Texas A&M Transportation Institute https://tti.tamu.edu Saving Lives, Time and Resources. Thu, 17 Oct 2019 18:25:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.3 https://tti.tamu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/cropped-tti-square-with-sailboat-and-block-620-transparent-32x32.png Texas A&M Transportation Institute https://tti.tamu.edu 32 32 143648224 Winfree Participates in BCBS Blue Promise Podcast https://tti.tamu.edu/news/winfree-participates-in-bcbs-blue-promise-podcast/ Thu, 17 Oct 2019 18:11:07 +0000 https://tti.tamu.edu/?p=81946 Blue Promise podcast logoTTI Agency Director Greg Winfree recently appeared on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) of Texas Blue Promise podcast during The Texas Tribune Festival on September 27. The topic of the conversation was “How is Health Care Impacted by Transportation Challenges?” and was hosted by Dr. Dan McCoy, President of BCBS of Texas. Blue Promise is a podcast and video blog that aims to address complicated health issues with candid conversations from subject matter experts.

View the Blue Promise video on YouTube

Seymour Teaches Course in India https://tti.tamu.edu/news/seymour-teaches-course-in-india/ Tue, 15 Oct 2019 14:00:35 +0000 https://tti.tamu.edu/?p=81908 TTI executive associate director Ed Seymour with engineering students at the National Institute of Technology Warangal in India.
TTI Executive Associate Director Ed Seymour (front row with blue jacket) with students from the National Institute of Technology Warangal in Telangana, India.

Ed Seymour, Ph.D., P.E., executive associate director of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, recently traveled on a government grant to the National Institute of Technology Warangal in Telangana, India, to teach a five-day, college-level course at the university. The course, entitled Transportation in a High-Tech, Automated and Connected Vehicle World, was taught to students in the Transportation Division of the university’s Department of Civil Engineering.

The Indian government grant is part of the country’s Global Initiative of Academic Networks in Higher Education to garner and transfer the best international experience to an Indian audience. Internationally renowned academicians and scientists are invited to augment the country’s academic resources, accelerate the pace of quality reforms, and elevate India’s scientific and technological capacity to global excellence.

Seymour also spoke at a university conference focused on engineering for sustainable development during the visit, and visited with university faculty and post-graduate students regarding career development.

Statement on the Passing of Laura Mooney, TTI Associate Transportation Researcher https://tti.tamu.edu/news/statement-on-the-passing-of-laura-mooney-tti-associate-transportation-researcher/ Fri, 11 Oct 2019 18:18:16 +0000 https://tti.tamu.edu/?p=81903 Laura Mooney
Laura Mooney

We are shocked and saddened over the death of our colleague, Laura Mooney. Her work ethic and passion for issues related to driving safety, especially regarding impaired driving, will never be duplicated. She was instrumental in the success of numerous TTI projects, including our Ignition Interlock Training Program and our State Impaired Driving Task Force.

“Laura was a tireless and cheerful worker, and was deeply engaged in community activities,” noted Robert Wunderlich, head of TTI’s Center for Transportation Safety. “She wanted to make the world a better place, and that was so evident in the work that she did with us. We will honor her legacy by reaffirming her passion for those transportation safety issues.”

Our condolences to her family and everyone at TTI who had the pleasure of knowing her.

All Aboard, Ags! https://tti.tamu.edu/news/all-aboard-ags/ Thu, 10 Oct 2019 19:56:25 +0000 https://tti.tamu.edu/?p=81899 The Navya autonomous shuttle on the Texas A&M University Campus.
Though a safety driver is aboard if needed, the Navya autonomous shuttle drives itself using advanced sensors, camera and software to detect objects in its path. Texas A&M is one of the first campuses in the nation to test this technology in an actual driving environment.

First Autonomous Shuttle Deployed at Texas A&M

The Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) is leading a technology demonstration of the Navya Autonom Shuttle, an autonomous, self-driving, 11-passenger electric vehicle developed for use in public transportation service. TTI’s partners in the project are Texas A&M University, Texas A&M Transportation Services and the shuttle’s maker, Navya.

Texas A&M President Michael K. Young said he is pleased with the amazing progress that has been made on the autonomous shuttle project. Young himself rode the shuttle on Sept. 25.

“As a tier-one research university, it is fitting that Texas A&M is at the forefront of exploring innovative transportation technologies. I am so proud that TTI is taking a leading role in this endeavor. I’m excited to see how these shuttles will work to make our campus community safer, more accessible and better connected,” Young said.

