TTI Selects Strategy Lead for CV/AV Transportation Research

A lot of folks are speculating on what transportation will look like 30 to 40 years from now. Largely, we will still be having vehicles,
rubber-tired vehicles driving around on roadways. So, the agencies like the departments of transportation will still be in that business, but how we move around may really change. You may not be the driver of your vehicle all the time. You may
not be the owner of that vehicle all the time. You may be using more services like Uber and Lyft. Your household may only have one car instead of two or three. There are a lot of challenges in the state
of Texas. On the safety side, crashes are still going up. Truck crashes are
over-represented. With the amount of construction we have going on in the state, we lead the nation in the amount of crashes in work zones. On the mobility side, congestion is still going up in a lot of our urban areas. So when we introduce connected and automated transportation, we’re looking at how can we bring those numbers down? How can we improve mobility for individuals? How can we reduce the number of crashes and really drive that number down? The Texas Department of Transportation, through their research program, launched several strategic research initiatives and these
projects are multi-year, multi-million dollars, really to try to advance how
transportation will evolve and the technologies that we’ll use in those
projects. This is really forward thinking of TxDOT to do this type of research.
An example of one of these is, TTI is leading a truck platooning project and
this is trying to look at how the freight industry is going to evolve with this introduction of technologies. And we put together a team of private sector trucking companies along with TTI researchers and we’re looking at how trucks can move down the roadway as a platoon and it controls the longitudinal control of the vehicle, that’s the throttle and braking, and the lateral control, which is the steering. And, whenever the first truck either brakes or steers, immediately the second truck does. That improves safety, improves fuel economy and has a huge benefit to the private sector. TTI has been a leader in advanced transportation and technologies for decades. Starting in the early 1960’s with development of traffic management centers in Houston, working on the Gulf Freeway and I-45, through the development of the traffic management centers, putting technology out on freeways to monitor
congestion and level of service and then more recently, as we’ve tried to use that
in construction work zones on I-35 through the Waco District, where we monitor
a hundred miles of Interstate that have never had any intelligent transportation
system on it before. To now, as connected and automated vehicles are emerging, TTI is at the forefront of that, too Texas has taken a little bit of a slow
approach, which has been very strategic actually, by not introducing burdensome
legislation or regulation to the technology industry. That’s
attracting companies that want to come to Texas and test and develop and pilot some connected and automated vehicles. And so, by TTI having a Policy Research Center working hand-in-hand with the technology research, we can help policy evolve as the technology evolves. There’s a lot of news out there about
connected and automated vehicles, if you watch TV or read the newspaper. And so, people need to realize that the industry really doesn’t know where this is headed and
there’s a lot of speculation whether the number of miles that we drive every year
will go up or go down. There’s speculation about how many cars a family will own in the future, more or less. We really don’t know. What we do know is that Texas needs to be a leader in this,
so TTI, working with our public sector partners like the Texas Department of
Transportation, private industry. This is the place to test, develop and pilot these
types of technologies so that TTI and TxDOT can be a leader in the future.

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