Ullman Receives Regents Fellow Designation
The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents bestowed its prestigious Regents Fellow Service Award on Gerald Ullman, TTI senior research engineer and manager of the Work Zone and Dynamic Message Sign Program. Presented Jan. 30, 2013, the award recognizes employees who have made exemplary contributions to their university or agency and the people of Texas.
“I’ve been fortunate to be able to work with many outstanding colleagues over my career, and feel this award is a reflection and recognition of all their efforts and support as much as anything I have done,” said Ullman. “I am very grateful to TTI and to the A&M System for the many opportunities I have been afforded.”
Ullman, a nationally recognized expert in work zone mobility and safety research, is the ninth TTI employee to receive the Regents Fellow Service Award.
Ross Perot, Jr., Inducted into Texas Transportation Hall of Honor
Ross Perot, Jr. — chairman of both Hillwood, one of the nation’s top real estate developers, and the Perot Group, an investment management firm — has been inducted into the Texas Transportation Hall of Honor. The induction took place Dec. 20, 2012.
Among his many accomplishments, Perot has led the creation of the 17,000-acre, master-planned AllianceTexas development, which includes Fort Worth Alliance Airport, the world’s first industrial airport, and the Alliance Global Logistics Hub, known as the “grandfather of inland ports.”
“Through the innovative transportation infrastructure developed at AllianceTexas and other high-profile developments, Mr. Perot is significantly increasing economic development in our state,” said TTI Agency Director Dennis Christiansen at the ceremony.
Since 1990, AllianceTexas, a public-private partnership, has had an economic impact of $43.74 billion, attracted more than 300 companies, and created more than 31,000 jobs. The development, which was recently recognized as one of the country’s fastest growing communities, is less than 50 percent complete.
“For thousands of years, transportation has been making and breaking communities, states and nations, even civilizations,” Perot said in accepting the honor. “Only by working together with our many partners, both in government and the private sector, have we been able to create and implement this vision.”
Perot becomes the 38th member of the Hall of Honor, which was established in 2000 by TTI to recognize select individuals who have played pivotal roles in the advancement of transportation in Texas and the nation.
Texas A&M, Blinn Students Key in Planning Future B-CS Travel
Students from Texas A&M University and Blinn College are helping planners decide future mobility needs in Bryan-College Station by taking part in a voluntary, anonymous travel survey conducted by the Texas Department of Transportation with help from TTI.
“Obviously students account for a considerable amount of traffic in the Bryan-College Station community,” says Ed Hard, manager of TTI’s Transportation Planning Program. “Knowing how much they travel, which routes they take and where they go will help planners as they develop a travel-demand model that forecasts future mobility needs.”
This project solicits information from students via a website to determine their travel habits, a new approach to surveying this population. The student survey is part of a larger household travel survey, which has not been conducted in the Bryan-College Station area since 1970. TTI researchers will analyze the survey data, which will then become part of a travel-demand model used by the local metropolitan planning organization to forecast future traffic levels and transportation improvement needs.
“Because our area has grown so much over the last few decades, it’s become even more important that we have reliable information about travel patterns as decision makers plan for the future,” Hard says.
USAA, TTI Begin Extensive Distracted Driving Study
The United Services Automobile Association (USAA) has contracted with TTI to conduct an extensive study on the use of cell phones by Texas drivers and distracted driving in general. The effort is the first involving TTI and USAA.
The study will include a survey of roughly 3,000 people around the state. The sample size will allow researchers to examine which demographic groups are most affected by the distracted-driving issue and what their attitudes and self-reported behaviors are.
“Focus groups will also be conducted to explain in greater detail the thought processes and behavior motivations underlying texting, cell-phone use and other distractions while driving,” TTI Senior Research Scientist Katie Womack, manager of TTI’s Behavioral Research Group, says. “The two approaches combined will lead to recommendations for consideration of the most appropriate intervention and/or education strategies.”
USAA visited TTI in 2012 for a discussion that focused on USAA’s interests in current and emerging roadway safety issues, along with a review of TTI’s capabilities and current research activities.
“We are committed to promoting vehicle and driver safety for the protection of our military members and their families,” says USAA Executive Director Joel Camarano. “USAA is excited to form this relationship with TTI, a leader in roadway safety research for over 60 years.”
TTI Wins Multiple Outstanding Paper Awards at TRB
Several employees received Outstanding Paper Awards at this year’s Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting, held in Washington, D.C., Jan. 13–17.
Stacey Bricka, who co-wrote “Evaluation of Key Design Elements of Long-Distance Survey of Front Range Travel Counts” with Erik Sabina of the Denver Regional Council of Governments, received the Charley V. Wootan Award, named for the man who served as TTI’s director from 1976 to 1993.
The K. B. Woods Award, which this year was given to TTI Associate Research Engineer Nauman Sheikh and co-author and TTI Program Manager Roger Bligh — both of TTI’s Roadside Safety Program — was presented for their paper, “Minimum Rail Height and Design Impact Load for Longitudinal Barriers That Meet Test Level 4 of Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware.” The paper was co-authored by John Holt of Texas Department of Transportation’s Bridge Division.
Adam Pike, assistant research engineer in TTI’s Signs and Markings Program, received a 2012 Young Professional Best Paper Award for a paper he co-authored entitled “Evaluation of ASTM Standard Test Method E2177: Retroreflectivity of Pavement Markings in a Condition of Wetness” from TRB’s Maintenance and Preservation Section.
TRB’s Annual Meeting attracted 11,700 transportation professionals from around the world and covered all transportation modes. TRB officials say 4,800 papers were submitted, from which the seven awards named for pioneers in transportation research are selected.
TTI Student Competes in Energy Innovation Challenge
TTI Graduate Student James Robertson and his two teammates will split a $5,000 educational scholarship for their participation in the second biennial Texas Energy Innovation Challenge hosted by Power Across Texas.
Robertson’s team, which included Rachael Dahl and Lauren Pfeifer of the Bush School of Government and Public Service, suggested a “three-pronged policy strategy that involved loosening regulations, passing legislation and expanding existing initiatives.” The team recommended a photovoltaic battery system that includes a series of solar panels and an optimization technique to meet the subsistence-level needs of colonias residents.
“Texas has a large population of people living in these low-income areas, and they live a far distance from electric grids,” Robertson explains. “The challenge was to find feasible ways to provide them with power.” An estimated 500,000 people in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas live in colonias. Texas has the largest number of these unincorporated settlements.
TTI Welcomes Three New Advisory Council Members
TTI recently welcomed three new members to the TTI Advisory Council, a 40-member group of high-level transportation professionals from across Texas and every sector of the transportation world. The council provides a tremendous service by advising TTI on transportation issues and trends and supporting the Institute’s research programs and initiatives.
“TTI is extremely fortunate to have these distinguished individuals join the Institute’s advisory board,” says TTI Agency Director Dennis Christiansen. “They each have valuable expertise and insight to assist the Institute in solving critical transportation problems to help promote continued economic development and quality of life.”
Senior Vice President
Fort Worth, Texas
Russell Laughlin oversees the management, operation, land and infrastructure planning, and entitlements of AllianceTexas, a 17,000-acre mixed-use, master-planned community. The community encompasses an international trade and logistics complex, 265 corporate residents, 30,000 employees and 7,600 single-family homes. He has been instrumental in the development of AllianceTexas and in leading long-term regional planning initiatives for north Fort Worth and Tarrant County during his 25 years with the company.
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Texas Division
Robert Tally directs a multi-disciplinary staff that administers the Federal-Aid Highway Program throughout Texas to help improve its transportation system. He previously served as division administrator in FHWA’s Indiana Division for eight years, advancing the $2.6 billion Louisville/Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges project and the $1.75 billion I-69 New Terrain project. He has also served as assistant division administrator in the FHWA Texas Division and held FHWA leadership positions in Arizona, California, Michigan, Nevada and South Carolina.
Col. Leonard Waterworth
Port of Houston Authority
Col. Leonard Waterworth manages the Port of Houston’s 25-mile-long complex of diversified public and private facilities made up of the public terminals owned, managed and leased by the Port of Houston Authority, and the 150-plus private industrial companies along the 52-mile-long Houston Ship Channel. He previously served as president/chief executive officer of Dannenbaum Engineering Corporation and as district engineer/commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers District in Galveston, Texas.
For more information, contact Terri Parker at (979) 862-8348 or [email protected].