Carlson Receives Eldon J. Yoder Memorial Award
TTI Senior Research Engineer Paul Carlson was recently awarded the Transportation Research Board Eldon J. Yoder Memorial Award. The award was presented during the 11th International Conference on Low-Volume Roads in Pittsburgh, Penn., held July 12–15. Carlson won the award for the research paper “Can Traffic Signs Be Too Bright on Low-Volume Roads?” The research investigated a concern that signs along rural highways can be so bright that they cause reduced legibility and/or glare to the point of being a safety concern.
The Eldon J. Yoder Memorial Award was established in 1987 to recognize the most outstanding paper on a topic related to low-volume roads. It is presented every four years to an author or authors whose paper appears in the Proceedings of the International Conference on Low-Volume Roads.
TTI Employees Recognized for Patents
A fifth U.S. patent has been granted related to TTI’s Freight Shuttle System, a low-cost and low-emission alternative to moving freight. The patent for a Guideway Switching Mechanism was granted for a new design switch to be used in the Freight Shuttle, which is currently in the prototype stage, according to TTI Assistant Agency Director Steve Roop, who invented the mechanism. TTI’s newest patents were recognized at The Texas A&M University System Technology Commercialization Patent and Innovation Awards Luncheon May 8.
TTI’s John Mander and co-inventor Stefan Hurlebaus were recognized for their Traffic Signal Supporting Structures and Methods device, designed to increase the lifespan of traffic signals, which are susceptible to stress fractures caused by wind. The device stabilizes traffic signals and can be part of a new system or retrofitted for existing signals. The Institute’s Gene Buth, Akram Abu-Odeh, Dean Alberson, Roger Bligh and Lance Bullard were honored for their Tension Guardrail Terminal. This all-steel tangent end terminal, the SoftStop®, is for use with W-beam guardrail systems and is MASH Test Level 3 compliant as a redirective, gating end terminal. Others recognized for their inventions included Alan Palazzolo and Randall Tucker (Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station Mechanical Engineering) for their TTI invention, Shaft-less Energy Storage Flywheel.
Stevens Honored with National Young Engineer of the Year Award
TTI Research Engineer Charles Stevens has been named the 2015 Young Engineer of the Year by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE). Stevens accepted the award in Seattle, Wash., on July 17. According to NSPE, “the Young Engineer of the Year Award recognizes young members who have made outstanding contributions to the engineering profession and their communities during the early years of their careers.”
Stevens received civil engineering degrees from Texas A&M University and began his career as a student worker at TTI. After seven years in private practice as a consultant, Stevens returned to TTI in March 2014.
“I was excited to win the award at the state level but am still in a state of disbelief to have received the national honor,” Stevens said. “It is an honor to know that your application went up against those of the best young engineers across the country and you came out on top.”
TTI Field Trip Introduces Students to Engineering Careers
On May 8, about 40 sixth graders from College Station’s Oakwood Intermediate School were introduced to the world of transportation engineering at TTI as part of the College Station Independent School District’s Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program. AVID prepares children who may not be thinking about higher education for college, introducing them to professions they probably know little about. The program recruits kids who are “in the middle” academically and have shown an ability to succeed.
Six TTI transportation engineers presented the students with information about various parts of their programs, including crash testing, distracted driving, traffic control devices, bicycle safety and the environmental aspects of transportation.
“I want to show the students that engineering can be fun and can apply to everyday life,” says TTI Research Engineer Melisa Finley, who’s organized AVID field trips to TTI since 2010. “You can’t develop a passion for something unless you know something about it.”
Traffic Safety Conference Examines New Ways to Save Lives
The 2015 Traffic Safety Conference — sponsored by TTI and the Texas Department of Transportation June 8–10 in Corpus Christi — brought together experts, stakeholders and transportation professionals for the seventh year in a row to highlight the need for increased awareness regarding transportation safety.
This year’s conference included 55 speakers from 20 organizations, and breakout sessions addressed numerous issues, including technology and its role in transportation safety, driver behaviors, truck and motorcycle safety, impaired driving, protection for vulnerable users (e.g., older drivers, pedestrians and children), and current efforts to link crash and trauma data to improve safety.
“This is where great minds with a passion for safety come to share ideas and experiences, all for the goal of making Texans safer,” said TTI Executive Associate Director Bill Stockton as he welcomed attendees to the conference. Stockton moderated the opening session and said the range of subjects at this year’s conference was broader than ever because the expertise and disciplines of the participants were broader than ever.
“Our goal should be to leave here with fresh ideas and be better able to accomplish our individual missions,” Stockton told participants.
Henk Receives NSC’s 2015 Teen Driving Safety Leadership Award
The National Safety Council (NSC) recently awarded Russell Henk, program manager for TTI’s Youth Transportation Safety Program, the organization’s 2015 Teen Driving Safety Leadership Award. Henk won the award for his “long-term commitment to reducing teen crashes through developing, nurturing and growing” Teens in the Driver Seat® (TDS), the TTI program Henk founded more than a decade ago. Each year, NSC bestows awards on individuals and organizations that have proven they’re making a real difference in improving driving habits among teens.
“We know those efforts save lives and prevent injuries on our nation’s roadways,” says Kelly Nantel, vice president of communications and advocacy for NSC. “The research component of TDS — that is, being able to measure its effectiveness with teens over time — was vitally important to Mr. Henk’s receiving this award. That kind of measurement is imperative in our ongoing efforts to curb teen driver crashes and save lives.”
“Receiving this award is both humbling and thrilling,” says Henk. “It’s a great tribute that I must share with the entire TDS team, with whom I am so blessed to work. Validation of our collective accomplishments by such a well-respected organization on a national stage is pretty incredible, but knowing we’ve saved lives is the most rewarding aspect of all.”