TTI Researchers Participate in TRB SETT Conference
Several TTI researchers participated in the Transportation Research Board’s (TRB’s) Sustainability and Emerging Transportation Technology (SETT) Conference. TRB hosted the conference May 31–June 2 at the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center in Irvine, Calif.
“TTI was well represented at the TRB SETT Conference,” notes TTI Executive Associate Director Katie Turnbull. “The presentations and discussion were excellent, and it was great to interact with everyone.”
Ipek Sener, TTI research scientist, and Tara Ramani, TTI associate research engineer, were both on the SETT Conference Planning Committee. Sener moderated the breakout session Micromobility for All? and presented the poster Full-Chain Health Impact Assessment of Autonomous Vehicles: A Review of Literature and a Conceptual Framework.
“It was a nice and unique conference!” Sener comments. “We had exciting discussions and presentations, and it was wonderful to finally gather for our first SETT conference and meet several colleagues and friends in person.”
Turnbull moderated the breakout session Travel Behavior and Early Adoption of Automated Technology and the closing plenary session. Alice Grossman, TTI associate research scientist, moderated the panel Electrification — A Path to Decarbonization? and participated in the closing panel, presenting the energy decarbonization breakout track summary.
Grossman says, “The conference did a great job of bringing researchers and practitioners together to discuss how to bring engineering, planning and social science together to inform policy and work toward energy decarbonization goals.”
Camp BUILD Visits TTI to Explore Engineering Careers
TTI hosted two groups of campers June 23 and 30 from Texas A&M University’s Zachry Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering’s Camp BUILD. TTI Senior Research Engineer Melisa Finley and Associate Research Engineer Debbie Albert organized the sessions with support from Texas A&M students and volunteers.
Campers watched a live crash test at the TTI Proving Ground and toured the Institute’s Environmental and Emissions Research Facility, Sediment and Erosion Control Laboratory, and Visibility Research Laboratory. Campers also attended a presentation about TTI’s Teens in the Driver Seat® Program and ended the day creating their own “puff-mobiles” using Lifesaver candies, straws, paper and paper clips.
Camp BUILD is a week-long summer program designed for high school juniors and seniors. Students are given the opportunity to explore the civil and environmental engineering program at Texas A&M and experience Aggie culture.
“I always enjoy watching the excitement and passion in students’ faces when they learn something new about transportation,” says Albert. “I hope that by exposing students to the breadth of work we do at TTI, they feel more inclined to explore opportunities that get them involved in science, technology, engineering and math activities and transportation safety.”
TTI’s participation in Camp BUILD is supported by the Safety through Disruption University Transportation Center, a national center funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the State of Texas.
TTI’s Minjares-Kyle Promoted to Youth Transportation Safety Program Manager
After 35 years of service with TTI — nearly 30 of that in a management position — Russell Henk stepped down as program manager of the Youth Transportation Safety (YTS) Program effective June 30.
“Creating the Teens in the Driver Seat® Program and leading the YTS team for the past 20 years has been very rewarding,” says Henk. “It has been an honor and a privilege to lead such a talented group, and I know the program is in great hands.”
Henk will continue working for TTI on a part-time basis in the Center for Transportation Safety.
Stepping into her new role as program manager of the YTS Program is Lisa Minjares-Kyle. She has worked at TTI for 12 years specializing in young drivers, impaired driving, and safety education and outreach. She is a master-certified health education specialist and received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas A&M University in psychology and health education. Minjares-Kyle was also part of the traffic safety administration program’s second graduating class from Clemson University, where she earned her second master’s degree.
“I’m very excited to lead YTS and continue to work alongside this phenomenal team,” says Minjares-Kyle. “We are continuing to combat one of the leading causes of injury and death for youth — car crashes — through the peer-to-peer programs that are the foundation of YTS. It’s my hope to continue expanding YTS efforts into health prevention, safe systems and traffic safety culture to better achieve our mission and effectively address the continually changing landscape young drivers are facing on our roads.”
TTI Studies Parking Technology for I-80, I-94 Corridors
TTI researchers are teaming up with the University of Wisconsin–Madison and ParkUnload to conduct a truck parking pilot study to better understand how truck drivers use existing parking spaces and to test the benefits of using a mobile parking app. Funding for this study is provided by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) under a cooperative agreement through the agency’s fiscal year 2020 High Priority grant program.
Select truck parking spaces along I-80 and I-94 were painted green, and signs instrumented with truck parking technology (i.e., Bluetooth® devices) were recently installed. These devices communicate with the ParkUnload app when a driver’s phone is in close proximity to the parking zone. Once the app detects the marked zone, the truck driver can park and check in to the parking space on the app to let other drivers see information on remaining spaces. Marked signs also provide drivers with additional information.
“Insufficient truck parking presents a safety hazard for all highway users when drivers park in unauthorized locations, drive when fatigued, or drive past their hours of service to find safe parking,” says Brian Routhier, a transportation specialist with the FMCSA Technology Division. “We’re hoping this study will provide a better understanding of the truck parking needs along these corridors and whether a truck parking app is beneficial to drivers.”
Drivers who travel along the I-80 and I-94 corridors can get started and participate in just three steps:
- download the ParkUnload app;
- park and check in to the parking space in the app; and
- when leaving, check out in the app.
“For the pilot to work, we need drivers to download the app and check in when they park in a designated parking space,” says TTI Senior Research Scientist Jolanda Prozzi, lead researcher on the study. “If we can collect actual, on-the-ground information, then we can better understand, plan for, and prioritize truck parking investments.”
To learn more about the study, please visit parkingpilot.org.