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January 4, 2022Episode 24. Partners in Purpose: How universities and the Transportation Research Board find solutions together through science and innovation.
FEATURING: Neil Pedersen, Katie Turnbull
Transportation improvements require tireless effort and inspired innovation. TTI Executive Associate Director Katie Turnbull and Neil Pedersen, executive director at the Transportation Research Board (TRB), discuss how universities help TRB to advance the evidence-based, scientific solutions necessary to sustaining a safe, efficient and reliable transportation system.
About Our Guests
Executive Director, TRB
Neil Pedersen has been executive director of TRB since 2015. He provides leadership to TRB’s technical activities, including the board’s annual meeting of more than 14,000 professionals, 180 technical committees, conferences, and publications; its peer-reviewed policy consensus studies; and its multimodal cooperative research programs. Prior to joining TRB, Neil spent 29 years at the Maryland Department of Transportation, where he served the last eight years as State Highway Administrator and Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.
Executive Associate Director, TTI
Dr. Katie Turnbull is an executive associate director and Regents Fellow at TTI. She is also an executive professor in Texas A&M University’s Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning in the College of Architecture. Katie chaired the TRB Executive Committee in 2018 and maintains a diverse research portfolio with projects at the local, state, national and international levels. In 2013, she received the Ethel S. Birchland Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Road and Transportation Builders Association. TRB honored her with the W. N. Carey, Jr. Distinguished Service Award in 2014.
Bernie Fette (host) (00:15):
Welcome. This is Thinking Transportation. Conversations about how we get ourselves and the things we need from one place to another. I’m Bernie Fette with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.
Bernie Fette (00:29):
A society cannot thrive without a safe and efficient system of moving people and goods. And that system cannot fully serve its purpose without constant innovation that’s driven by evidence-based problem solving. Universities, where exploration and discovery are commonplace, provide the ideal setting to find those solutions in partnership with the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. TTI Executive Associate Director Katie Turnbull, and Neil Pedersen, executive director at TRB, join us for this episode to share their thoughts on the partnership that’s helping to transform American transportation. They join us on the eve of the TRB annual meeting, the largest gathering of its kind in the world. Katie, Neil, thank you both for taking time to share your insights and thoughts with us today.
Katie Turnbull (guest) (01:25):
Thank you very much.
Neil Pedersen (guest) (01:26):
It’s our pleasure to be here. Thank you.
Bernie Fette (01:29):
Neil, I’d like to start with you if I could. The Transportation Research Board celebrated its hundredth anniversary last year. I wonder what you believe are some of TRB’s major accomplishments over that first century.
Neil Pedersen (01:42):
So TRB likes to say that we convene researchers, practitioners, government officials, to provide advice to government, to solve practical problems, to foster innovation, and to stimulate new research. So in each of those areas, we’ve had a very long history of a lot of accomplishments. For the first half of TRB’s history, it was actually the Highway Research Board and it tended to focus primarily on issues related to highway design, construction, maintenance, as well as highway safety and did a lot of work in developing some of the original standards as well as methods for highway construction in the early 20th century. So for example, many of the pavement, bridge, drainage, safety designs came directly from TRB research over the last hundred years. And in 1960s, the portfolio really started to expand first into more planning in environmental areas. Then in 1974, TRB became the Transportation Research Board and the portfolio went into all other modes of transportation and really has produced a lot of research and shared a lot of research amongst all of the modes of transportation that practitioners really have benefited from. But I guess if I could summarize, I think what TRB has really accomplished more than anything is really creating a community of transportation professionals who are all really interested in sharing knowledge, research results, innovative best practices, all really in the interest of a safe, high-performing cost-effective and sustainable transportation system.
Bernie Fette (03:31):
Katie, how do you describe the role that universities have played in the accomplishments that Neil was just outlining for us?
Katie Turnbull (03:38):
Universities have been a key part of all of those activities. Certainly a lot of the early work in terms of highway pavements and design universities, including TTI were very actively involved in those as well as the transition that Neil mentioned in the sixties, seventies and eighties, when interest and the need for more unbiased research in planning and transit and bicycle and pedestrian activities came on and TRB really evolved and created opportunities for research in those areas and included those in the portfolio. I think one of the greatest achievements really of TRB over its first hundred years is just harnessing the power of thousands of volunteers. I mean, there’s nothing else like it in the country, in the world where you have that many individuals from state departments of transportation, agencies, universities, the private sector, industry coming together and collaborating on research problem statements, conferences, just a whole portfolio of activities. That’s really unbelievable when you think about it. So in many respects, I think that’s one of the key accomplishments as well as the research portfolio. And you know, we’re now what, 50 years over into the National Highway Cooperative Research Program (NCHRP). I think 30-plus years on the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP). So it’s really a remarkable part of the National Academies.
