American Road and Transportation Builders Association honors Texas A&M civil engineering professor with the John 'Jake' Landen Safety Award
Dr. H. Gene Hawkins, a professor in the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University, has been named this year’s public-sector recipient for the John “Jake” Landen Memorial Highway Safety Award. The annual award is supported by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association and Traffic Safety Industry Division, and recognizes individuals from public and private sectors who have made significant contributions to roadway infrastructure safety.
Previously, Hawkins was the former division head of the transportation and materials division within the department, and before joining the department he was a research engineer with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute for 18 years. Hawkins has done extensive research studies and presentations on traffic control devices and the manual on uniform traffic control devices that involve evaluating signs, markings and other traffic control devices.
“Although signs and markings can be taken by granted by some users, they play a pivotal role in our ability to travel safely from one place to another,” Hawkins said. “As simple as signs and markings are, I have spent most of my professional career researching ways of making them better.”
Hawkins has been the principal investigator or co-principal investigator on more than 20 research projects with a cumulative budget of $6 million. His research interests include traffic control infrastructure, retroreflectivity and visibility of traffic signs and pavement markings, driver response to traffic control devices, traffic engineering policy and guidelines, signal design, work zone traffic control, freeway operations, and historical aspects of transportation engineering.
According to Hawkins, the award was unexpected. He said that he first became interested in traffic safety as a child when his father, who was also a traffic engineer, was explaining signs, markings and signals to a young boy
“I’ve worked with many great people during my career in consulting, research and education,” said Hawkins. “I learned a lot from them and they deserve a part of this award as much as I do.”