Student organization TAMUite visits Houston TranStar, learns about Houston transportation system

TranStar 2The student chapter of the Institute of Transportation Engineers at Texas A&M University (TAMUite) recently took a field trip to Houston TranStar. Houston TranStar is a unique partnership of representatives from the City of Houston, Harris County, METRO and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), who share resources and exchange information under one roof to keep motorists informed, roadways clear and lives safe in the fourth most populated city in the United States.

Thirteen student members of TAMUite had the opportunity to learn about how the transportation system of Houston is managed and sustained. The visit began with a tour of TranStar’s Emergency Operations Center. This is where representatives from each of the four partners that make up TranStar, along with representatives from the United States Army, the Salvation Army, the Harris County Toll Road Authority, the Amateur Radio Operator volunteers, the American Red Cross and area local governments, come together to manage transportation emergencies during both man-made and natural disasters.

TranStar 1After touring the facility students met with Mike Pietrzyk, the assistant director of transportation management systems in the TxDOT Houston District. Pietrzyk and the students discussed TxDOT’s Intelligent Transportation Systems, particularly the ones on video analytics for automated incident detection, the TranStar Asset Management System, smart work zones, measuring and reporting travel time reliability, dynamic ramp metering, flood warning stations and more.

The trip was a valuable insight for the students into the reality of transportation engineering in practice. TAMUite seeks to promote the advancement of transportation engineering by fostering a closer relationship between students and the transportation profession. TAMUite hopes to promote the development of professional spirit, and to identify and address common transportation interests among the student members.

For more information and events on TAMUite, visit