Bernie Fette (05:12):
TRB’s vision is a nation and world that rely on scientific evidence and expertise to ensure a transportation system that benefits individuals in society. That’s certainly ambitious. What activities does TRB undertake to accomplish that vision?
Neil Pedersen (05:31):
I’ll start by setting a little bit of context. Katie mentioned that TRB is part of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, and the National Academies have very, very high standards for objectivity, independence, nonpartisanship, integrity, excellence, and an evidence basis for everything that we do. So within that context, we say we really have three major functions: convening, research, and advising. We hold the largest meeting of transportation researchers in the world every January. During a typical year, we’ll bring together 14,000 researchers, practitioners, government officials, and students at that annual meeting to talk about current and future transportation issues and research that’s being done to address those issues. We have 177 standing technical committees to address almost any issue that you can think of related to transportation. And these committees put together the program for our annual meeting and specialty conferences. They do peer reviews of papers that are submitted to us for either presentation or publication in our journal.
Neil Pedersen (06:44):
They serve as a forum for discussions on current and future challenges and issues within the areas of focus, and they develop research problem statements that serve as a basis, not just of TRB research, but uh, really research in programs around the world. We sponsor about 50 specialty conferences or workshops each year and put on over 100 webinars. We have four major research programs in the areas of highways, transit, airports, and behavioral traffic safety. We have a fifth one in freight that will be starting up again as a result to the recently enacted infrastructure bill. And we do policy studies following the rigorous procedures and standards of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine for the federal government and for the nation.
Bernie Fette (07:31):
And Katie, specifically, I wanted to ask you to comment on how that vision sounds a good bit like the vision for the agency that you and I work for.
Katie Turnbull (07:41):
Certainly that scientific, evidence-based approach to research is exactly what universities are all about and really what TTI is all about. And that really includes both basic research as well as applied research. And certainly TTI is well known for its applied research, especially, and focusing on, you know, how do we really make things better? How do we do research? But then just as importantly, how do we get research results out into practice at all levels? And so I think it’s a great partnership between TRB, universities, as well as obviously the implementing agencies, whether it’s a state DOT or a local government or a transit agency or a port or a whole agency airport. So it’s, uh, just a great overall partnership among all the various groups.
Bernie Fette (08:32):
Let’s talk a little more about those convening activities that you mentioned a minute ago. Neil, how do those help to advance TRB’s vision and address critical issues?
Neil Pedersen (08:44):
TRB is probably best known for its annual meeting that’s held every January in Washington, D.C. And have actually several thousand presentations being made on current and future challenges and issues in transportation. About every five years or so, TRB’s executive committee issues a document called Critical Issues in Transportation that really tries to take a strategic and forward-looking view of what the most critical issues will be in the next 10 to 20 years. And that document ends up really serving to guide our 177 standing technical committees. It guides the work that’s being done in our research program, and all of these activities really support the sharing of scientific evidence and expertise to ensure a transportation system that benefits individuals in society, as called for in the vision statement for TRB.
Bernie Fette (09:39):
Katie, TTI researchers have played a lot of leadership roles in the organization over the years. I wonder how that involvement has helped TRB and how it’s benefitted in advancing key research needs.
Katie Turnbull (09:52):
TTI has been, as you mentioned, instrumental in participating in TRB activities, both to the benefit of TRB, but also I think to the benefit of TTI and research and our ability to focus on key issues of sponsors and the transportation community. Certainly from, you know, the early days of TRB to Charley Wootan, who was our director for a long time, was a key member of the executive committee and served as chair. Uh, Herb Richardson, also one of our directors and now director emeritus, served as chair and was active in the various activities. And I’ve had the privilege and the pleasure to serve on the executive committee and to, uh, serve as chair as well as, you know, involvement and committees and other activities. And I think that helps, one, bring information back to TTI, certainly to Texas and the region here. And just as importantly, helps bring those issues to TRB and focus at the national level because they’re similar to other areas. But I, I, I think just as importantly, um, and one of the things that I’ve always suggested to our staff is that researchers benefit greatly by participating in TRB and that’s, you know, through the committee structure and other activities you can take on responsibilities that you might not yet be able to do in your regular job, whether it’s, you know, developing research need statements, giving presentations. And so I think it helps individual researchers develop and hone their skills that enhance their personal and professional development and obviously benefit TRB in the long run.
