The Teens in the Driver Seat® (TDS) program at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) is delighted to announce its recognition in the Travel category at the Netty Awards, one of the digital age’s most esteemed accolades. The program’s exceptional work on the You in the Driver Seat (YDS) Mobile App has earned them this prestigious award.
The Netty Awards serve as a celebration of excellence in the digital landscape, paying tribute to outstanding companies and leaders across more than 100 distinct categories. It establishes a benchmark for excellence and underscores the creativity, innovation and technical talent demonstrated by the winners.
Russell Henk, TTI senior research engineer, who played a pivotal role in establishing and overseeing the development and deployment of the YDS app, expressed his enthusiasm by saying, “This Netty Award holds tremendous significance, reflecting the dedication and countless hours invested by the exceptional team at TTI.” He continued, “I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the entire Youth Transportation Safety team for their invaluable contributions and steadfast partnership throughout these past few years. I would also like to express an extra dose of appreciation to Micah Montoya, Mike Vickich and Christine Yager for their outstanding efforts in developing and maintaining the YDS app. Without their remarkable talents, none of this achievement would have been possible.”
Henk emphasizes the transformational impact of bringing the app’s development in-house at TTI, stating, “Taking complete control of the application code and data was pivotal in our ability to comprehensively analyze our product. It was nearly impossible to derive meaningful feedback from our user base when we were outsourcing the app to the private sector.”
Following the app’s redevelopment at TTI, immediate access to critical data became possible, facilitating timely updates tailored to the audience’s evolving needs. This strategic shift empowered the team to advance the application much more effectively.
The YDS App exemplifies innovative work in promoting safe driving among young drivers aged 16 to 25. The app incentivizes responsible driving behaviors, encouraging drivers to avoid dangerous distractions such as texting, calls, or social media use while driving and to steer clear of excessive speeding. For every safely driven mile, drivers earn points that can be redeemed for gift cards to popular venues like Amazon, Starbucks and Chick-Fil-A. Additionally, users can earn safe driving badges and qualify for random reward drawings based on specific safe driving point benchmarks.
“We are incredibly honored to be recognized by the Netty Awards,” mentions Henk. “It has been a great team effort – characterized by innovation and creativity – that has produced meaningful results and noteworthy accolades. This award validates everyone’s hard work and dedication, and I couldn’t be more proud and happy for all of us.”
As they celebrate this remarkable achievement, TTI extends their deepest gratitude to the YDS App team, whose talent and commitment made this achievement possible.