Show cover of Thinking Transportation: Engaging Conversations about Transportation Innovations

Thinking Transportation: Engaging Conversations about Transportation Innovations

Our ability to get from Point A to Point B is something lots of us take for granted. But transporting people and products across town or across the country every day is neither simple nor easy. Join us as we explore the challenges on Thinking Transportation, a podcast about how we get ourselves — and the things we need — from one place to another. Every other week, an expert from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute or other special guest will help us dig deep on a wide range of topics. Find out more: https://tti.tamu.edu/thinking-transportation/

Tracks

More Transit Agencies Are Jumping on the Battery-Powered Bandwagon.
Cities working to become leaders in clean transportation are electrifying their bus fleets, and learning that the road to success can be a bumpy one.
28:47 4/2/24
Neil Pedersen Has a Question: Are we willing to stick our necks out?
The former leader of TRB may have stepped away from full-time employment, but he hasn’t stepped away entirely from the industry he has helped to guide for half a century.
46:23 3/19/24
Roadside Mysteries: When utilities pose unique challenges for roadway construction.
Every road construction project involves the hidden element of utilities in the right of way. That work isn’t necessarily as visible, but it’s every bit as consequential. 
27:20 3/5/24
Is Public Transit Back to Pre-pandemic Normal? That depends on where you look.
The transit industry is better equipped to work through a public health crisis than it was before COVID-19. And even as it faces persistent challenges, public transportation continues to play a central role in everyday mobility.
32:22 2/22/24
Crash Data and an Aging Population Raise an Issue: How old is too old to drive?
Drivers over age 80 are more prone to serious and deadly crashes. As this population segment grows, researchers are working toward fresh countermeasures.
26:04 2/6/24
Behind the Wheel, What We Think and What We Do Can Define Who We Are.
Attitudes and behaviors related to driving reveal our traffic safety culture. Like other forms of culture, it has a way of changing over time— and not always for the better.
25:40 1/23/24
Out of Sight, Out of Mind: How it’s easy to overlook our reliance on GPS.
With near-magical precision, GPS applications reliably guide multiple functions for us every moment of every day. But as they hold great promise, those applications also face vulnerabilities.
32:58 1/2/24
How to Ensure That US Infrastructure Remains Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts.
America’s infrastructure was built to last, but it wasn’t built to last forever. The Center for Infrastructure Renewal is focusing on how to ensure the resilience of the collective physical systems that America runs upon. 
17:54 12/12/23
Can Imperiled Creatures Survive and Thrive amid Widespread Roadway Construction?
The well-being of creatures protected under the Endangered Species Act is a high priority for transportation agencies. That’s good for the critters, and for agency operations as well. 
39:36 11/28/23
Can Solar Panels in Highway ROW Be the Next Big Step in Renewable Energy?
In using roadsides for the collection of solar power, can we succeed in achieving both environmental and economic goals? It all depends on how you define “success.”
25:22 11/7/23
We Rank the 2,138 Most Congested Roads in Texas. Is your daily drive on the list?
Traffic congestion is relative, because what constitutes gridlock depends a lot on where you live. Clearly, though, it’s no longer just a big city problem. 
29:23 10/24/23
Revisited--Big and Bright: The view from TxDOT CEO Marc Williams’ Chair.
As we gather for the 97th Annual Transportation Short Course, we're revisiting our interview with Texas Department of Transportation CEO Marc Williams from approximately one year ago. Despite some Texas-sized mobility challenges and worldwide supply-chain obstacles, the guy in charge of the Texas Department of Transportation wants you to know he’s never been more optimistic about our transportation future.
38:28 10/10/23
Alone in the Crowd: Long-haul truckers fight isolation through satellite connections.
Thousands of long-haul truck drivers in America share a common and constant challenge of remoteness. They find insight and community through the vast reach of satellite radio. 
25:18 9/26/23
When Mobility Needs Are Like Snowflakes: TTI’s outposts focus on singular urban challenges.
 It’s been said that all politics is local. Given the unique nature of major population centers everywhere, the same could be said for transportation. 
32:04 9/12/23
Minor Stress Factors Can Cause Major Problems, Even in the Best Driving Conditions
Obvious pressures when we’re driving on the roadways—like aggressive drivers, stormy weather, and unruly passengers—are widely recognized. But less conspicuous triggers can compromise safety, too. 
