Nation’s No. 2 transportation official gets up-close view of Tech researchers’ innovations

U.S. Transportation Deputy Secretary Victor Mendez spent July 27 at Georgia Tech learning some of the ways researchers are helping to improve the design, monitoring and creation of transportation infrastructure.

Deputy Secretary Mendez's visit included conversations with School of Civil and Environmental Engineering students and faculty members as well as a roundtable conversation on investing in the nation’s roads and bridges, economic growth and strengthening American manufacturing.

Deputy Secretary of Transportation Victor Mendez, left, and Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson at a morning roundtable with faculty and students. The conversation included Karen and John Huff School Chair Reginald DesRoches and Associate Professor Michael Hunter, director of the Georgia Transportation Institute and the National Center for Transportation Systems Productivity and Management. (Photo by Laura Means.)


Top left: Mendez, left, talks with fifth-year Ph.D. student Alejandro Martinez about his research on strengthening the interaction between foundations and the soil around them. “My topic is very technical, so it was really nice to see him ask really good questions about the technical details,” Martinez said. “I think he’s really interested, even though most of the projects here are dealing more with transportation issues, mine could have implications on transportation. He could see the benefit of my work and how it relates to transportation.” (Photo by Carly Queen.)

Top right: Mendez talks about bus scheduling with Simon Berrebi, another Ph.D. student. Berrebi has been working on improving the reliability and predictability of bus scheduling. (Photo by Joshua Stewart.)

Bottom left: A member of Mendez’s staff looks at tablet computer with Ph.D. student Alice Grossman. She presented a project that uses a custom-built rig to assess sidewalks. (Photo by Joshua Stewart.)

Bottom right: Ph.D. student Adnan Sheikh tells Mendez about his study of the Interstate 85 high-occupancy toll lanes northeast of Atlanta. “When I told him that we see a lot of similarities in how different users choose lanes, he was interested in why that might be and how these results might be different. Because we see in other places that that’s not generally the case,” Sheikh said. “He mentioned that and was wondering why it might be different here.” (Photo by Joshua Stewart.)