Transportation Planning Fellowship Named for TTI’s Andy Mullins
The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents approved the Andy Mullins Transportation Planning Fellowship, established by colleagues at TTI. A TTI research scientist and the manager of TTI’s Travel Forecasting Program, Mullins passed away unexpectedly Oct. 22, 2020.
His research explored travel demand modeling and transportation planning. Mullins was an outstanding mentor to other researchers as well as students, and this $1,000 fellowship recognizes full- or part-time graduate-student TTI employees pursuing degrees that focus on transportation planning.
TTI Executive Associate Director Katie Turnbull, who organized establishing the fellowship, says, “The Andy Mullins Transportation Planning Fellowship honors Andy and his commitment to educating the next generation of transportation professionals. It is made possible by the generous support of his colleagues throughout the Institute.”
TTI Launches Podcast: Thinking Transportation
TTI recently launched its new podcast, Thinking Transportation: Engaging Conversations about Transportation Innovations. Hosted by TTI Editor-at-Large Bernie Fette, the biweekly podcast examines all aspects of transportation, from the promise of smart cars to new approaches for improving traffic safety to the continuing challenges of traffic congestion.
But beyond the technical topics, Fette notes, the podcast also examines the human context — and sometimes cost — of how we use our transportation system. Thinking Transportation delves into how we get from home to school (and work and play), as well as how the products we purchase travel from the factory to the front porch.
“Transportation is tied to almost everything we do in our lives,” Fette says. “It has a profound impact on our daily existence, so the conversations you’ll hear are about more than technology and trends. Often, by extension, they’re also about how we live.”
“TTI’s researchers are respected worldwide as thought leaders in transportation research through organizations like the Transportation Research Board and the Institute of Transportation Engineers,” TTI Agency Director Greg Winfree says. “Thinking Transportation will give TTI experts a chance to reach a whole new audience and discuss the solutions they’re developing to address the challenges we all face every day — from repairing potholes to shaping policy. If you depend on our transportation network, listen in — you’re bound to learn something new.”
TTI, Neology Inc. Extend Research Partnership to Support Mobility Innovation
TTI and Neology Inc. recently completed the Neology Transportation Research Center, located at the TTI Proving Ground on The Texas A&M University System’s RELLIS Campus, extending their long-term master research agreement for an additional five years. The center will help accelerate the vision for smart cities and safer communities by advancing next-generation technologies in the mobility industry.
The facility is an open, scalable, flexible site for designing, developing and testing new tolling and intelligent transportation system solutions for driverless and connected vehicles. It features a 1-mile test track that supports vehicle speeds up to 100 mph and includes two test gantries to accommodate the deployment of future technologies, as well as a state-of-the-art observation center for demonstrations and test viewing.
“Neology Inc. is a valued private-industry partner for TTI, and we’re pleased to extend our research agreement and collaborative activities in the development and testing of intelligent transportation system technologies,” says TTI Agency Director Greg Winfree.
Zmud Helps Author Policy Brief on Infrastructures and Robomobility
TTI Senior Research Scientist Johanna Zmud helped author the recently published policy brief “Defining the Role of Automated Transportation Infrastructure in Shaping Sociotechnical Systems” in the Think20 (T20) Task Force publication Infrastructure Investment and Financing. T20 is part of an international forum called the Group of Twenty, comprised of regional and international think tanks, that coordinates international cooperation on issues related to finance and economics.
New methods of transportation are needed to address the global challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including issues related to the development of automated vehicles (a form of robomobility). The deployment of robomobility services requires a substantial investment in three main areas of mobility infrastructure: physical, digital and energy. Understanding how these new mobility practices may impact society will help governments and policy makers come to informed decisions on future infrastructure investments.
“The societal effects of robomobility are quite complex,” says Zmud. “Leaders around the world should take robomobility seriously to better understand how a rise in autonomous vehicles can impact everyday factors such as climate change and traffic congestion.”
Briaud Named President of American Society of Civil Engineers
Distinguished Professor Jean-Louis Briaud assumed the role of 2021 president of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Oct. 29, 2020. Founded in 1852, ASCE is the nation’s oldest engineering society and represents more than 150,000 civil engineers worldwide. Briaud manages TTI’s Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Program and holds the Spencer J. Buchanan Chair in Texas A&M’s Zachry Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Briaud has performed research for the National Cooperative Highway Research Program and various state departments of transportation for more than 30 years. Briaud has also been an advisor to the U.S. Congress on several large bridge scour and erosion projects, such as the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, the Katrina Hurricane–New Orleans levee erosion, and the cliffs of Normandy, France, scaled by the Allies on D-Day during World War II.
Briaud’s focus as president of ASCE is on improving communication with members, encouraging collaboration between institutes and their local regions, and enhancing the student transition rate.
“The role of ASCE president is a fantastic honor and responsibility,” says Briaud. “I look forward to working with everybody to build upon the good work that’s been done before me.”
TTI’s Neilon Rowan Passes Away
Dr. Neilon Rowan, traffic operations pioneer, passed away Jan. 8, 2021. A retired TTI research engineer and a professor emeritus with Texas A&M University’s Zachry Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Rowan was also a beloved and respected mentor to many students and researchers.
Rowan led TTI’s Traffic Operations Program in the 1970s and 1980s and was a recognized national expert in the subject. He published many papers and reports on highway design and traffic operations, highway grade-crossing design and operations, roadway lighting design, and highway safety. He was pivotal in the development of breakaway sign supports, now used internationally, and served in several senior-level TTI management positions.
Rowan was also the first TTI research engineer to become the international president of the Institute of Transportation Engineers. His achievements in the transportation field inspired many young transportation professionals who now mentor others and instill that same passion he is best remembered for.
“Dr. Rowan treated us as colleagues from the day we walked in the door as grad students,” says TTI Deputy Director Bill Stockton. “His manner was to lean on the doorframe of the office and just talk, with that unforgettable grin on his face. It is impossible to count how much wisdom he imparted from the doorway.”