As current President of the Council of University Transportation Centers, CAIT Associate Director Dr. Patrick Szary presided over the 2023 CUTC Awards Banquet and Annual Winter Meeting at TRB this year. The banquet celebrated outstanding university students and their research accomplishments throughout multiple modes of transportation, and was attended by hundreds of professionals across industry, academia, and government.
Every year, the Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC) hosts a winter Membership Meeting and Awards Banquet during TRB to celebrate and recognize outstanding UTC students and faculty who contribute to transportation research.
Welcoming remarks were made at the Awards Banquet by a video from US Secretary of Transportation Mr. Pete Buttigieg.
He congratulated the CUTC students being honored and recognized their contributions to transportation research.
“You have investigated how to make infrastructure more resilient in some of the most vulnerable parts of the country facing climate change, you’ve developed new tools that could save lives on our roadways, you’ve deepened our understanding of the relationships between transportation and food, housing and more.” He said in the video. “Those are just a few examples of the kinds of projects that we honor today, representing just some of the accomplishments that you will attain throughout your careers in transportation.”
The Awards Banquet celebrated the important benefits of federal investment in university transportation research—specifically the outstanding students and faculty who contribute to transportation research and education through this important program.
Geoffrey Vega from the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico was recognized as CAIT’s Outstanding Student of the Year for his research in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria that investigated damage to critical bridges, traffic signs, and infrastructure.
National Local Technical Assistance Program Association Winter Business Meeting
Janet Leli, Director of the New Jersey Local Technical Assistance Program (NJLTAP) and Associate Director of Technology Transfer at CAIT, joined colleague centers from around the United States and Puerto Rico in the National Local Technical Assistance Program Association Winter Business Meeting.
The day’s agenda included a speech from Amy Lucero, FHWA’s Associate Administrator for the Office of Transportation Workforce Development and Technology Deployment.
National Local Technical Assistance Program Association (NLTAPA) partners from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, National Association of County Engineers, and the American Public Works Association, as well as multiple FHWA program offices, were also involved.
Rutgers Asphalt Pavement Lab
Director of the Rutgers Asphalt Pavement Laboratory at CAIT, Dr. Tom Bennert, presented and participated in multiple workshops and sessions at TRB ranging from balanced mix designs to fracture tests and modeling.
In Workshop 1022, “The Effect of Asphalt Supply on Balanced Mix Design,” Dr. Bennert presented case studies on the role of asphalt in Balanced Mix Design and the Northeastern US experience.
Asphalt binder continues to undergo change, and the raw materials upon which asphalt is based remain variable. Practically all refineries employ a blend of crudes and the various processes that generate residues susceptible to entering the asphalt pool may change from time to time depending on various economic drivers. Successful execution of balanced mix design needs a body of knowledge on which mix designers can base decisions pertaining to material selection to meet mixture physical property test requirements.
The workshop brought together critical topics and expert speakers to explore how Balanced Mix Design principles are influenced by the ever-changing characteristics of changing asphalt binder supplies.