Announcing an ambitious goal of doubling its research over the next 5 to 7 years, TTI’s CTS Director John Mounce addressed members of the center’s advisory council, Oct. 6, in College Station.
The annual gathering of advisory members took on special significance — CTS celebrates its 10-year anniversary this year.
“We’ve been appropriated $6 million in our 10 years,” Mounce told the 10 voluntary council members. “But we’ve procured $36 million dollars in research during that time.” Mounce told the gathering that CTS hopes to double that research funding by 2018, acknowledging the goal as a lofty one considering the current economy.
The CTS Advisory Council is designed to assist, guide and oversee the center activities. The 10 members represent a wide section of safety and engineering professions, most of whom have transportation-related careers.
“You come at this from very different points of view,” Executive Associate Agency Director Bill Stockton said in welcoming the council members on behalf of the Institute. “Of all the things TTI is doing, there is none more important than what’s being done here at the safety center. This is where we have a real human impact. We appreciate your willingness to come. It’s a great opportunity to get your feedback and direction.”
Council members were updated on many of the center’s ongoing projects: seat belt-monitoring efforts, distracted and impaired driving research, red-light camera studies and teen driver safety efforts.
“For every one-percent increase in belt use in Texas, there are 25 fewer fatalities and 586 fewer serious injuries,” Senior Research Scientist Katie Womack, who leads the center’s occupant-restraint surveys, told the group. And during his presentation, TDS Director Russell Henk said, “Texas is the only state that has had a significant drop each and every year [over the last 7 years]….and TDS is certainly part of that.”
During the open-discussion section of the meeting, council members asked numerous questions about various specific research efforts designed to save lives.
In pointing out the importance of continuing the CTS safety effort, Mounce told the group that Texas’ fatality rate dropped nearly 25 percent over the last 8 years. “In terms of comprehensive societal costs, the lower number of deaths and serious injuries has meant a savings to the state of approximately $22 billion,” he said.