Bernie Fette (11:33):
I wonder if I could get you both to reflect a bit on the events of the past two years and share your thoughts on what you see as some of the critical issues facing all modes of transportation to meet the wide variety of needs that we have to ensure vibrant communities and a vibrant society.
Neil Pedersen (11:53):
Well, I have to say that I’ve been in the transportation field for over 40 years, and I can’t think of a more exciting time to be in the field. I would say that perhaps there’s no more important issue in transportation than its relationship to climate change, both as the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the states, as well as the impacts of the transportation system that are occurring as a result of more severe storms, heat waves, fires, droughts. So I would say that really trying to address climate change and how we figure out what transportation’s role is and how we can be trying to help solve some of the climate change issues is one of the huge issues that we’re facing. So for example, looking at issues like clean technologies in vehicles to be trying to reduce, uh, greenhouse gas emissions. I think another major issue that we’re really focusing a lot on is how can we be ensuring that the transportation system enables people to have equitable access to opportunity.
Neil Pedersen (13:02):
A third that I would cite is really the fragility of our supply chain system. I think we’ve definitely seen that particularly over the course of the last several months. And then a fourth one that TTI and Texas A&M has really been playing a leadership role in is the relationship between transportation and public health. There are a lot of emissions-related issues that we’re really focused on, but also the role of active transportation and supporting a healthier lifestyle access for elderly and disabled travelers impacts of transportation noise on health issues like this are issues that we’re really addressing right now.
Bernie Fette (13:44):
A little while ago, Neil, you mentioned climate change and it’s connection to transportation. And you help to lead an organization that’s all about science. But we’re in a place as a society right now where science gets challenged a lot. And that can certainly get in the way of public understanding. Do you have any thoughts on how we might be able to bridge that gap of understanding?
Neil Pedersen (14:10):
Well, obviously science is based on evidence, and I think the most important thing from a societal perspective is that we try to make sure that our conversations are evidence-based. National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine really has very high standards in terms of any of the work that we do to ensure that there is a solid evidence basis for what we do. I think it’s absolutely critical as a society starting in schools in particular, that we really talk about the evidence basis for science and the importance of evidence basis for everything that we do. So it goes right back to education, being absolutely critical in terms of addressing that issue and the challenge that we are facing. Uh, you know, I have classmates from school that challenge some of the issues, for example, climate change. And I will challenge them right back in terms of what is the evidence basis that they have for the beliefs that they have. And I think we have to have more conversations that are really around what is the evidence basis that we have for both the beliefs that we have and ultimately for the policies that we develop.
Katie Turnbull (15:32):
Yeah. And universities are obviously a key place for that evidence-based information and research to occur. And certainly that link between climate scientists and transportation is key. And those are two groups that maybe haven’t talked to each other as much as they should. So making sure those discussions are going on, I think is also important. So I would agree with all of Neil’s priorities. I think those reflect what’s going on at the national level, certainly they reflect on what’s going on at the regional level. And what, you know, TTI is focusing on, I think just to expand, it’s been on the list for a long time, but safety continues to be a critical issue. You know, unfortunately even with the reduction in traffic volumes during the pandemic, we saw fatalities go up and that’s not only here in the state of Texas, but nationwide throughout the country.
Katie Turnbull (16:25):
And so, you know, unfortunately we continue that it’s been over 20 years since there’s been a day that there has not been a fatality on a roadway in Texas. So continuing to look at that, especially because a lot of those are behavioral. You know, we’ve certainly focused for a long time on making the roadways as forgiving as they can be. So I think that continues to be a critical issue and one that we continue to look at and to some extent, struggle with, but I think there are opportunities. And as Neil said, I think right now, it, it continues to be one of the most exciting times. I agree with the supply chain issue and its supply chain on a worldwide basis. I mean, a small tweak in for example, online goods purchases can have a ripple effect, you know, with the expansion of the Panama Canal in 2016, we saw more goods from the Pacific Rim, China, especially coming through the canal to ports in Texas, as well as the east coast.
Katie Turnbull (17:24):
And just a small increase in that has a major impact on the roadway system, local distribution, and a whole host of things that impact transportation. And at the same time, we need to be sure, as Neil said, that we consider the equity implications of those. Do all people have access to online shopping and how do we make sure that segments of the population aren’t being left out of those types of opportunities. So continues to be a lot of issues, but continues to be a lot of opportunities to address them. And again, to make things better.
