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TRB Executive Committee Chair Nathan Ford, left to right, stands with a CEE team that includes postdoctoral student Abubakr Ziedan, Associate Professor Candace Brakewood, master’s student Ashley Hightower, former master’s student Cassidy Crossland, and TRB Executive Director Victoria Sheehan. Team members are holding their copies of the William Millar Award, which they won for best paper.

CEE Students, Brakewood Earn William Millar Award for Paper

Three CEE students and Associate Professor Candace Brakewood were awarded the Transportation Research Board’s (TRB) William Millar Award for the Best Paper on Public Transportation for their work, “Current Practices and Potential Rider Benefits of Fare Capping Policies in the United States.”

The paper explored the use of fare capping policies in real-world public transportation networks around the US, where the maximum amount a transit rider can pay in a day, week, or month is capped at a certain amount. The policy encourages frequent use of public transportation while reducing costs for those who might not have another option, such as the elderly, riders from low-income households, or riders with disabilities.

“I am very honored that our paper was selected for TRB’s William W. Millar award. I have been extremely fortunate to work with a great team of researchers, including Dr. Candace Brakewood and Dr. Abubakr Ziedan,” said Ashley Hightower, the lead author on the paper. “Without their support, getting an award for my first published paper would not have been possible.”

Hightower is currently a graduate student pursuing her MS in civil engineering at UT. Other contributors to the paper include Ziedan, who is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the department, then-masters student Cassidy Crossland who has since graduated, and Brakewood.

“After graduation I would like to move to a larger city so I can work on improving the state of public transit systems in the US,” Hightower added. “My goal is to work for a private engineering consulting firm after I earn my masters.”

This is the second year in a row that a paper from Brakewood’s research group has won this highly selective Millar award from TRB, something that reflects well on the department.

“Given that only one paper gets the award each year, and it is selected from several hundred papers submitted to the Transportation Research Board’s Annual Meeting about public transportation, that’s a great accomplishment,” said Brakewood.

The award was created in 2012 in honor of William Millar who served as an executive in multiple transportation industry roles. The award was presented at the Thomas B. Deen Distinguished Lecture and Presentation of Awards on January 9th, 2023, at the Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington, DC.