Saturday, July 22, 2017

WSP and TTI partner to advance transportation research

WSP USA and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) have signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly collaborate on creating a stronger connection between research and deployment of transportation systems management and operations (TSMO) as well as connected and automated vehicle solutions.

The agreement includes sharing expertise on research, transportation operations and management, and connected and automated vehicles. It also encourages educational and mentoring opportunities in which WSP would be involved in Texas A&M engineering class seminars and lectures as well as sponsoring engineering capstone design projects. The agreement also entails opportunities for TTI and Texas A&M engineering students to gain real-world experience on the day-to-day challenges facing leading transportation operations centers.

“TTI and WSP have a long history of collaborating, beginning with the early development of high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes,” says Greg Winfree, TTI agency director. “The staffs of both of our organizations have collaborated on projects all over the country to deploy best practices in planning and design of HOV facilities. We see similar opportunities with next-generation transportation technologies, such as connected and automated vehicles. By working together, we gain efficiencies in moving the most promising technologies from development into implementation.”

With technology increasing at such a rapid rate, transportation solutions need to incorporate technology advances to deliver cost-effective implementation today that will be compatible with the future direction of the transportation industry, according to John Porcari, president of U.S. advisory services at WSP. “We have adapted the capability maturity model to TSMO concepts, and together with TTI are positioned to incorporate connected and automated vehicle components into the existing TSMO efforts for our clients,” he explains. “Collaboration between leading researchers and everyday practitioners will help to better define needs for national and state sponsored research while helping agencies reflect the current state-of-the-practice in their efforts.”

WSP is a leader in the design, deployment, and operation of transportation systems in the United States, including intelligent transportation systems and connected vehicle technology. The firm has been at the forefront of the development and testing of transportation infrastructure for driverless and connected vehicles and is currently advising transportation agencies on the development of infrastructure to accommodate connected, automated, and driverless vehicles.

TTI is involved in transportation operations and technology research and operates a transportation proving grounds for testing research solutions. The Texas A&M proving grounds are a cornerstone of the nationally designated Texas Automated Vehicle Proving Grounds Partnership. The collaboration between WSP and TTI will expedite deploying proven research to transportation operating agencies and enhance the education and training of future transportation professionals.

WSP USA, formerly WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, is the U.S. operating company of a worldwide engineering and professional services firms—WSP. Dedicated to serving local communities, we are engineers, planners, technical experts, strategic advisors and construction management professionals. WSP USA designs solutions in the buildings, transportation, energy, water, and environment sectors. We have nearly 7,000 employees in 100 offices across the U.S. For more information, visit

The Texas A&M Transportation Institute develops solutions to the problems and challenges facing all modes of transportation. The Institute conducts over 700 research projects annually with over 200 sponsors at all levels of government and the private sector. In the laboratory and the classroom, TTI researchers help prepare students for transportation careers. Recognized as a higher education-affiliated transportation research agencies, TTI’s research and development program has resulted in significant breakthroughs across all facets of the transportation system. For more information, visit

Friday, July 14, 2017

Thomson Industries collaborates with research team to develop new Tesla coil designs

Thomson Industries, a manufacturer of mechanical motion control solutions, has donated a high-precision ball screw assembly to The Geek Group National Science Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to help develop revolutionary designs of Tesla Coils (TC). An ambitious R&D program has been initiated there to discover new uses for the TC with help from a new automated process for winding coils.

Thomson was selected because of their application engineering support and breadth of product offerings, which enabled delivery of an optimal complete ball screw assembly. That Thomson ball screw assembly will help The Geek Group’s high-energy engineering team convert from typical manual winding to a much faster, more accurate automated process for winding thousands of coils required to conduct their experiments.

A Thomson customer support engineer guided The Geek Group engineering team in selecting the exact configuration to best match their needs. The product selected was a quick-install ball screw assembly that avoids any precision problems that may result from assembling components on site. The final configuration consisted of a Thomson FSI Style ball nut along with an eight-foot-long ball screw just under an inch in diameter.