Bernie Fette (17:58):
Neil, you mentioned the recent federal legislation. I’m wondering if you see opportunities for TRB to address the issues we’ve talked about in light of that legislation.
Neil Pedersen (18:08):
Yeah. I think the recently passed infrastructure bill really provides us great opportunities to really be trying to address some of these issues that we’ve been talking about. Unlike past bills, where it has primarily focused just on infrastructure, it’s really starting to recognize that transportation plays a broader role in supporting society as well, and has a lot of programs to be trying to address that very issue. Obviously, we have a lot of issues associated with technology that we really need to be paying attention to both intended consequences, but probably even more importantly, unintended consequences. And what do we need to be doing from a policy perspective, for example, in addressing what some of those unintended consequences are. I do have to say that Texas A&M has really been playing a leadership role in advancing these technologies as well as addressing the policy issues associated with them.
Katie Turnbull (19:10):
Yeah, the new legislation offers just numerous opportunities. There’s a, you know, a transportation resilience and adaptation centers of excellence that will be unfolding. It continues the university transportation centers, the UTCs, which certainly play an important part in both research and, and education. There’s a new office of multimodal freight that will be established. It provides additional funding for technology applications and a whole host of things. And for example, on the, you know, I mentioned safety earlier, unfortunately here in Texas, there was a recent fatality of a wrong way driver in west Texas that hit a bus with a band going to halftime performance that resulted in fatalities. Again, there are technologies that can address that. So there are a lot of opportunities with the new legislation to tackle some of the tougher issues and make progress in addressing those concerns.
Bernie Fette (20:07):
I’d love to hear a little more about your thoughts on those advances in technology that you mentioned, Neil. Those definitely move at a rapid pace. And I wonder what role you see technology playing.
Neil Pedersen (20:20):
Katie Turnbull (21:43):
Yeah. You know, you look at especially climate change and hurricane evacuation, there’s a whole host of technologies that can again, enhance that. Whether it’s predicting, whether it’s looking at are things happening a little quicker than they used to. And so the decision-making process on when to evacuate and how to evacuate needs to be made quicker, knowing where those flooding conditions typically occur and being able to respond quickly. Again, I think there are a whole host of technologies that are focusing on that and making that response better and enhancing the ability to respond and then recover quicker.
Bernie Fette (22:22):
I’m gonna shift from talking about the work to talking about the workforce. Developing a diverse workforce is important for all modes of transportation, public agencies, private industries. I wonder if you could both comment on what role TRB is playing and how universities contribute to that goal.
Neil Pedersen (22:39):
Well, I have to say the issue of addressing diversity equity and inclusion is really a high priority for TRB and for our parent organization, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. At TRB, we have a diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic plan that has seven strategies to try to address these issues, both from a participation and a programmatic standpoint. We have an oversight committee that’s actually chaired by Dr. Carol Lewis from Texas Southern University that monitors our progress in implementing this plan. We’re very committed to increasing participation of females, racial and ethnic minorities, students, and young professionals, international participants, persons with disabilities and disciplines that are underrepresented in TRB and the transportation profession. But we have a challenge in front of us. The transportation profession is not one that a lot of these groups have historically participated in. And we really do have a challenge in terms of from a recruitment standpoint, but also in terms of really demonstrating to them why transportation is a field that they should really be interested in participating in. So a program that I particularly would cite that TRB has, is our minority student fellows program in which we help support students from historically black colleges and universities and minority serving institutions to attend the TRB annual meeting and really to be learning about transportation as a profession and encouraging them to go into transportation. And we’re now in our 11th year of this program, and I think it’s an example of the type of program that we really need to be encouraging a more diverse workforce in transportation.
Katie Turnbull (24:32):
And universities. You know, junior colleges, technical schools are really the pipeline to making that happen. And so I think there’s a very logical link between what universities are trying to do reflecting the exact same thing, making sure enrollment reflects the population as a whole, and, uh, is diverse in all kinds of different ways. And that means explaining to students and prospective students about the wealth of opportunities and transportation, that there are links to public health. You know, there are links to planning, to engineering, to policy that it’s a whole host of disciplines that are needed to address the transportation problems. And then as we all know, it’s getting younger kids also interested. So that outreach to K through 12 is also critical. And I think universities have done a good job and continue to look at ways of tapping into making sure high school students and even in the grade school know about the opportunities for careers, potential careers in transportation.
