The Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) Advisory Council held its annual meeting in Westlake, Texas, Nov. 1–2, at The Barn at Circle T Ranch. This was the first time the council met in person since 2019.
The meeting began with a welcome by TTI Agency Director Greg Winfree and former Texas State Senator and council chair David Cain. Approximately 50 individuals comprised of council members, friends of the council and TTI staff attended the event.
After introducing the council’s newest members, the first day concluded with an address by guest speaker Marc Williams, executive director of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to discuss the value of the relationship between TTI and TxDOT, which has lasted for more than 70 years.
“It’s very exciting to see the integration of the research TTI does with TxDOT throughout the entire state of Texas” Williams said. “From work on our ports and waterway system, to collaborating on energy projects in the Permian Basin, the reach of TxDOT’s partnership with TTI is tremendously vital and far-reaching.”
Greg Winfree began the second day of the meeting with an update on the agency and its recent research initiatives, including the highly anticipated 2021 Urban Mobility Report.
“TTI’s bi-annual Urban Mobility Report is considered by many to be the most definitive study of traffic congestion in the country, documenting congestion costs, trends and mitigation measures in almost 500 urban areas,” Winfree said. “This year’s report noted that congestion was dialed back to 1991 levels early in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the respite was short-lived, and we’re now seeing new traffic patterns develop across the country.”
Winfree also reported that research expenditures were up slightly for the Institute, topping $67.7 million for fiscal year 2021, which ended Aug. 31. He closed with an update on TTI’s strategic partnerships, including the announcement of the agency’s newest partnerships with the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station to assess and test vehicle electrification and its impact on the grid; the Texas A&M College of Engineering and the development of a two-year online master’s degree program in engineering that begins in fall 2022; and TTI’s being named the official research partner in the AllianceTexas Mobility Innovation Zone.
The overview was followed by several interactive panel discussions led by industry experts to discuss current transportation-related topics. Topics focused on the recent supply chain disruptions and the role of the transportation system and electrified transportation and the Texas power grid. TTI Deputy Director Bill Stockton and Senior Research Engineer Ginger Goodin also led a collaborative exercise prompting council members and attendees to discuss potential future research opportunities, transportation issues facing the state, and how TTI can contribute to improving our transportation system.
The meeting concluded with TTI Executive Associate Director Katie Turnbull leading a thought panel discussion on the future of transportation in Texas and across the nation.
For more information, contact Terri Parker at (979) 317-2343 or firstname.lastname@example.org.