Of all the research done at the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), perhaps none is more important than the work of the Center for Transportation Safety (CTS). September 2011 marks 10 years since the center opened its doors. In that time, CTS staff have impacted traffic safety in Texas with research, public outreach and data analysis.
“The work done by the Center for Transportation Safety over the past decade is saving lives — there’s no question about that,” said State Sen. Steve Ogden, who authored the legislation creating CTS. “It’s difficult for me to think of another investment of taxpayer dollars that has paid off better than our investment in roadway safety research. My hat is off to the center’s talented and dedicated staff.”
Sen. Ogden recognized the urgent need for improved roadway safety in Texas, pointing out in the bill that “there were no days in 1998 or 1999 during which there were no deaths on Texas highways.”
The mission of the center, as set out in statute, is to serve as a focal point for traffic safety research, policy analysis, education and outreach in Texas by:
- educating — providing students hands-on training and guidance in transportation safety and safety-related research;
- collaborating — promoting the collaboration of professionals from different disciplines in the cause of transportation safety;
- analyzing — conducting research to reduce the deaths and injuries associated with transportation in all its modes;
- evaluating — assessing the effectiveness of different plans, programs and policies that have been implemented to reduce transportation-related deaths and injuries;
- sharing — providing safety information to other professionals and the public; and
- distributing — serving as a resource to the Texas Legislature and various state agencies by developing new plans, programs and policies that have the potential to reduce transportation-related deaths and injuries in Texas.
In the past 10 years, CTS has used its original $500,000 in state- appropriated funds to help secure other research contracts, to bring its annual funding up to more than $5 million.
The impact of the center’s reach does not stop at just research. Numerous CTS researchers have given invited testimony to House and Senate committees to help legislators improve public policy related to transportation safety.
The center has grown considerably since is inception. In 2001, CTS employed eight people; in 2011, more than 55 individuals are working on projects to improve the road safety for Texans.