Bernie Fette (25:39):
Katie, can you talk a little bit more about that multidisciplinary approach that you were touching upon?
Katie Turnbull (25:44):
Sure. I think one of the key things we’ve known for a while is that it’s no one discipline — engineering or planning or policy — that’s gonna answer all the questions and the issues that we have. And so it’s really bringing together multidisciplinary teams to address those issues, bringing in people with a health and human services background, looking at housing issues and land use, looking at schools, which is a major driver of where people decide to live with school districts. And that has an impact on the transportation systems and making sure that people realize that and can function in those multidisciplinary teams, I think is important. And it indicates to younger people and resonates with younger people about you don’t need to be in necessarily any one discipline or background. There are multimodal groups and approaches that need to be looked at.
Bernie Fette (26:41):
Staying for just a minute on the diversity of backgrounds and disciplines that you were both talking about. What advice would you give to those newer professionals that you’re trying to recruit to the transportation field on how to get involved in TRB activities and how that can advance things for them?
Neil Pedersen (26:58):
TRB has been the most important and significant part of my professional development. It provides great opportunities for professionals in any discipline that is associated with transportation to get together with colleagues from other states, international colleagues, and to be talking through what issues and challenges are that are faced by transportation. And I realize I’m a little biased on this, but I don’t think there is a better opportunity for people who are coming into transportation really to get exposure to the best experts in the field and to the many different disciplines that are involved in the field.
Katie Turnbull (27:37):
TRB is, is the place where people go, one, to learn, but also to interact. And I certainly think there are opportunities for new people, young people, people focusing on a second career. So certainly taking advantage of things like the annual meeting. There’s typically a new attendee session that people should go to. They get an overview of TRB. They get to see who some of the key people are. And then I also think having gone through it myself, you know, identify one or two or three, at the most probably, committees that focus on your area of interest, go to those meetings, introduce yourself to the committee chair, the secretary, and other groups. Volunteer to take on different activities as part of those committees. Everyone’s looking for people to help with research problem statements. Committees often have very robust webpages where they post information. They have communication coordinators.
Katie Turnbull (28:38):
They often help sponsor conferences or, or workshops both at the annual meeting, but also during the mid-year time period. Go to the poster sessions as well as the podium sessions that the committee may sponsor. You know, poster sessions give you a great opportunity to interact one-on-one with people that you might not get at the podium session. There’s new member and young member council. That’s been very active over the past, probably what eight to ten years now. One of the other aspects of TRB, I think that is just unbelievable is the welcoming community that as you talk to people, they’re more than willing to help you introduce you to other people, help you get active and get involved. And I think probably for most of us, TRB is also very personally rewarding. If you’ve got something, a question, you know, who to contact by phone or text or email, and you may not have the answer, but someone else will. And the networking opportunities are just unbelievable.
Neil Pedersen (29:39):
Maybe if I could just build on what Katie was just talking about. TRB has a very robust website. It’s very easy to remember — trb.org. You can register from that website on what we call “my trb.org,” and that will enable you then to be able to access information about the various committees that you can be involved in. I would really recommend that people sign up for TRB weekly and TRB’s e-newsletter. And that will give you information about all of TRB’s activities and ways to become involved in them. A couple of other things that I would really recommend that people take advantage of is our webinar program. We put on over 100 webinars per year on current projects. We also maintain the largest transportation research bibliographic database in the world, called the TRID database, with one and a quarter million entries, and really encourage people to attend our annual meeting. Again, covering virtually any topic that you can think of related to transportation.
Neil Pedersen (30:39):
Transportation is really part of a much, much more complex ecosystem. And it really relates to so many different parts of society as well that we really need to be having experts from all fields. When I first started in transportation now over 40 years ago, engineers used to develop plans. They would take them out to communities and then wonder why the communities didn’t like what they were proposing to them. And we learned over time that we really needed to be having experts from many different disciplines. We needed to be involving the community, right from the start in terms of development of the projects that we had so that we got all of these different perspectives. Because transportation is not an engineering issue alone. Engineering is only one part of many, many different disciplines and many different aspects of transportation. It’s really critical that we do have many, many different disciplines represented in development of transportation.
Bernie Fette (31:41):
And Neil, I think what you were just talking about there was apparent in the way that the legislation was crafted a couple of decades ago. I think it was in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act. Wasn’t it that legislation that called for a lot more emphasis on public involvement, for instance?
