Former TTI Research Associate Becomes NTSB Member
A former TTI research associate has been sworn in as the newest member of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). T. Bella Dinh-Zarr, who worked at TTI from 1997 to 2000, was sworn in March 23 following her presidential nomination and congressional approval. Dinh-Zarr was then designated as vice chair of NTSB by Pres. Barack Obama.
Following her employment at TTI, Dinh-Zarr — a longtime advocate of transportation safety — worked for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the American Automobile Association. Most recently she was the North American director of the Make Roads Safe Campaign for Global Road Safety and the director of road safety at the FIA Foundation.
“I feel privileged to work on this agency’s noble mission of keeping people safe in every mode of transportation,” Dinh-Zarr said following the NTSB swearing-in ceremony. “Working together and using sound science, we can prevent injuries and deaths, now and for future generations.”
TTI Receives AAPT’s W.J. Emmons Award
Members of TTI’s Flexible Pavements Division were honored with a best paper award by the Association of Asphalt Paving Technologists (AAPT) during its annual meeting in March.
TTI Research Engineer Fujie Zhou, Associate Research Engineer Sheng Hu and Senior Research Engineer Tom Scullion received AAPT’s W.J. Emmons Award for their paper, “Balanced RAP/RAS Mix Design System for Project-Specific Conditions.” The prestigious national award was initiated by AAPT in 1949. The association was founded in 1924 and has 800 members worldwide.
“This is a great honor for me to receive this award, but it’s truly a team effort,” says Zhou, who presented the paper at the annual meeting. Zhou and his coauthors also received the Emmons Award in 2010. The paper was published, along with the other annual meeting papers, in the AAPT Annual Journal.
Increased Funding, Greater Reach for TDS Program
As part of its annual summit May 17–19, TTI’s Teens in the Driver Seat® (TDS) program announced that an additional $470,000 in total grant funding from State Farm will help TDS reach 100 new schools (and 100,000 additional teen drivers) in 35 states this year.
“Our unique, shared approach is to positively influence teens to be safer drivers, rather than try to scare compliance into them,” explains TDS Program Manager Russell Henk. “Our commitment to this strategy now for more than a decade [with TDS] is consistently producing positive results.”
Begun in 2002, TDS promotes awareness of the top five dangers of teen driving (e.g., driving at night) and uses positive peer pressure to encourage safer driving behaviors among teens. With the program’s resources and staff support, high schools undertake a variety of grassroots outreach activities throughout the year in their schools and communities to help create a traffic safety culture. For the past seven years, State Farm has provided $100,000 annually to help TDS achieve its goals.
“State Farm and TTI are both national leaders in what they do, and by working together they will continue to make our roadways safer for all drivers and passengers,” said Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp. “This partnership exemplifies the commitment to public service that is central to the mission of the A&M System.”
Kyle Field Gameday Experience Earns State Award
TTI and Texas A&M University Transportation Services recently received the Award of Excellence for Parking Program of the Year from the Texas Parking and Transportation Association for their work on the Texas A&M University Gameday Experience 2014.
With the renovation and expansion of Texas A&M University’s Kyle Field stadium and subsequent increase in attendance and traffic, university officials recognized the need for close coordination among local police departments, city and county officials, university departments, the Bryan-College Station Chamber of Commerce, and the Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“Aggie fans deserve the best possible experience when they come out to support our student athletes,” says Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp. “Ensuring that great experience in the midst of an unprecedented stadium expansion has been no small task, but this award demonstrates how our team of professionals is exceeding some very high expectations.”
Improvements included traffic and bus routing changes, better signalization and contraflow lanes, safer pedestrian paths, pre-paid parking, more efficient entry, and a Destination Aggieland smartphone app to give fans quick access to parking, shuttle and stadium maps and information, traffic conditions, directions to their Kyle Field entry point, and more.
TTI Assists DART in Electric Bus Project
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) was recently awarded a $7.6 million grant for the purchase of seven all-electric Proterra buses and the infrastructure to charge and maintain them. TTI is part of the project team and assisted DART with the grant proposal.
According to TTI Associate Research Scientist John Overman, TTI’s role in the project will involve before-and-after analysis of the implementation of the converted fleet and provide an overall picture of how the new electric buses are working, such as how much energy is conserved.
DART was one of 10 agencies selected to receive a total of $55 million in grants from the Federal Transportation Administration. DART’s application was supported by the North Texas congressional delegation. Other project partners include the City of Dallas, Proterra, Cavallo Energy Texas and Downtown Dallas, Inc.
“DART is a leader in converting its fleet to compressed natural gas,” says Overman. “This just goes in line with its long-term goals of investing in 21st century transportation solutions like these zero-emission buses.”
Lukuc Receives SAE Intelligent Transportation Systems Award
Mike Lukuc, manager of TTI’s Connected Vehicles and Infrastructure Program, has been honored with the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Delco Electronics Intelligent Transportation Systems Award. The annual award recognizes the impact intelligent transportation systems will have on mobility in the 21st century. Lukuc received the award during the SAE 2015 World Congress held April 21 in Detroit, Mich.
Lukuc has more than 25 years of experience with the automobile industry. While working for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Lukuc managed the $85 million collaborative crash avoidance research program.