The Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) recently elected Robert Wunderlich, Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) senior research engineer and director of the Center for Transportation Safety (CTS) to Honorary Membership. Wunderlich is internationally recognized for his expertise in traffic safety research, policy analysis, education and outreach.
Election to ITE’s Honorary Membership is the organization’s “highest recognition of notable and outstanding professional achievement.” Since 1933 when the first Honorary Member was selected, only 86 individuals have been honored. Wunderlich joins Brian Bochner, Dennis Christiansen, Daniel Fambro, C.J. “Jack” Keese and Neilon Rowan as the sixth individual from TTI afforded this distinction.
“This is the honor of a lifetime, and a humbling experience when I look at the list of those elected before me,” says Wunderlich. “I’m extremely grateful for the support I’ve received from my colleagues, my employers, and my family that put me in a position to contribute to my profession and its members.”
Wunderlich has been an active contributor to ITE over the past three decades, acting as a tireless champion to reduce injuries and fatalities on roadways. He’s credited with helping foster ITE’s overarching focus on Vision Zero principles, which aims to achieve a highway system with no fatalities or serious injuries involving road traffic. He’s also been a strong advocate for the Safe Systems approach to transportation system development, a philosophy that places safety culture at the forefront of decision-making.
In 2011, Wunderlich was elected ITE international president, and under his leadership, the institute played a critical role in urging the United Nations to prioritize safety in their Global Plan for the Decade of Action. Wunderlich is also credited with leading the ITE Board in approving the LeadershipITE program aimed at cultivating the next generation of transportation professionals.
“Robert has made significant and sustained contributions to ITE for decades and is very deserving of ITE’s highest honor,” says ITE Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Paniati. “Long after serving as ITE International President, Robert continues to grow the next generation of transportation professionals by sharing his time, passion and knowledge throughout ITE.”
As director of CTS, Wunderlich is responsible for leading the center’s commitment to reducing the frequency and severity of roadway crashes through a program of innovative and multi-disciplinary research, education and outreach. He is a long-time advocate for — and practitioner of — building safety transportation infrastructure and making operational improvements to save lives, reduce injuries and minimize crashes.
TTI Agency Director Greg Winfree notes, “I am thrilled to hear Robert has been elected to ITE’s Honorary Membership. Robert’s leadership and vision as CTS director have helped put TTI at the forefront of transportation safety research focused on developing safer roadways, safer drivers and addressing the needs of high-risk road users.”
Wunderlich is a licensed professional engineer in Texas, a member of Transportation Research Board Transportation Safety Management Committee, and a member of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Technical Committee on Geometric Design.