Neil Pedersen (31:57):
Yes. So the ISTEA Act in the early 1990s was a transformative act that really did require much more involvement of the public in the transportation planning and development process. That changed the whole approach that both state departments of transportation and local jurisdictions really had to take in terms of how transportation plans and projects ended up being developed. And I can tell you that it really was a very, very significant change that was beneficial in terms of transportation, really taking into account what, not just the benefits are, but what the impacts are as well, and how to try to better fit within the community and mitigate those impacts.
Bernie Fette (32:43):
Let’s talk just a little bit more about the annual meeting, since you’ve mentioned that before. After being virtual last year, how do you see the annual meeting advancing that convening goal that you had spoken about earlier?
Neil Pedersen (32:56):
Last year because of the pandemic, we had to have a virtual meeting. It actually enabled more people to participate than we would with an in-person meeting. But the disadvantage of a virtual meeting is you don’t really have the networking opportunities that you would with an in-person meeting, not just with your friends or with your professional colleagues, who you know, but with many people who you don’t know, but are experts in the field and enables you to be meeting a lot of people that you would not otherwise. We have over 400 meetings of committees and subcommittees that are much more informal than sessions and great opportunity to be able to meet new people and colleagues in the area that you’re particularly interested in.
Katie Turnbull (33:41):
Yeah. I think we’ve learned a lot over the past two years about the advantages of what we can do online. And we were able to take advantage of that and stay connected, but there is nothing like being in person and interacting with people that you know and people that you don’t know. And, you know, one of the things I always say is that when you get good, smart people together, good smart things happen. And that’s one of the key things that the annual meeting does. It brings just an unbelievable group of people together and out of that good things happen.
Bernie Fette (34:15):
You’re both familiar with the video that we produced for TRB’s hundredth anniversary last year. And you’ve both spoken a little while ago about the need to recruit a more diverse collection of professionals, multiple disciplines, including younger people. We interviewed a number of those younger people for that video. And one of the questions we asked them was what they saw in the future of transportation. Several of them mentioned teleportation, which I thought was rather ambitious. And I was a little surprised by that, that they would answer with such a pretty lofty example. I’m wondering if either of you were as surprised by that response as I was.
Neil Pedersen (34:57):
Well, one of the great things about having those students and young professionals involved in TRB is that they don’t have a lot of the paradigms or constraints that those of us who’ve been around a little longer and they imagine what the future can be and they want to then try to work to see if they can actually make that future happen. So, I think it’s absolutely great that they’re thinking about what might be possible and what it would take to try to move towards what might be possible. That’s how we really make breakthroughs. You know, whether teleportation is something that is ever going to be physically possible, who knows? But I think it’s as a result of really thinking outside the box, thinking about what might potentially happen, that is what enables us to have breakthroughs. That is why we have the transportation system that we have today.
Bernie Fette (35:56):
Kind of inspiring. Would you agree, Katie?
Katie Turnbull (35:59):
Yes, I would agree. I think that’s the interesting thing. And the fun part about working with students and young people, they’re creative, they’re innovative. They come up with all kinds of great ideas, a lot of which probably make some practical sense. You know, we’re seeing unmanned vehicles, drones doing deliveries. Now they’ve done some demonstrations in Virginia. There’s a demonstration that’s gonna be starting here up in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with a Walgreens combination of delivering. You know, so I, there’s a whole host of things out there that I think we’re gonna see happen that we might not have even thought about just even a couple years ago.
Bernie Fette (36:36):
Thank you, both. This has been very instructive and we’re really grateful for your time.
Katie Turnbull (36:41):
Neil Pedersen (36:41):
Thanks for having both Katie me on this podcast, Bernie. t’s really been a great experience and really appreciate the opportunity.
Bernie Fette (36:51):
If we are to meet current and future transportation challenges, from traffic congestion to crash prevention to climate change, it’s essential that we apply deliberation that welcomes unknown possibilities and demands trusted evidence. Together, the Transportation Research Board and universities worldwide have combined talents to deliver that kind of serious thought for decades of innovation history, and will for decades yet to come.
Bernie Fette (37:21):
Thanks for listening. We hope you’ll be back for our next installment, when we visit with David Schrank, and explore how traffic on the most congested roadways in Texas experienced a pandemic pause in spring 2020, but bounced right back only a few months later.
Bernie Fette (37:41):
Thinking Transportation is a production of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, a member of the Texas A&M University System. The show is edited and produced by Chris Pourteau. I’m your writer and host Bernie Fette. Thanks again for listening. We’ll see you next time.