The Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) was well represented at the 99th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB). This year’s meeting celebrated TRB’s centennial and had a record attendance of more than 13,900 participants from around the world. The meeting program covered all transportation modes, with more than 5,000 presentations in nearly 800 sessions and workshops addressing topics of interest to policy makers, administrators, practitioners, researchers and representatives of government, industry and academia. A number of sessions and workshops focused on the spotlight theme for the 2020 meeting: A Century of Progress: Foundation for the Future.
Bill Eisele, head of TTI’s Mobility Division, chairs the TRB Urban Freight Transportation Committee, which received the TRB Technical Activities Council Blue Ribbon Award for Identifying and Advancing Ideas for Research.
The Fred Burggraf Award, which recognizes excellence in transportation research by researchers 35 years of age or younger, was awarded to Alireza Talebpour, formerly of Texas A&M University’s Zachary Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and TTI.
TTI Associate Transportation Researcher Emira Rista and TTI Senior Research Engineer Kay Fitzpatrick were awarded the Traffic Control Devices Committee’s 2020 Young First Author Best Paper Award for their paper, “How Do LED-Embedded Pedestrian Crossing Signs Compare to Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) and Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons (PHBs)?”
“This paper addresses pedestrian safety issues as agencies have installed various treatments, including LED-embedded pedestrian crossing signs, which are rather novel and less expensive than previously utilized countermeasures,” Rista explains. “However, because of their novelty, these devices have not been studied, and little is known about their effectiveness. Our paper examines their efficacy by studying driver yielding rates and how they vary based on several other road geometric and operational characteristics. This study will ultimately not only set the stage for further research on these devices but, from a practical standpoint, aid practitioners in understanding these devices and which roads (and road characteristics) these devices are best suited.”
TTI Research Engineer Marcus Brewer and Graduate Assistant Jayson Stibbe were awarded the Geometric Design Committee’s 2019 Best Paper Award for their paper, “Investigation of Design Speed Characteristics on Freeway Ramps Using Strategic Highway Research Program 2 (SHRP 2) Naturalistic Driving Data.”
“This paper is based on a project sponsored by the SAFE-D University Transportation Center. The idea for that project came out of exploring new ways to use the incredible amount of data in the SHRP 2 naturalistic driving database,” Brewer explains. “This type of data had not been previously used for a geometric design application, and we were able to explore how the data could be used to estimate how fast drivers travel on freeway ramps based on design characteristics. Results from this project can be used to evaluate the performance of existing ramps or estimate speeds that can be expected on future designs.”