On June 15, some 200 Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) employees and local, state and Texas A&M University System dignitaries gathered to celebrate the beginning of construction of the new TTI Headquarters Building at the newly renovated A&M System RELLIS Campus.
The $70 million building is slated to be occupied by March 2019. TTI will be the first A&M System institution to have its headquarters located at the campus.
“Sixty-seven years ago this month, TTI was formed to aid the Texas Highway Department (now the Texas Department of Transportation) with research on pavements, bridges and roadway safety,” Agency Director Greg Winfree said, opening the ceremony. “Today, the Institute is well known in these legacy areas, but TTI is also significantly invested in forward-thinking transportation technologies and connected and automated vehicle [CAV] research.”
“TTI is indeed fortunate to have the support of everyone here today at this particular time in history, when transportation has never been more important to our state and our country.”
Greg Winfree, TTI Agency Director
A&M System Chancellor John Sharp, who announced plans for the RELLIS Campus last year, envisions a state-of-the-art, high-tech campus for the Texas A&M Engineering Program. At the ceremony, Sharp addressed the TTI personnel in attendance, saying, “My main purpose here today is to thank you for what you are going to add to RELLIS. The plans and the number of people that are talking about coming here boggle the mind.”
The Texas A&M RELLIS Campus will include seven engineering facilities and two education centers. In part, Sharp wants RELLIS to become the canvas for CAV testing, CAV research projects, interactions with CAV industry representatives, and modern laboratories to train the next-generation transportation workforce.
Sharp’s vision was endorsed by A&M System Vice Chancellor and Dean of Engineering M. Katherine Banks at the celebration: “I am confident that the RELLIS Campus will be known worldwide as a transportation incubator. The impact of the work performed by TTI researchers and staff in this building will touch the lives of millions of people across the country and around the world.”
“The new headquarters building will be a facility where transportation and engineering experts join with partners from government, industry and academia to study, develop and solve the transportation challenges of the 21st century.”
M. Katherine Banks, Texas A&M System Vice Chancellor and Dean of Engineering
Other speakers at the ceremony included Bill Mahomes, A&M System Regent; John Barton, executive director of the RELLIS Campus; Marc Williams, deputy executive director of the Texas Department of Transportation; and David Cain, chair of the TTI Advisory Council and president of David Cain Consulting.
Once occupied, the new TTI Headquarters Building and other facilities at RELLIS will provide one home for TTI’s Bryan/College Station staff now located in several different geographic locations around town — the first time that has happened since the early days of the Institute.