richardson said. “And, we can assure you that TTI’s commitment to the El Paso region has never been more strong.”