TTI Travels to Africa for Transportation Improvement Expedition
TTI Agency Director Greg Winfree, Assistant Director Joe Zietsman and Associate Research Engineer Tara Ramani met with Namibia’s Roads Authority in October to outline future work the Institute will conduct for Namibia and hold a workshop with the Roads Authority’s senior leadership. TTI also met with senior leadership of the U.S. Embassy in Namibia, who are enthusiastic about promoting and facilitating the Namibia/TTI relationship. The visit is a follow-up on a Road Transport Sustainability Plan TTI developed for the country five years ago.
Though Namibia’s roads are considered the best on the African continent, the country has numerous transportation-related issues it wishes to address. For example, Namibia’s traffic fatality rate is among the highest in the world — partly the result of speeding and wildlife crashes. Beyond traffic safety, the country wants to do everything possible to preserve its pristine environment.
“We have a great opportunity to help Namibia solve some of its unique transportation problems,” Winfree says. “I think it could lead to similar relationships with other African countries.”
Port Community of Veracruz Launches Blockchain Initiative to Improve Operations
TTI researchers are teaming with dexFreight, a Florida-based blockchain and logistics startup, to test an innovative application of blockchain technology at the Port Community of Veracruz, Mexico. The project will help define blockchain applications for improving the safety and security of freight transportation within port communities. The project will be led by Rajat Rajbhandari, CEO and co-founder of dexFreight, and Juan Carlos Villa, TTI senior research engineer.
“The project and the Port Community system are critical in improving trade efficiency at the port and being competitive,” explains Baruc de la Fuente, administrator for Veracruz Customs. “The aim … is to reduce the time and effort it takes to securely export and import containers through the port and provide much better service to the customers.”
Stockton Promoted to TTI Agency Deputy Director
On Nov. 14, 2018, TTI Agency Director Greg Winfree promoted TTI Executive Associate Agency Director and Senior Research Fellow William R. Stockton to agency deputy director. With more than three decades of service to TTI in various leadership positions, and more than 44 years in public service, Stockton has held virtually every engineering research position in the Institute and served in multiple executive management roles. As part of his new duties, Stockton will also serve as TTI’s chief operating officer, supporting the agency’s mission by assisting in planning, coordinating, and evaluating administrative and programmatic operations and leading or supporting other initiatives as needed.
“I am humbled in the confidence Greg has shown in me and pledge to wholly commit to working with my valued colleagues throughout the Institute to ensure that TTI remains an international leader in transportation research,” Stockton says.
Self-Driving Vehicles Begin Operating in Downtown Bryan, Texas
On Oct. 31, 2018, Mayor Andrew Nelson of Bryan, Texas, and Chancellor John Sharp of The Texas A&M University System introduced members of the media to two self-driving trolleys in downtown Bryan. The six-person vehicles were developed by Srikanth Saripalli, TTI associate research scientist and associate professor in Texas A&M’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. Saripalli and his students monitored the vehicles’ initial deployment.
“TTI is the best transportation research organization in the world,” Sharp told the crowd. “Greg Winfree [TTI agency director] and his folks are always on the cutting edge of things.” Mayor Nelson, Chancellor Sharp, Director Winfree and Dean of Texas A&M’s College of Engineering M. Katherine Banks rode the trolleys for the unveiling.
TTI Hosts FHWA’s Sustainable Pavements Technical Working Group
Hosted by TTI, the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA’s) Sustainable Pavements Technical Working Group met at The Texas A&M University System’s Center for Infrastructure Renewal, located at the A&M System’s RELLIS Campus, Oct. 30–31. The group’s stated purpose is to “provide technical input to the FHWA on sustainability and environmental aspects of pavements and materials and to serve as a forum for information sharing and exchange.”
“Refurbishing the nation’s existing infrastructure cost-effectively and building new facilities to meet future mobility demands in a smarter, more sustainable and environmentally friendly way are essential to the healthy evolution of our transportation system,” states TTI Executive Associate Director Jon Epps, head of TTI’s Pavement, Materials and Constructed Facilities Group. “Opening up communication among the academic, private and public sectors can help make that happen.”
Tooley Receives Prestigious ARTBA Lifetime Achievement Award
Melissa Tooley, TTI senior research engineer and director of external initiatives, received the Ethel S. Birchland Award Oct. 1 in New York City at the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) national convention. Named after ARTBA’s executive director in the mid-1920s, the award recognizes women who have “demonstrated outstanding leadership and long-term service in the transportation design and construction industry’s public or private sectors. Particular focus is given to the individual’s dedication to the advancement of innovation and other women leaders.”
Tooley, who supports, mentors, and advances women leaders in the transportation industry, has created numerous successful and beneficial transportation education and research programs and initiatives, at both the state and national level, in her more than 30-year career.
“I am humbled by this award — there is no greater honor than recognition by one’s peers,” Tooley says. “The ARTBA Women Leaders Council spotlights women’s achievements in transportation, and I am thankful that ARTBA is so supportive of women in transportation construction, design and research.”