Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) researchers and staff participated in the Transportation Research Board (TRB) 102nd Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, Jan. 8–12. Thousands of transportation administrators, practitioners, policy makers and researchers attended more than 600 workshops, lectern sessions and poster sessions over the five-day conference.
TTI’s annual TRB reception, co-sponsored by the Texas A&M University Zachry Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, saw a steady flow of participants on the first night of the conference. Many of these participants also stopped by TTI’s booth during exhibit hours in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, which featured a new foam letter and logo display developed by TTI’s graphics team.
Roger Bligh, TTI senior research engineer, received the Kenneth A. Stonex Roadside Safety Award for his lifetime contributions to roadside safety. The award is named for Ken Stonex, “a General Motors employee who was a pioneer for roadside safety long before the seriousness of ran-off-road crashes was recognized by most transportation agencies” (TRB). It is regarded as the most prestigious award that the TRB Standing Committee on Roadside Safety Design presents. Bligh joins C. Eugene Buth, Teddy Hirsch, King K. Mak and Hayes E. Ross, Jr. as the fifth TTI researcher to receive the award.
“It’s a humbling honor to be recognized by your peers for such a significant award named after a true safety pioneer,” says Bligh. “I’ve been fortunate to work with many dedicated professionals throughout my career and to have had the opportunity to contribute to the important mission of saving lives and reducing injuries associated with roadway departure crashes. While great progress has been made, there are still many challenges that lie ahead on the Road to Zero, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to address them.”
Bligh — along with TTI Assistant Research Scientist Nathan Schulz — co-authored the paper Mash TL-3 Modified Single Wood-Post Skid-Mounted Sign Support System. The paper won the Best Paper Award from the Standing Committee on Road Safety and Design.
“I’ve always respected and admired my roadside safety colleagues and peers who have won this award in years past,” notes Schulz. “I’m honored and grateful to be on the receiving end of this award with Roger.”
The TRB Technical Activities Council Blue Ribbon Committees Program “recognizes exemplary best practice standing committee activities and the volunteer efforts associated with those activities” (TRB). Two TRB standing committees led by Beverly Kuhn, TTI senior research engineer and division head of the System Reliability Division, and Sushant Sharma, TTI research scientist, received Blue Ribbon Awards.
The Freeway Operations Committee, chaired by Kuhn, was recognized in the category of diversity for “dramatically engaging diverse participation through resetting committee membership and amplifying inclusive involvement and outreach” (TRB).
“As transportation professionals, we are a network of stakeholders who support one another in the common enterprise of providing a physical space for mobility,” says Kuhn. “Freeways are part of that space, and it’s our responsibility to ensure they are as safe, effective and productive as possible so the human community can thrive. The ability to accomplish that goal is strengthened when we listen to all voices; a diverse committee membership that reflects both the demographics and cultures of the communities we serve and the varying disciplines of professional transportation practice can help the Freeway Operations Committee better achieve that goal.”
The Freight Planning and Logistics Committee, chaired by Sharma, was honored in the category of implementation: moving research ideas into transportation practice for “leveraging existing TRB resources innovatively to create an impact beyond TRB” (TRB).
Sharma shares, “Our committee is focused on articulating and solving freight and supply-chain issues faced by our community by utilizing perspectives and expertise of committee members and friends while providing a platform for support and collaboration with open mind.”