TTI, Texas A&M International University Formalize Partnership
TTI Agency Director Greg Winfree and Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) President Pablo Arenaz recently signed a five-year memorandum of agreement (MOA) to facilitate cooperation between their respective institutions, particularly involving border logistical data.
“The agreement comes after the local trade community in Laredo tasked [TAMIU’s Texas Center for Border Economic and Enterprise Development (TCBEED)] with providing timely access to current data and analysis to aid in their logistics planning,” says Daniel Covarrubias, TCBEED director. “TTI’s expertise in gathering data and project development paired with TCBEED’s data analysis and visualizations will help produce timely and accurate data representations for local stakeholders in the private and public sectors.”
The agreement outlines multiple activities, including collaborative exchange for research and data analysis; joint educational programs and community-related projects; and joint sponsorship of conferences, symposia, etc., for information exchange. After signing the MOA, Covarrubias and TTI Research Scientist and Regional Manager for Latin America Juan Villa met with the local trade community to announce the partnership.
“By having a local partner at the border, [TTI] can be closer to key stakeholders from both the public and private sectors,” says Villa. “Their input is critical to our research, providing useful insights that ultimately facilitate international trade.” Villa notes that border research is even more important as supply chain shortages continue to be a problem: “TTI and TAMIU are already working on the development of a cross-border information dashboard that will provide useful information to cross-border transportation stakeholders.”
TTI Authors TCRP Guidance for Transit Agencies Using Social Media
To help codify best practices for transit agencies using social media, TTI researchers authored TCRP [Transit Cooperative Research Program] Synthesis 156: Uses of Social Media in Public Transportation: A Synthesis of Transit Practice for the Transportation Research Board (TRB).
“This report will be useful to transit professionals on marketing, social media and communication teams,” notes Mariela Garcia-Colberg, TRB staff member on the project and Cooperative Research Program senior program manager. “Excellent work by the TTI team.”
Winfree Appointed to National GPS Advisory Board
TTI Agency Director Greg Winfree was recently appointed by the administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to serve a two-year term on the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) Advisory Board.
Comprised of 29 members representing U.S. industry, academia and international organizations, the board meets semi-annually to provide advice on U.S. space-based PNT policy, planning, program management and funding profiles to a national executive committee that coordinates GPS-related matters across multiple federal agencies. The multi-use services provided by GPS are integral to U.S. national security, economic growth, transportation safety and homeland security.
“After providing more than a decade of leadership in this arena, I am thrilled to be appointed to this board,” Winfree says. “GPS capabilities are interwoven into all aspects of our economy and will enable transportation innovations such as self-driving vehicles. The responsibility to establish recommendations to sustain, modernize and protect this critical national asset is a matter of paramount importance.”
Turner Named 2020–2021 Regents Fellow
The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents named TTI Senior Research Engineer Shawn Turner a 2020–2021 recipient of the Regents Fellow Service Award for his nationally recognized expertise in mobility analysis, multimodal travel data collection and analysis, and performance measures and monitoring.
The Regents Fellow Service Awards program began in 1998 “to recognize employees who have made extraordinary contributions to their university, or agency, as well as to the people of Texas.”
Turner joined TTI in 1991 and has served as principal investigator on numerous research projects, including helping develop how Big Data is used to improve our transportation system’s efficiency, safety and reliability.
“I’m humbled and honored to receive this prestigious Regents Fellow Award,” says Turner. “My TTI and Texas A&M colleagues (researchers and support staff) have mentored, encouraged and helped me along the way… I can honestly say I would not be where I am today without them.”
TTI Agency Director Greg Winfree notes, “Throughout his career, Shawn has advanced the role of walking and bicycling as eco-friendly transportation modes. In particular, he has sought to improve the safety of walking and bicycling on streets and highways. His contributions have, quite literally, saved lives.”
Hueste Receives Prestigious Joe W. Kelly Award
The American Concrete Institute (ACI) recently bestowed its prestigious Joe W. Kelly Award on TTI Research Engineer Mary Beth Hueste. In addition to her role as head of TTI’s Major Structures Division, Hueste is a professor and associate department head for undergraduate programs in Texas A&M University’s Zachry Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Established in 1974, the award recognizes professionals who contribute to the concrete industry through innovation and education as Joe W. Kelly, past ACI president, did before them. ACI recognized Hueste’s contributions to the concrete industry through her research — which includes developing earthquake-resistant reinforced concrete structures, conducting performance-based seismic testing, and designing prestressed concrete bridge structures — as well as her work educating the next generation of engineers and her professional volunteerism to help advance her discipline.
“To be recognized with the Joe W. Kelly Award means a lot to me. ACI has supported my professional development for over 20 years and has allowed me to develop a wonderful professional network of colleagues from around the world,” Hueste says. “I am truly honored to be recognized by ACI with this award.”
TTI Encourages Young Women to Explore Transportation Careers
TTI conducted career exploration sessions Nov. 11 for 28 students in the San Antonio Independent School District’s Young Women’s Leadership Academy. Volunteers from Pape-Dawson Engineers and consultants from the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) International Transportation YOU Program organized the sessions.
WTS International is a professional, global society committed to connecting, supporting and advancing women in transportation. The Transportation YOU Program provides mentoring opportunities for girls ages 13–18, introducing them to various transportation careers and offering a forum for asking questions and getting advice. Local WTS chapters volunteer with Transportation YOU to inspire girls to consider transportation careers and pursue related coursework.
“Encouraging young women to consider careers in transportation is one of the goals of the workforce development mission of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s University Transportation Centers [UTC] program,” says Sue Chrysler, TTI senior research scientist and director of the Institute’s Safety through Disruption UTC. “This group was particularly motivated, interested and a joy to work with.”