Jeff Tsai, the director of Pupil Transportation at the Institute for Transportation Research and Education, accepted an award on behalf of the Pupil Transportation group at the North Carolina Transportation Hall of Fame 2005 Induction Ceremony in High Point. The very first Perley A. Thomas Award was given to the Pupil Transportation group for achievement and innovation in the field of School Bus Transportation. The award was named after the founder of Thomas Built Buses, a High Point , North Carolina School Bus design company and national leader in the school bus industry. This honor was presented by Rick Klinedinst, vice president of human resources for Thomas Built Buses.
The pupil transportation program at the Institute for Transportation Research and Education (ITRE) has received local, state, and national recognition in three areas over the 26 years of its existence. First in pupil transportation research in the early 1980’s, which dealt with issues of school bus safety, camera enforcement, seatbelts on school buses, and the use of GPS on school buses. These activities culminated in the creation of the school transportation group in 1999 and graduating the first Ph.D. student (and now a professor) with a focus in school transportation.
Second, this group has pioneered the development and training of the Transportation Information Management System, better known as TIMS. In fact, North Carolina is still the only state in the nation with a statewide implementation of this computer-assisted school bus routing system.
Third, is the Operations Research/ Education laboratory, where the pupil transportation group uses a model of, “Integrated Planning for School and Community,” to inform school system planning and decision-making in the state on factors such as e enrollment forecasting and land use and their effects of long-term decisions related to school site locations and redistricting. This long track record of successes will continue to have a positive impact on the safety, operations, and long-term viability of school transportation in North Carolina .
In addition to the award to the pupil transportation group, the North Carolina Transportation Hall of Fame (NCTHF) awarded a NCTHF Founder’s award to the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer , NC and inducted seven other key individuals in North Carolina transportation. Those include: Robert Barnhill, Sr., Earl Congdon, Jr., Paul D. Cribbins , Thomas H. Davis, Herman J. Hoose, John Motley Morehead, and Billy Rose. NC Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary David King, was Master of Ceremonies and Arnold B. McKinnon of Norfolk Southern Corporation presented the keynote speech. McKinnon exclaimed, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet in transportation,” to the nearly 300 transportation professionals present at the event.
The North Carolina Transportation Hall of Fame celebrates North Carolina ’s transportation history by recognizing achievements in transportation and honoring those for their part in the success or impact on North Carolina ’s transportation. Their mission is “to promote a better understanding of and appreciation for all past, present and future transportation modes and facilities in North Carolina .” NCTHF strives to recognize and promote past, present and future accomplishments, to memorialize the history of transportation modes and facilities, and to promote and support transportation education and research. For more information on the NC Transportation Hall of Fame visit: www.ncthf.org.
The pupil transportation program group is a part of the Institute for Transportation Research and Education. ITRE is administered by North Carolina State University , is a non-profit organization that conducts research, education, and technical assistance projects on a wide variety of surface transportation issues with the goals of solving problems and creating new products, better services, and smarter workers. ITRE is located on NCSU’s Centennial Campus. For more information about ITRE and related programs, please visit our Web site at www.itre.ncsu.edu