30:37 8/29/23
Lofty Ambitions Are Fueling the Move Toward Sustainable Transportation
Decarbonizing the transportation sector—the single-biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions—won’t happen overnight. But the U.S. Department of Energy has a plan.
29:15 8/15/23
One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: Pedestrian deaths are at a 40-year high.
The dangers for those who travel on foot have constituted a public health challenge for as long as we’ve had motor vehicles. Why are pedestrian deaths increasing so fast? And what can be done to stem the tide?
30:01 8/1/23
What If? ... How modelers envision the worst to enable the best response.
Disasters – whether natural or man-made – can cripple transportation systems. Sophisticated modeling can go a long way in minimizing disruptions and restoring routine conditions. 
24:06 7/18/23
Is America’s Infrastructure Turning a Corner?
Two years have passed since America’s last road and bridge report card, and we’ll wait another two years for the next one. An unofficial mid-term grade suggests that conditions are improving.
30:50 7/6/23
The Texas Transportation Hall of Honor: Recognizing vision, passion, and purpose.
Texas owes its transportation primacy in large part to an elite group of visionary leaders whose contributions merit permanent and meaningful places in the Lone Star State’s history.
26:17 6/20/23
Fewer Motorcycle Safety Coaches, More Unlicensed Riders, More Crashes: Is there a link?
In recent years, roughly half of the motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes in Texas were unlicensed. Safety advocates are working to enlist more instructors who can help riders develop the safety skills they need.
39:48 6/6/23
Charging Ahead: How the Electrified Mobility Collaborative envisions a radical shift.
Nearly 300 million vehicles are on American roads today. Nearly all of them run on gasoline or diesel, so a large-scale shift to electric power would be transformative. A new Texas A&M University System venture is working to figure out how that might work. 
27:21 5/25/23
For Bernie Wagenblast, both career and life have been all about transition.
As a transportation journalist, Bernie Wagenblast has been weaving narratives of a professional sort for more than 40 years. As it turns out, one of her most recent stories is more personal.
28:30 5/9/23
Hidden Treasures: Remote community airports play an essential role in Texas life.
The value that small general aviation airports deliver far exceeds what their modest size might suggest. To many local government officials, those facilities represent “the most valuable mile of pavement in the county.”
27:26 4/27/23
Revisited--Highway to the Danger Zone: Hazards abound where road work advances.
As we’re about to observe National Work Zone Awareness Week and in light of a work zone crash last month in Maryland, in which 6 workers were killed, we're revisiting a discussion with TTI's Jerry Ullman, research engineer and highway work zone safety expert. The number of fatal crashes in America is up by about 7 percent over the past decade. But in roadway work zones, it’s up by more than 40 percent. Jerry discusses why those work zones are dangerous not only for those who work in them, but for those who navigate them as well. 
22:27 4/11/23
Off the Rails, On the QT: Train derailments happen daily, though few grab our attention.
Major railroad disasters tend to produce major news headlines, but there are hundreds of derailments each year in America that we never hear about. Why is that?
26:52 3/30/23
Turning the Tables: When a transportation journalist is the one answering, not asking, the questions.
It’s been said that journalists are responsible for writing the first draft of history. As the transportation writer for the Houston Chronicle, Dug Begley has been crafting that city’s mobility story for more than a decade. 
29:00 3/14/23
Engineering a Career Path: Sometimes, a 7th grade dream can actually come true.
Even after wrapping up a 46-year stretch at TTI, Tim Lomax still enjoys the adrenaline rush that comes from finding new traffic challenges, and fixing them. 
30:08 2/28/23
One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Maintaining our roadway infrastructure demands a varied scientific approach.
America’s roads were built to last, but they weren’t built to last forever. New research is taking a forensic approach to maintaining and repairing our surface transportation infrastructure.
29:12 2/14/23
Bent, But Not Broken: How global supply chains demonstrate post-pandemic resilience.
Most of what we buy and use every day comes to us on cargo ships, which represent essential links in worldwide distribution systems. A global public health crisis reminded us of how important they really are.
22:07 1/31/23

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