Tooley Honored with University of Arkansas College of Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award
Melissa Tooley, TTI director of external initiatives, received a Distinguished Alumni award April 9 at the University of Arkansas College of Engineering Alumni Awards Banquet. The Department of Civil Engineering chose Tooley as its award recipient, one of the highest honors given to College of Engineering alumni.
According to the award documentation, the College of Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award “honors the exceptional professional and personal achievements of University of Arkansas College of Engineering graduates. Recipients have achieved distinction in their fields and have provided outstanding leadership and service to the College of Engineering and to the organizations and communities to which these distinguished alumni belong.”
Tooley serves as the head of the TTI Federal Affairs Division. She is a former vice chairman at large of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association and serves on its board of directors. She has over 30 years of experience with the University Transportation Centers (UTC) program, served as a UTC director at the University of Arkansas and TTI, and is a former national president of the Council of University Transportation Centers. She earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of Arkansas. Tooley worked as an assistant professor of civil engineering at the University of Florida and the University of Arkansas and has been a member of the Arkansas Academy of Civil Engineering since 2006.
TTI Researchers, Staff Members Appointed TRB Committee Chairs
The Transportation Research Board (TRB) recently appointed TTI researchers and staff members as chairs and co-chairs on TRB committees and groups. These newly appointed chairs and co-chairs started their term April 15. Committee chairs may serve two consecutive three-year terms and group chairs a three-year term.
TTI’s recently appointed chairs and co-chairs include:
- Karen Dixon, head of the TTI Traffic Operations and Roadway Safety Division, as co-chair of ACS20, Standing Committee on Safety Performance and Analysis;
- Bill Eisele, head of the TTI Mobility Division, as chair of AT000, Freight Systems Group;
- Melisa Finley, TTI senior research engineer, as chair of ACP55, Standing Committee on Traffic Control Devices;
- Bill Frawley, manager of the TTI Urban Analysis Program, as chair of AEP10, Standing Committee on Transportation Planning Policy and Processes;
- Todd Hansen, TTI associate research scientist, as co-chair of AME50, Standing Committee on Accessible Transportation and Mobility;
- Beverly Kuhn, Regents Fellow and head of the TTI System Reliability Division, as chair of ACP20, Standing Committee on Freeway Operations;
- Jolanda Prozzi, head of the TTI Multimodal Planning and Environment Division, as chair of AT030, Standing Committee on Agriculture and Food Transportation;
- Sushant Sharma, TTI research scientist, as chair of AT015, Standing Committee on Freight Transportation Planning and Logistics;
- Ioannis Tsapakis, TTI research scientist, as chair of ACP70, Standing Committee on Highway Traffic Monitoring; and
- Juan Villa, head of the TTI Mexico City Division, as chair of AT020, Standing Committee on International Trade and Transportation.
TTI Youth Transportation Safety Program Awarded Two-Year Grant from Union Pacific Railroad
Union Pacific Railroad has awarded the TTI Youth Transportation Safety (YTS) Program a two-year grant to continue funding transportation safety initiatives tailored to educating young people. The grant serves as an extension of a three-year partnership between YTS and Union Pacific and will contribute tremendously to the expansion of programs and projects dedicated to saving lives and reducing injuries of America’s youth. Through the Texas A&M Foundation, YTS secured $235,000 in funding.
“We are committed to encouraging safe behaviors and preventing tragedies through education and awareness, particularly through projects focused on railroad crossing, driver, bicycle and pedestrian safety,” notes Richard Zientek, senior director of public affairs at Union Pacific. “Continuing our partnership with TTI’s YTS Program and its many initiatives is an important step toward building and sustaining a safety mindset, especially around transportation, among our nation’s youth.”
The YTS Program seeks to save lives and prevent injury among youth through education, empowerment and peer-led outreach. In addition to expanding current activities to reduce the number of transportation-related fatalities among youth, the grant will continue to develop the rail safety component of the YTS Program intended to address issues of driving and walking safely near railroad tracks.
“We are very excited about our continued partnership with Union Pacific,” says Russell Henk, TTI senior research engineer. “Year after year, young drivers continue to experience the highest rate of transportation-related injuries and fatalities on our roadways. The support and partnership with Union Pacific will help us continue to develop and deliver the nation’s most comprehensive suite of transportation safety programs and projects addressing young driver and passenger safety.”
TTI’s Kong Receives Distinguished Graduate Student Award
TTI Graduate Research Assistant Xiaoqiang “Jack” Kong was recently presented a 2022 Association of Former Students Distinguished Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Research — Doctoral by Texas A&M University’s Graduate and Professional School at an awards ceremony April 25 in the Rudder Forum. One of Texas A&M’s highest honors, the award recognizes Kong’s outstanding academic record and significant contributions in research, which rounded out a strong candidate application.
“I’m very humbled and honored to receive this prestigious award from the graduate school,” says Kong. “To be recognized as a distinguished graduate student at a university where there are so many exceptional and talented graduate students in different departments makes it truly special.”
Kong currently works in TTI’s Mobility Division and is a Ph.D. student in Texas A&M’s Zachry Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Since joining TTI in 2015, Kong has been a key contributor to the processing efforts for producing mobility analysis reports, including the Urban Mobility Report and the Texas 100 Most Congested Roadways List. In addition to his work in TTI’s Mobility Division, Kong has published 21 peer-reviewed papers in various academic journals.
Bill Eisele, TTI senior research engineer and head of TTI’s Mobility Division, notes, “Throughout his time at TTI, I have been amazed with what Jack has been able to accomplish over such a short period of time. In particular, Jack’s dedication to big data analytics has greatly contributed not only to the Mobility Division at TTI, but to the entire transportation industry. I can’t think of a graduate student more deserving of this honor than Jack.”