Internationally known pavement innovator and Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) Senior Research Engineer Tom Scullion was honored with a Regents Fellow Service Award by The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents Nov. 3. The award is the highest honor given by the regents recognizing employees who have made exemplary contributions to their agency and Texans.
With a 31-year career with TTI, Scullion is responsible for numerous pavement-related inventions, designs, procedures and software that have enhanced the safety and performance of highways. His innovations have saved lives and taxpayer dollars by extending pavement life and improving maintenance procedures for highways around the world.
For the last 16 years, Scullion has managed TTI’s Flexible Pavements Program. He worked his way up the ranks from his first position as a research associate in 1980. Among Scullion’s accomplishments:
- Ground Penetrating Radar — allows engineers to create profiles of highways at up to 70 mph to diagnose subsurface pavement problems.
- Pave-IR systems — mounted to the back of an asphalt paver, Pave-IR checks in real-time the temperature uniformity of new asphalt overlay and provides contractors with immediate feedback on potential quality problems.
- Structural design software (FPS 21) — The Texas DOT’s official flexible pavement design software, it is used by designers to calculate the required thickness of pavement layers to carry the anticipated traffic loads.
- Ultra-Thin Overlays — thin surfaces up to 40 percent thinner than their thicker counterparts, these new long life surfacing are being designed to decrease pavement noise, reduce splash and spray and increase safety.
- Stabilization Guidelines — new test procedures for permanently treating problematic Texas soils.
“Tom Scullion is widely recognized as a pioneer in the development of groundbreaking pavement engineering tools that are used throughout the world,” said TTI Agency Director Dennis Christiansen. “He has made lifesaving and long-lasting contributions to society and is exceptionally deserving of this special recognition.”
Much of Scullion’s work focuses on the rapidly deteriorating roadway system and the limited resources agencies have to make necessary upgrades and repairs. The technologies he has developed are ideally suited for these challenges. As a recognized expert in his field, the Texas Department of Transportation has commissioned Scullion to conduct analysis of its interstate corridors and other major routes.