The Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) Advisory Council meeting in Waco, Texas, in October provided updates on TTI research initiatives, a panel discussion on connected and automated vehicle research, a Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) update, and Council discussion on post-legislative session transportation priorities.
Council member Drayton McLane, chairman of the McLane Group, hosted the meeting in the President’s Club of McLane Stadium. He was the speaker for the Council dinner and shared some of his experiences in leading a major freight logistics company.
TTI Agency Director Dennis Christiansen opened the Council meeting by providing an update on TTI research initiatives. Steve Roop, TTI senior research scientist, provided an update on the Freight Shuttle System demonstration project. Tim Lomax, TTI research fellow, gave a summary of the results of the Urban Mobility Scorecard, a comprehensive analysis of traffic congestion measures in 471 urban areas across the United States, which was released in August.
Other briefings included a panel discussion moderated by Ginger Goodin, director of the TTI Transportation Policy Research Center, focused on CV/AV research needs. The three panelists were Council members Mike Heiligenstein, executive director of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority; Robert Spillar, transportation director for the City of Austin; and Linda Watson, president/CEO of the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The panel addressed the role of technology in meeting challenges in public transportation agencies and the role that transportation research should play.
A full Council discussion centered on the transportation outcomes of the recent legislative session, and additional actions the state should pursue to prepare the transportation system for the next decade. A number of ideas were shared, including further updating the Texas 2030 Committee Report first completed in 2009 and updated in 2011, examining the shifts in transportation mode choices by the millennial generation, and seeking methods to relieve freight congestion on the state’s roadways.
The Council meeting luncheon speaker was Marc Williams, TxDOT interim deputy executive director and director of planning. He provided an update on TxDOT plans and priorities. The meeting concluded with tours of McLane Stadium.