“We set our IRC team on the task of finding the best linear motion technology in the industry,” says Chris Boden, CEO of The Geek Group. “The team, composed of a couple hundred experts from many science and technology disciplines, analyzed about a dozen different products and concluded that only the Thomson drive could do exactly what we needed and exactly how we wanted to do it.”
The TC production program has already begun, and The Geek Group has plans for experimenting with larger coils in the future.

With more than 70 years in the motion control industry, Thomson produces linear ball bushing bearings, profile rail bearings, shafting, ground and rolled ball screws, linear actuators, gearheads, clutches, brakes, linear systems, and related accessories. Thomson invented the linear ball bushing bearing in 1945 and now serves global commercial, aerospace, and defense markets. Based in Radford, Virginia, Thomson has facilities in North America, Europe, and Asia with more than 2000 distributor locations around the world. For more information, visit

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Transportation infrastructure expert to lead FTCH's new Detroit office

Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber (FTCH), a 60-year-old architectural engineering firm, recently announced the addition of Regine Beauboeuf as director of client services and office lead for the firm's newest location in the city of Detroit. "We are excited to welcome Regine, especially as we continue to grow in Southeast Michigan," says Kamran Qadeer, FTCH senior vice president and principal. "She brings significant transportation infrastructure experience to our operations, tightening our focus on the region's increasingly complex needs as it grows  and changes."

Beauboeuf, a civil engineer with 33 years of large transportation project experience in the United States and Canada, recently joined FTCH after spending 13 years at global engineering and construction firm Parsons as vice president and board member of Parsons Transportation Group of Michigan. During her tenure, she served as project manager for the development of the Detroit River International Crossing. "I'm thrilled to be part of FTCH's expansion to Detroit to continue the firm's tradition of striking a safe and healthy balance between the environment and the region's rapidly modernizing and multifaceted infrastructure," she says.

The FTCH Detroit location, one of nine offices in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, is slated to officially open later this summer. Four additional engineers and scientists across various disciplines, along with support staff, are expected to be hired. The new office will plan, execute and oversee design, engineering, construction, and environmental sustainability projects for Detroit-based clientele.

Current projects led by the Detroit office include a study for rainwater harvesting and reuse at a major football stadium and replacement of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard over The Lodge (M-10), along with associated improvements such as extending the ramp north of The Lodge to Grand River Avenue (M-5). The Lodge project, including traffic signal replacement, signage upgrades, and total rehabilitation of Grand River Avenue from Cass Avenue to I-94, will significantly improve traffic flow in anticipation of increased vehicle traffic volume near the new stadium district. Just north of Detroit, FTCH recently employed nontraditional measures to rehabilitate the deteriorating Caddell Drain in the cities of Farmington and Farmington Hills to protect drinking water, property, and infrastructure.

Beauboeuf's extensive background includes 16 years as supervising engineer of the project development section for the Michigan Department of Transportation, managing a $3 billion budget with responsibility for all capacity improvements and new road projects for the State of Michigan. In this role, she oversaw development, budgeting, and scheduling of roadside programs, including major transportation projects, rest areas, and visitor welcome centers, landscapes, wetland mitigation sites, and noise abatement initiatives.

Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm appointed Beauboeuf, a registered Professional Engineer (PE), in 2004 to the Michigan Board of Professional Surveyors and the Michigan Board of Professional Engineers, serving as board chair. Beauboeuf currently serves on transportation and business management committees for the American Council of Engineering Companies and as secretary of the Michigan chapter of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO). Beauboeuf holds a Bachelor's degree in civil engineering and architecture from the University of Haiti and an MBA from Davenport University. She speaks French and Kreyol.

FTCH, a professional consulting firm with 400 team members in nine offices, provides engineering, environmental sciences, architecture, and construction management services through an integrated project approach for municipalities, universities, major retailers, transportation departments, and manufacturers. Team members consist of engineers, environmental scientists, architects, and construction professionals. For more information, visit