The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recognized Robert Wunderlich, director of the Center for Transportation Safety at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), with a Public Service Award. Wunderlich’s plaque reads: “For your dedication to saving lives on our highways by championing data-driven traffic safety initiatives.”
This year’s Public Service Awards were presented April 1 at the 2019 Lifesavers Conference on Highway Safety Priorities in Louisville, Kentucky. The Lifesavers Conference is the country’s largest gathering of highway safety professionals. NHTSA first bestowed Public Service Awards last year to “celebrate and thank our hard-working partners who exemplify the highest levels of dedication to improving highway safety throughout the country.”
“I view this award as the culmination of work by all the researchers and staff within the Center for Transportation Safety,” Wunderlich said. “I just happen to be honored to be the director.”
NHTSA Region 6 Administrator Maggi Gunnels nominated Wunderlich for the award, noting that he “shines as a longtime supporter of traffic safety stakeholder work groups and teams such as the Texas Statewide Pedestrian Safety Coalition.… His passion for traffic safety is infectious, unparalleled, and to be celebrated.”
As leader of TTI’s Center for Transportation Safety, Wunderlich continues his career dedicated to improving traffic safety through leading-edge research in the areas of safety and policy analysis. With innovative educational and outreach programs, he’s championed positive behavioral change in drivers, cyclists and pedestrians—not just in Texas but worldwide. Most recently, he led the development of the current version of the Texas Strategic Highway Safety Plan, a roadmap that leverages advocacy groups, strategies and public-sector agencies to advance traffic safety while striving to minimize injuries and fatalities across all transportation modes in the Lone Star State.
“We have placed a huge emphasis on using research data to inform us about what we need to do to improve safety; data-driven research has become a hallmark of what we do at the center,” he said, addressing attendees at the ceremony. “It’s a great feeling to know that our work has received some attention through this award. It is a great honor.”