Dixon Awarded 2021 ITE Safety Council Ricker Award
TTI Senior Research Engineer Karen Dixon is the 2021 recipient of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Safety Council Edmund R. Ricker Individual Award. Named for Edmund R. Ricker, president of ITE in 1967 and author of numerous traffic safety books and research papers, the award recognizes traffic safety leaders through their involvement in professional organizations, the community and traffic engineering performance.
Nationally recognized as a roadway safety expert, Dixon is well known for her uncanny ability to turn high-level statistical techniques into easy-to-use, practitioner-friendly methodologies and tools. After finishing her B.S. in civil engineering at Texas A&M University, she worked as a site development, roadway and interchange designer. Inspired by her interactions with young professionals through mentoring, Dixon completed advanced degrees at North Carolina State University and became a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Oregon State University, until she returned to Texas A&M and joined TTI in 2012. Dixon oversees TTI’s Traffic Operations and Roadway Safety Division, where her research emphasizes ways to improve facility design, operation and safety for all road users.
“I’m very honored to be awarded the ITE Safety Council Edmund R. Ricker Individual Award,” says Dixon. “Traffic safety is a team effort! Ongoing work that focuses on safety for all road users could not be achieved without the input and guidance from many transportation professionals including my TTI colleagues, the many volunteers I have the privilege to work with from ITE and TRB [Transportation Research Board], and transportation professionals who act as guardians of our transportation network daily. Thank you, ITE!”
Xu Commercializes Electric Vehicle Charging Demand Software
TTI Research Scientist Yanzhi “Ann” Xu is the co-founder of ElectroTempo, Inc., a start-up company for electric vehicle charging demand software technology. The company was incorporated Nov. 19, 2020, and The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents granted approval for Xu, as a TTI employee, to be an officer and member of the board of directors.
“Vehicle electrification means jobs, economic opportunities and cleaner air. An affordable and scalable software solution in the market is key to accelerating this trend,” says Xu. “The solution’s massive economic and societal impact is what motivated us to start a company to commercialize our technology.”
The technology’s co-inventors include TTI Research Scientist Alexander Meitiv and TTI Assistant Agency Director Joe Zietsman. The technology, ElectroTempo Charging Demand Simulator, uses a software algorithm to predict light-duty electric vehicle charging demand (at street block and regional levels) by testing electric vehicle charging strategies using a variety of market, price, technological and seasonal factors. Staff working in electric utilities, departments of transportation and communities can use the technology to plan their light-duty electric vehicle charging infrastructure in an efficient, equitable and cost-effective way. EVolve Houston, a nonprofit focusing on electric vehicles, currently uses it to plan Houston’s Regional Infrastructure Strategy for Electrification.
“USDOT [U.S. Department of Transportation] has a very strong emphasis on technology transfer. At CARTEEH [Center for Advancing Research in Transportation Emissions, Energy, and Health], we saw the need for developing implementable research products,” notes Zietsman. “This technology licensed to ElectroTempo, Inc., is a perfect example of how research can be made available to a broad range of stakeholders.”
Fulton Joins Texas Transportation Hall of Honor
David S. Fulton, a nationally recognized leader in the aviation industry and the first director of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Aviation Division, was inducted into the Texas Transportation Hall of Honor at the Texas Aviation Conference awards banquet in San Marcos, Texas, on Aug. 5.
TTI Agency Director Greg Winfree hosted the ceremony, honoring Fulton’s life’s work in improving general aviation airports. Fulton has helped ensure that the Texas General Aviation Airport System is safe, economically sound and in good condition for the flying public.
“David has blazed a trail in aviation in Texas and beyond,” said Kari Campbell, director of grants management at the TxDOT Aviation Division. “His common sense, people skills, eternal optimism and moral compass allowed him to build lasting relationships with his staff and provide outstanding customer service.”
At TxDOT, Fulton led the rebuilding of airports across Texas, providing $1.4 billion in federal and state grant funds for more than 250 locally owned airports and helping transform the Texas General Aviation Airport System into one of the best in the nation. In that effort, he launched innovative matching grant programs to build airport terminal buildings and incentivize communities to fund routine airport maintenance.
In accepting the honor, Fulton credited “the outstanding men and women of the TxDOT Aviation Division who were committed to the goal of rebuilding the Texas airport system.” Fulton is the 46th member of the Hall of Honor, which was established in 2000 by TTI to recognize select individuals who played pivotal roles in the advancement of transportation in Texas and the nation.
TTI Joins Southern Regional Climate Center
TTI is now supporting the Southern Regional Climate Center (SRCC), which conducts research into how extreme weather affects transportation. “We couldn’t be more pleased to partner with Nielsen-Gammon, Trabus Technologies and the Department of Atmospheric Sciences to establish SRCC at Texas A&M,” says TTI Senior Research Engineer Jim Cline, SRCC project manager for the Institute. “TTI’s expertise will contribute greatly to meeting the long-term goals of the southern region.”
Headed up by Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon, regents professor in Texas A&M’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences, SRCC provides vital regional climate data products and services; houses climate information in a complex, computer-based infrastructure; and integrates smoothly between regional and national climate data sources.
“The extreme weather our country has experienced during the past 15 years or so makes this center a significant addition to Texas A&M and TTI’s research and education portfolio,” says TTI Agency Director Greg Winfree. “Improving the sustainability and resiliency of the transportation system is always top of mind for us, and we’re proud to offer transportation expertise for the center.”