Secretary of Transportation Foxx Visits CTR/D-STOP
Photos by Heather Abbott. See the event photo album on Facebook.
CTR hosted US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx on his national tour of University Transportation Centers (UTC). CTR is home to a Tier 1 UTC, the Data-Supported Transportation Operations and Planning (D-STOP) Center. During his April 24 visit, Secretary Foxx met with CTR faculty, researchers, and graduate students, as well as TxDOT, MPO, and industry leadership, at the TACC’s Visualization Laboratory (VisLab). The VisLab’s ultra-high-resolution, Texas-sized screens provided a spectacular backdrop for the discussion of technology as it relates to transportation.
As part of the day’s roundtable discussion, Foxx learned of CTR’s involvement with the Texas Technology Task Force (the ongoing project 0-6803) and D-STOP’s program exploring the interface of high-dimensional data management and analysis, wireless-related cybersecurity issues, connected vehicles research challenges and implementation, and real-time information provision. CTR’s innovative research program, which combines technology with transportation, serves as a model for the rest of the country, Foxx said. “We need to be thinking about the future—about how technology plays a role in transportation—and that kind of thought process is happening right here [at UT],” Foxx said.
During his visit, Foxx highlighted the federal initiative “Beyond Traffic,” a USDOT program designed to discern and influence traffic trends over the next three decades. He noted that he hopes to foster technology that will enhance both processes and infrastructure, from commuter traffic to freight management. “Freight is…a huge issue in this country because we are going to see 45 percent more freight moving around our country over the next 30 years,” Foxx said.
In discussing the adoption of emerging technologies, Foxx echoed the sentiment of the Texas Technology Task Force, which proposes that Texas launch a public-private consortium that will bring together technology industry leaders and experts, public professionals and representatives, nonprofit organizations, and research institutions to create a safer, more efficient transportation system. “Metropolitan planning organizations, state departments of transportation, local departments of transportation, federal department of transportation—all those players have to intersect in order for us to get the most out of the 21st century,” Foxx stated.
Following the roundtable discussion, Foxx was given a tour of the VisLab, with D-STOP wireless networking and transportation researchers presenting visualizations of wireless networking and GPS applications, cyber-security considerations, transportation modeling results, and bicycle/pedestrian design and safety considerations.
CTR Research Programs Highlighted
Texas Technology Task Force. An ongoing TxDOT initiative, this task force is investigating technology-related policy issues in Texas, including ITS-related activities in general, and connected/autonomous transportation systems in particular. The task force’s charge is to identify key emerging technologies and outline a path toward implementation, while addressing policy, economic, and institutional barriers.
D-STOP. Fueled by a multidisciplinary research team and top-notch facilities, D-STOP works at the cutting edge of wireless (V2X) communications and networking, computer science, statistical analysis, data mining, and transportation. The research outcomes are contributing to a broad range of safety and non-safety applications, such as blind spot warning, lane change warning, forward collision warning, electronic emergency brake lights, intersection movement assist, “do not pass” warning, control loss warning, skid incident information system, congestion detection, and traveler information systems.