The shuttle runs a route circling the Corps of Cadets dorms and Southside Garage — on Texas A&M’s main campus Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., through Nov. 15. It’ll also be on stationary display Oct. 26 for the Texas A&M vs. Mississippi State football game.

The shuttle incorporates optimized navigation and safety features, using a variety of guidance and detection systems — light detection and ranging sensors, cameras and GPS real-time kinematic positioning. These systems are coordinated on board the vehicle by interpretive, deep-learning software that adapts to real-time conditions based on input from the sensors and cameras. Guided by these technologies, the shuttle “drives itself” without human steering or braking. (In fact, the vehicle doesn’t even have a traditional steering wheel or brake pedal.) A safety driver is aboard, though, should human intervention be needed.

TTI Senior Research Scientist Bob Brydia and Texas A&M University President Michael Young.
TTI Senior Research Scientist Bob Brydia explains the technology behind the autonomous shuttle to Texas A&M President Michael Young as they ride around Texas A&M’s campus Sept. 25.

“The shuttle is programmed to recognize obstacles in its path, which could include vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists and other road users,” explains Senior Research Scientist Bob Brydia, manager of TTI’s Advanced Transportation Operations Program and principal investigator on the project. “Our demonstration will explore the technology’s potential in improving campus mobility while maintaining (and possibly improving) safety. Through surveys, we’re asking riders for their feedback to determine interest in autonomous options like the shuttle, as well as gauge how accepting they are of vehicles that drive themselves.”

The surveys of shuttle riders and other information collected will inform planning for future transit and transportation options on campus and in the surrounding Bryan-College Station community. The research results will examine scientific, engineering and public acceptance factors associated with the introduction of autonomous shuttles and other advanced vehicle technologies into our driving culture. Texas A&M is funding the demonstration under the Campus Transportation Technology Initiative, a project looking at the larger issue of how transportation innovation can improve campus mobility and safety. Findings from the project will inform elements of the recently updated Campus Master Plan.

“Initiatives like this one are fostering a more connected, walkable, bikeable and greener campus through innovative technologies and multimodal services,” says Peter Lange, associate vice president of Texas A&M University Transportation Services. “They’re also leveraging faculty expertise, and enriching student educational opportunities to work on cutting edge research projects and experience new technology in their daily lives.”

For more information, contact Bob Brydia, PMP, at 979-317-2848 or r-brydia@tti.tamu.edu or visit this web page. | View a Video of the Shuttle in Action

Is That Road Made of Recycled Asphalt? If It’s Done Right, You Will Never Know https://tti.tamu.edu/news/is-that-road-made-of-recycled-asphalt-if-its-done-right-you-will-never-know/ Tue, 01 Oct 2019 15:02:37 +0000 https://tti.tamu.edu/?p=81876 Image: highway in West Texas. Text: What We're Thinking, Amy Epps Martin and Edith Arambula. Is that road made of recycled asphalt? If it's done right, you will never know.Recycled pavement saves money and the environment.

By Amy Epps Martin and Edith Arambula

Ask just about anybody to name the most recycled material in America, and you’re likely to get some predictable responses: Aluminum cans. Plastic bottles. Glass bottles. Paper.

Each guess is logical. And each one is wrong.

That’s because 99% of reclaimed asphalt pavement is reintroduced in new or rebuilt roadways, making it the nation’s reuse champion. Rates for other materials pale in comparison: 60% for aluminum cans, 37% for plastic drink bottles, 31% for glass beverage bottles, and 56% for newsprint (all according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency).

The rapid growth we see in recycled pavements is dramatically outpacing consumer product recycling trends, which showed an increase of less than 1% in recent years, according to the EPA, due in part to a 3% drop in plastic bottle recycling in 2017. Reclaimed asphalt pavement use, on the other hand, is on the upswing, up 36% from only 10 years ago.

Of course, recyclers of asphalt pavement have an advantage over their consumer product counterparts. Construction industry players simply reclaim materials by scraping up old roadways. There’s no need to rely on the diligence of people who may or may not choose to participate in a community’s waste recycling program. Roadway recyclers seek out their product, while consumer product recyclers must wait for the product to come to them.

The surfaces we drive our cars and trucks upon every day consist mostly of aggregate (crushed rocks) to provide stability for heavy vehicle loads, and binder (asphalt made from petroleum) to serve as the glue that holds those rocks together. For most of our transportation history, we’ve relied upon virgin materials to build or rebuild streets and highways. But in recent years, there’s been a growing shift toward the use of reclaimed asphalt pavement.

It’s an idea that makes sense on three fronts: engineering, environmental and economic.

To justify their costly investment, roads need to last a long time, preferably a couple of decades or more. Our experience shows that roads containing recycled materials (which include roofing shingles that, like pavements, are made with asphalt and aggregates) can be just as durable and last just as long as those built with virgin materials.

Asphalt comes from petroleum, a finite resource. The same is true for aggregates; we can mine those materials from the earth for only so long. The more we can take advantage of available recycled pavements and shingles, the better job we can do as stewards of the only planet we have.

Building streets and highways is a costly endeavor, so even marginal savings per ton of material can add up quickly. The combined use of recycled pavements and shingles in road construction nationwide in 2017 produced savings of more than $2.2 billion, according to the National Asphalt Pavement Association.

About 76 million tons of ground-up pavement this year in the U.S. will displace the need for the same amount of virgin roadway materials. Pretty impressive, no question. But that’s still just a fraction of what’s possible.

State usage rates vary from about 10% to 35%, with the average calling for a mix involving 4 parts virgin material and 1 part recycled material. Double the amount of recycled materials in the mix, and you can double the associated cost savings, as well. That goal is within reach, but it has to be pursued carefully, since relying on too high a percentage of recycled materials can compromise the quality and life span of a roadway. There’s a need to hit a sweet spot where economics, engineering and environmental stars align.

When that ideal balance is achieved, we not only reduce our environmental impact, we save money. In Texas, those savings (combined for recycled asphalt and shingles) amounted to $98 million in 2017. To save even more, we’re limited only by our stockpiles and our ingenuity, both of which are abundant.

At the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, we’re conducting research that aims to drive reclaimed asphalt pavement use even higher, eventually doubling the current quantity without sacrificing quality.

You might never know whether the road you’re driving on is a recycled one. And if it’s built right, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

Amy Epps Martin is a research engineer at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

Edith Arambula is an associate research engineer at the institute.

This article was originally published in the The Dallas Morning News, September 29, 2019.

TTI’s Tooley and Other Top Women Executives Share Inclusion Strategies https://tti.tamu.edu/news/ttis-tooley-and-other-top-women-executives-share-inclusion-strategies/ Tue, 24 Sep 2019 18:41:14 +0000 https://tti.tamu.edu/?p=81873 Panelists at the ARTBA National Convention.
Panelists Shannon Miller, vice president of human resources at Jacobs; Melissa Tooley, director of external initiatives at Texas A&M Transportation Institute; Agnieszka Lapinski, department manager, Gannett Fleming; and Jihane Fazio, associate vice president, AECOM. Lisa Robert, executive vice president at RS&H and chair of ARTBA’s Women Leaders Council, standing at right, moderated. (photo courtesy of ARTBA)

Melissa Tooley, director of external initiatives at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, joined three other top female transportation industry executives on September 23, at the American Road and Transportation Builders Association 2019 National Convention in Savannah, Ga., to discuss how to build a diverse and successful work environment.

The leaders, representing ARTBA Foundation’s “Glass Hammer” award winners, offered top women networking and mentoring programs. But those programs were just the start of successfully highlighting and promoting women leaders, as well as increasing the number of women in the transportation infrastructure workforce, the four leaders said.

Read the rest of the story on the Washington Newsline website.


Keep Kids Safe on the Road: 2019 Child Passenger Safety Week https://tti.tamu.edu/news/keep-kids-safe-on-the-road-2019-child-passenger-safety-week/ Tue, 17 Sep 2019 16:10:19 +0000 https://tti.tamu.edu/?p=81868 Child Safety Seat Week graphic. Text: Love comes in many sizes. Graphic: picture of different sized child safety seats.This week, Sept. 15-21, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is sponsoring Child Passenger Safety Week. Whenever you’re on the road, make sure your kids are secured in the correct car seat for their weight, age, and size, and that the seat itself is properly installed and secured in your vehicle. | Read More

TTI’s Mahmoudzadeh Awarded APTF Scholarship https://tti.tamu.edu/news/ttis-mahmoudzadeh-awarded-aptf-scholarship/ Fri, 13 Sep 2019 19:26:35 +0000 https://tti.tamu.edu/?p=81865 Photo of Ahmadreza Mahmoudzadeh
Ahmadreza Mahmoudzadeh

TTI Graduate Research Assistant Ahmadreza Mahmoudzadeh is the recipient of a $6,500 scholarship from the American Public Transportation Foundation (APTF). The APTF Gary Thomas Ambassadorial Scholarship will be awarded during the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA’s) TRANSform Conference held Oct. 13–16, 2019, in New York. This scholarship is awarded to college students or transit professionals pursuing or advancing a career in the public transit industry.

APTA is a nonprofit international association of more than 1,500 public- and private-sector member organizations. An affiliate of APTA, the foundation provides scholarships for transit scholars. As a member of APTA, TTI sponsored Mahmoudzadeh’s application.

“I’m honored to be chosen as an APTF scholar, and I appreciate the APTF board of directors for choosing me as a scholarship recipient,” says Mahmoudzadeh. “Working as a graduate research assistant in TTI’s Transit Mobility Program has enriched my professional development, and I’m looking forward to working on novel transportation projects benefitting the traveling public.”

Mahmoudzadeh’s research at TTI involves modeling, geospatial analysis, programming, Big Data analysis, visualization, transit scheduling and technical document preparation. He is pursuing a Ph.D. in Texas A&M University’s Zachry Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from Amirkabir University of Technology in Tehran, Iran.

“Ahmadreza is a self-motivated worker who asks for further clarification on tasks, points out potential issues with data and offers suggestions for achieving desired project outcomes,” notes TTI Assistant Research Scientist Todd Hansen. “His ambitions for professional development include researching new emerging technologies and modeling techniques to improve public transportation.”

Perez Wins First Place in Data Visualization at ATSIP’s 2019 Traffic Records Forum https://tti.tamu.edu/news/perez-wins-first-place-in-data-visualization-at-atsips-2019-traffic-records-forum/ Wed, 11 Sep 2019 18:34:18 +0000 https://tti.tamu.edu/?p=81860 Marcie Perez with her ATSIP Award
Perez receiving her award at ATSIP’s 2019 Traffic Records Forum.

Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) Assistant Research Scientist Marcie Perez won first place in the data visualization category for “investigating crash data through data visualization” at the 2019 Traffic Records Forum. The forum (Aug. 4–7, 2019) was hosted by the Association of Transportation Safety Information Professionals (ATSIP). Perez led the Aug. 6 session Data Visualization: Investigating Crash Data Through Data Visualization.

ATSIP is an association made up of professionals from government agencies, law enforcement agencies, the private sector and university research centers. ATSIP seeks to make traffic records more consistent, accessible and integrated for use in implementing and evaluating safety programs and policies. ATSIP’s data visualization award recognizes projects that raise decision-maker awareness about data visualization, provide resources to transportation safety organizations and inform policy-making legislation.

TTI’s Center for Transportation Safety uses Microsoft Power BI, a data visualization software, to examine crash data. In her Aug. 6 session, Perez highlighted the most common ways attendees can leverage the software to fit their needs, including to

  • Share data within and outside a team;
  • Ensure consistency between projects;
  • Facilitate quick and easy access to crash statistics; and/or
  • Put together presentation decks.

Perez’s current work includes crash data analysis, database management, and form and survey development. She also provides technical support to TTI researchers working with Texas crash data.

“I received very positive feedback on the visualizations I shared within TTI, and I was happy to receive the award for my session because it helps me to see that my work is helpful to others,” says Perez. “At next year’s Traffic Records Forum, I hope to work on another session promoting data visualization. It would bring me full circle! The first time I heard about Power BI was at an ATSIP Traffic Records Forum.”

Lomax to Testify Before the Highways and Transit Subcommittee https://tti.tamu.edu/news/lomax-to-testify-before-the-highways-and-transit-subcommittee/ Wed, 11 Sep 2019 13:11:24 +0000 https://tti.tamu.edu/?p=81859 Texas A&M Transportation Institute Research Fellow Tim Lomax will be testifying before the Highways and Transit Subcommittee of the US House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee at 10:00 AM Eastern (9:00 AM Central) on September 11. The subject of the hearing is congestion and potential solutions, and Lomax will be discussing the newly released Urban Mobility Report’s congestion estimates and the implications for urban transportation.

The live feed may be accessed at the following link: https://transportation.house.gov/committee-activity/hearings/the-subcommittee-on-highways-and-transit-hearing-on_–pricing-and-technology-strategies-to-address-congestion-on-and-financing-of-americas-roads