MNTRC Newsletter Vol 19, Issue 2: Fall 2012

San Jose State University News

Bicycling research in high demand

by Karen Philbrick, PhD
Director, Research

Photo by Ted Sweeney

Bicycling is a growing trend in many cities around the world.

The Mineta Transportation Institute’s research reports on bicycling have proven very popular. This year alone, they have logged more than 100,000 downloads from the MTI web site.

Of particular interest are MTI’s reports on bikesharing and low-stress bicycle network connectivity. Over the past two months each has been downloaded nearly twice as many times as any other MTI report.

We will continue on this topic with additional research now in progress through the Mineta National Transit Research Consortium. Reports that have been completed over the last two years can be downloaded for free on the Research Publications page of the MTI web site. They include:

As non-motorized transportation becomes more popular, our ongoing research will contribute greatly to helping urban planners, transportation engineers, policymakers, and others obtain the necessary data to make accurate decisions.

MSTM alumni make waves

by Peter Haas, PhD
Director, MTI education PROGRAMS

Alumni from MTI’s Master of Science in Transportation Management have gone on to outstanding careers.

Ahron Hakimi leads the local COG

Here in California, Kern County’s Council of Governments appointed alumnus Ahron R. Hakimi as the agency’s seventh executive director. The agency is responsible for transportation planning among local governments, the Golden Empire Transit District, the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Transit Administration, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), and other stakeholders. Ahron, a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve and a registered civil engineer, helped build roads in Iraq. He also has a long career with Caltrans.

Boris Deunert wins Emerson Rhyner Award

Alumnus Boris Deunert, a senior environmental planner with Caltrans, won the Emerson Rhyner Award, which recognizes contributions to transportation by non-engineering Caltrans managers. His significant contributions have delivered a greatly improved working relationship with his department’s external partners. He’s also helped to increase productivity in his department’s function, all during a year with added workload and staff furloughs. This increase, along with his innovation, has streamlined collaboration among public agencies and benefited taxpayers as more infrastructure projects were built with fewer resources.

Michael Litschi wins Parker Award

The Council of University Transportation Centers presented the coveted Neville A. Parker Award to alumnus Michael Litschi, a section manager at the Orange County (Calif.) Transportation Authority. His paper, Video-Based Driver Risk Management Systems: Evaluating Effectiveness at Improving Transit Safety, won the award for an outstanding non-thesis paper in policy and planning. Earlier in the year, Michael was named MTI’s Student of the Year.

These are just a sample of the strides our graduates have made in their transportation careers. Learn more about our Master of Science in Transportation Management.

Our dance card has been full

by Donna Maurillo, mstm
director, communications & Technology transfer
Shared bikes
2012 Garrett Morgan winners from Morada Middle School meet with Secretary of Transportation (ret) Norman Mineta (left) and MTI Board Chair Steve Heminger (right).

The Mineta Transportation Institute has been running double-time this year, with a calendar brimming with presentations and special events.

Attend our high-speed rail workshop

MTI has been invited to organize a day-long workshop on high-speed rail at the annual Transportation Research Board conference in Washington DC. We will announce the program in our next newsletter, but put it on your calendar for Sunday, January 20, in the Blue Room at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. With national plans for high-speed rail shaping up, this will be an ideal place to learn all about it.

Board meeting included airport tour

This past June, our board held its summer meeting in a conference room at Mineta San Jose International Airport. We were given a behind-the-scenes tour of airport operations, where we saw how precisely baggage is handled and screened. It was truly funny to see Secretary Norman Mineta wearing an Escort Required badge around the airport that was named for him.

Executive director speaks on high-speed rail

In August, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) presented a free podcast as part of its monthly Transportation Innovation Series. The program, which can be viewed online, featured MTI Executive Director Rod Diridon presenting on California High-Speed Rail and Why It’s Important for the Nation.

In September, he spoke at Podcar City Berlin on the interconnectivity between these people movers and high-speed rail. Then he went on to Uppsala, Sweden to help develop a collaborative relationship between MTI and Uppsala University.

Building international partnerships

MTI also has developed collaborative relationships with entities in China, India, and Japan. Earlier this year, we hosted a visiting scholar from the Shanghai's China Academy of Transportation Sciences. During his two-month stay, he learned about American transit systems and how they operate.

Garrett Morgan competition underway

This month, MTI will be ramping up for its annual Garrett Morgan Sustainable Transportation Competition. This involves teams of middle-school students who develop and present their ideas for greener mobility. The competition is delivered in March by way of national teleconferencing, so students participate with live streaming. Winning teams receive cash prizes for their classrooms, and the top team receives a plaque at our annual awards banquet in June. One special feature is that the U.S. Secretary of Transportation always participates, answering direct questions from the students. The 2012 winning team came from Morada Middle School in Stockton, Calif.

The MTI and MNTRC web sites have updated information about all events and current research. Everything is free for download.