Dr. Robert Harrison
The Centre for Transportation Research, University of Texas at Austin
Robert Harrison is a Senior Research Scientist and the Deputy Director at the Center for Transportation Research (CTR), The University of Texas at Austin. He has worked in the area of transportation planning for over 30 years and has published extensively in the areas of economic impat studies, trade issues, cost/benefit analysis, and transport sector planning. His research studies have been funded by various organizations, including: the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), the University Transportation Centers Program (UTCP), the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, and the World Bank. He has also undertaken a number of trade and transportation studies in a wide variety of countries. More recently, these have focused on NAFTA trade corridors and inland ports, Texas‐Mexico border trade issues, and the major markets served by the Texas gulf ports. He has contributed to over 25 Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reports on these subjects, has published over 40 peer‐reviewed papers, has made presentations to senior U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) staff, and has given testimony at a number of Texas Senate hearings.
Mr. Harrison is a past president of the U.S. