Numerous Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) researchers and students were recognized during the Transportation Research Board (TRB) 97th Annual Meeting Jan. 7–11 in Washington, D.C. This year’s gathering of transportation professionals from around the globe included more than 5,000 presentations in nearly 800 sessions and workshops.
Best Paper Awards
The paper “Field Evaluation of Pilot Vehicles and Portable Traffic Control Signals with and Without a Flagger” — based on a Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) project and written by TTI Research Engineers Melisa Finley and LuAnn Theiss — won a 2017 TRB best paper award bestowed by the TRB Work Zone Traffic Control Committee. Based on the study that spawned the paper, the Federal Highway Administration will soon issue an interim approval that removes the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices requirement for a human flagger at work zones that use pilot vehicles and portable traffic signals.
“Evolution of the Surface Performance-Graded Specification for Chip Seal Binders,” co-authored by TTI Research Engineer Amy Epps Martin, Associate Research Engineer Edith Arámbula Mercado and others, received the TRB Design and Construction Group’s 2017 Practice-Ready Paper Award. The award recognizes nearly 20 years of chip seal research by TTI that developed and validated the surface performance-graded specification for chip seal binders now available as a TxDOT Special Provision (SP300-011).
The TRB Air Quality Committee selected “Effectiveness of Idle Reduction Technologies in Reducing Driver Exposure to Diesel Emissions” by TTI Senior Research Engineer Joe Zietsman, Research Specialist Jeremy Johnson, Assistant Research Engineer Tara Ramani and Associate Research Engineer Reza Farzaneh for a best paper award. The paper examines the effectiveness of idle-reduction technologies — auxiliary power units — in reducing truck driver exposure to in-cabin diesel emissions.
Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship
Two TTI researchers, Charles Gurganus and Greg Griffin, received a Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship, which is designed to “attract the brightest minds to the field of transportation, enhance the careers of transportation professionals and to retain top talent in the transportation industry.” Gurganus is an associate research engineer in the Institute’s Pavement and Materials Division and a Ph.D. candidate in Texas A&M University’s Department of Civil Engineering. Griffin is an assistant research scientist in TTI’s Planning and Engagement Program and Ph.D. candidate in community and regional planning at The University of Texas at Austin.
Safe-D University Transportation Center Student of the Year
The Safety through Disruption (Safe-D) University Transportation Center selected Maryam Shirinzad, a Ph.D. candidate at Texas A&M University, as its student of the year. Shirinzad, who works in TTI’s Roadway Safety Program, received the award at the Council of University Transportation Centers Award Banquet in Washington, D.C.
Christiansen Receives Lifetime Achievement Award
TTI Director Emeritus Dennis Christiansen was honored with the HNTB Lifetime Achievement for University Transportation Education and Research Award during the annual Council of University Transportation Centers Award Banquet. Christiansen, who served as TTI director for 10 years until his retirement in 2016, was selected for the award based on his significant contributions to transportation research and education.