Briaud Elected President of FedIGS
Jean-Louis Briaud, the Buchanan Chair of the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University and manager of TTI’s Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Program, has been elected president of the Federation of International Geo-engineering Societies (FedIGS). The four-year term lasts through 2018. FedIGS was formed 10 years ago in an effort to enhance the cooperation among four separate international geoengineering societies. Briaud says he will work closely with the leaders of each society to coordinate the efforts of each group. Briaud becomes the third president of FedIGS, which represents 45,000 members worldwide.
Qu and Students Win National AICP Award
TTI Associate Research Engineer Teresa Qu and the students in her class in the Texas A&M Landscape and Urban Planning Department were recognized during the American Planning Association National Conference in Atlanta, Ga., April 26–30, 2014.
The 2012 graduate class in Transportation System Analysis conducted a study of a bike-sharing program for the Texas A&M University campus. The report won a Student Project Award sponsored by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). This is the first time Texas A&M has won the award in AICP’s annual nationwide contest, which recognizes outstanding class projects in planning programs.
As part of the class project, the students worked with Texas A&M Transportation Services to determine the level of interest in a bike-sharing program, estimate how many bikes would be needed and recommend locations for the various bike-share stations. With the help of information from the students’ analysis, a bike-sharing program began on campus last year.
Carpool Ridesharing App Project Underway
TTI, with support from the Federal Highway Administration’s Value Pricing Pilot Program, recently began a multi-year study to test the use of real-time ridesharing technology to verify the occupancy of a vehicle and evaluate the effects of toll discounts. The project is being conducted jointly with the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) and Carma, a real-time ridesharing vendor.
“Real-time ridesharing differs from old-style carpooling in that it allows people to find rideshare matches for carpools any time they want,” says TTI Associate Transportation Researcher Greg Griffin. “It also helps people arrange trips that are outside their regular commute schedule.”
According to Griffin, the technology works by users accessing a smartphone app to match drivers and potential riders. So far, nearly 700 Austin-area residents have downloaded Carma, which is available in the Apple App Store using “Carma Carpooling” as a search term.
Educating College Students on Preventing Impaired Driving
The U in the Driver Seat program and the Texas Department of Transportation teamed up March 28–29 for the inaugural Peer-to-Peer Impaired Driving Prevention Symposium at Texas State University. The event aimed to educate college-aged students about the impaired driving problem and introduce peer-driven efforts for colleges and universities to use in addressing such problems. U in the Driver Seat was created to promote peer-to-peer education on the risks of impaired driving.
Representatives from Concordia University, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Texas State University, The University of Texas-Pan American, The University of Texas at Brownsville, the University of Houston, Huston-Tillotson University and the University of the Incarnate Word attended the event.
The two-day symposium had 12 breakout sessions, including sessions on peer-to-peer strategies, driving-while-intoxicated laws and using social norms and marketing to prevent driving while intoxicated. A second symposium will be held Sept. 11 and 12 at Southern Methodist University.
“The goal for the weekend was to create awareness about the dangers of impaired driving, empower the students with ideas and resources to combat this issue, and have the students take that knowledge back to their campuses,” says TTI Senior Research Engineer Russell Henk, director of the U in the Driver Seat program.
Goodin Appointed to Federal ITS Advisory Committee
Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) Senior Research Engineer Ginger Goodin was recently appointed to the Intelligent Transportation Systems Program Advisory Committee (ITS PAC). Goodin was invited to join the committee by U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
The role of the ITS PAC is to act in an advisory capacity to the secretary of transportation on matters relating to the study, development and implementation of ITS.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to work with an impressive group of individuals from a diverse range of organizations,” said Goodin, who is also the director of TTI’s Transportation Policy Research Center (PRC). “It is an exciting time to be working in the ITS field. The fact that we are doing more work in the technology policy area is one way in which I can contribute to this committee. The PRC supports state and local policy for various types of ITS applications such as those involving vehicle technologies, transportation systems management and data sharing. My hope is that we can positively add to the ITS strategy discussion at the federal level.”
Goodin’s term begins immediately and lasts two years.
Li Accepts Leadership Role in Landscape Architecture Association
Ming-Han Li, TTI associate research engineer and associate professor in Texas A&M’s Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, has been elected vice president of the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA), an international association that advances education, research and outreach. CELA was formed in 1920 and “is composed of virtually all the programs of higher learning in landscape architecture in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.”
Li was named to the position at CELA’s national conference in Baltimore, Md., March 26–29. Li has served in leadership positions for the council since 2007.