Brydia Receives Partner of Excellence Award from Texas A&M
Texas A&M University’s Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISEN) has recognized TTI Senior Research Scientist Bob Brydia for his ongoing collaboration with the department. Brydia was presented the Partner of Excellence Award April 13 and appointed an ISEN adjunct professor of practice.
“Over the last 18 months, Bob has worked closely with our students on 30 different projects he brought us as part of his leadership role with the Campus Transportation Technology Initiative,” said Jose Vazquez, director of the ISEN Student Resource Center. “His one-on-one interactions with the students and his interest in furthering their education with hands-on research has truly been appreciated.”
The team projects become part of the students’ capstone design course, a two-semester-long course designed to “equip future engineers with important design, communication and presentation experience.”
“Seeing the ingenuity and enthusiasm the students bring to the projects has been invigorating and rewarding,” Brydia says.
TTI’s Metsker-Galarza Receives Student of the Year Award
TTI Assistant Transportation Researcher Madison Metsker-Galarza of the Mobility Analysis Program received the David L. Pugh Outstanding Master of Urban Planning Student Award at the annual Texas A&M University College of Architecture’s Landscape and Urban Planning Awards Banquet April 6. She received her degree in environmental geoscience from Texas A&M and will graduate in December with a master’s degree in urban planning.
Named for David Pugh, former head of Texas A&M’s Department of Urban Planning and coordinator of the University’s Master of Urban Planning (MUP) Program, the award is given to “a graduating MUP student who exemplifies exceptional service and academic excellence.”
“Any recognition I receive is due to the mentors and the opportunities I’ve had during my time at TTI and Texas A&M,” Metsker-Galarza said.
TTI Signs Agreement with Smart City Institute in Belgium
On March 9, TTI signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Smart City Institute (SCI) of the University of Liège in Liège, Wallonia, Belgium. The MOU promotes collaboration on smart city issues among researchers at both institutes.
“We are pleased to be working with our partners at the Smart City Institute,” notes TTI Executive Associate Director Katie Turnbull. “There are numerous opportunities to collaborate on research projects and conference presentations, as well as through exchanges involving students, researchers, faculty and community members.”
The MOU signing ceremony took place at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, on March 11, with TTI Senior Research Engineer Beverly Kuhn participating in a panel discussion organized and moderated by SCI Director Nathalie Crutzen. A second collaboration occurred May 18 when Executive Associate Director Katie Turnbull was featured as one of the keynote speakers for SCI’s Smart Inspiration Day.
TTI’s Ling and Lytton Awarded Best Paper by International Association
A National Cooperative Highway Research Program project describing a new mechanical-based method for testing aged asphalt led to international recognition for two TTI employees: Postdoctoral Researcher Meng Ling and TTI Research Engineer Robert Lytton.
“An Inverse Approach to Determine Complex Modulus Gradient of Field-Aged Asphalt Mixtures” was named a 2017 Best Paper by the peer-reviewed journal Materials and Structures, a publication of The International Union of Laboratories and Experts in Construction Materials, Systems and Structures (RILEM). The journal’s board of editors chose the paper as one of 10 selected for recognition.
“Because of this work, for the first time, it is now possible to predict how solar radiation bakes an asphalt mixture in the field, making it more brittle and causing it to crack more readily,” Ling notes.
“That kind of cracking is the major cause of the high deterioration rates of transportation infrastructure,” Lytton adds. “It’s a rare honor to be selected by RILEM as one of the best papers that it published in 2017.”
RILEM was founded in 1947 in Paris, France, and is made up of about 1,400 member institutions from 67 countries. The association was formed “to promote scientific cooperation and to stimulate new directions for research and applications, thus promoting excellence in construction worldwide.”
TTI Partners with Mays Business School for Transportation Entrepreneurial Venture
TTI and the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship at the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University are combining forces in a new partnership announced May 9. The joint venture, called the Innovation Hub @ TTI, is the first of its kind for both TTI and Mays, since it marries the McFerrin Center’s entrepreneurial-focused educational and experiential opportunities with TTI’s deep transportation research expertise.
“We have the unique opportunity to help advance the discussion, create new knowledge, and bridge some of the gaps between the public and private sectors,”
TTI Agency Director Greg Winfree noted in announcing the partnership. The Innovation Hub @ TTI will function as a catalyst for interdisciplinary research and innovation in emerging transportation solutions and will involve TTI researchers, Texas A&M students, private-sector partners and the broader transportation community.
“TTI’s researchers are a shining example of transportation thought leaders,” said Blake Petty, McFerrin Center director. “We see the partnership as a prototype for problem-solving innovation and entrepreneurship training across the A&M System.”
Leading the initiative for TTI, Senior Research Fellow Ginger Goodin says the partnership represents a paradigm shift in how the Institute formulates solutions to transportation problems. “The McFerrin Center offers TTI expertise in facilitating industrial partnerships and identifying marketplace needs to help us grow our private-sector relationships,” she notes.
WTS Scholarship Awarded to TTI’s Munira
This spring, TTI Graduate Research Assistant Silvy Munira received a $7,000 scholarship from the Houston Chapter of the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS). The Helene M. Overly scholarship, a competitive award for women pursuing graduate studies in transportation, was awarded at the WTS Gala in Houston.
WTS is an international organization dedicated to the professional advancement of women in transportation. Munira is a Ph.D. student and has worked on multiple TTI research projects, including studies funded by the Institute’s Safety through Disruption University Transportation Center.
Winfree Urges Advances in Connected Vehicles at Bloomberg Symposium
Predicting “a bit of the Wild West out there” as automated vehicles begin to share the road with human-driven vehicles, TTI Agency Director Greg Winfree was the opening speaker of a Bloomberg Government symposium on transportation technologies held in Washington, D.C., May 16. Part of Bloomberg Government’s Next. series, the gathering examined how infrastructure relates to future transportation technologies.
“There is going to be what I’ve been calling a mosh pit for the next 20 to 30 years,” Winfree told the group. “There is conflict at the outset with all this new technology. It’s simple human behavior versus digitized behavior, and how is that going to correspond? That’s why there is a need for these vehicles to have the ability of situational awareness of other vehicles in the vicinity.”
The symposium included speakers and panel participants from the U.S. Senate, U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Communications Commission, American Automobile Association and Uber.
TTI’s Talebpour, Texas A&M Student Team Place Second in AutoDrive Competition
Texas A&M University College of Engineering students recently placed second in the AutoDrive challenge sponsored by General Motors and the Society for Automotive Engineers, held in Yuma, Ariz. The competition ran from April 30 to May 5 and involved 40 Texas A&M engineering students led by TTI Assistant Research Scientist Alireza Talebpour, assistant professor of civil engineering at Texas A&M.
“I’m incredibly proud of my students,” says Talebpour. “[They spent] day and night working on this car, and the team’s success is a testament to their amazing work ethic.”
Eight U.S. university teams competed in the challenge. Students are tasked to develop and exhibit the capabilities of an autonomous vehicle in multiple driving scenarios. On the obstacle avoidance course, Texas A&M’s team achieved the fastest performance time while successfully detecting and avoiding obstacles.
“We couldn’t be more proud of these Aggie innovators and hope to see some of them in transportation research careers in the future,” says Christopher Poe, TTI’s assistant director for connected and automated transportation strategy.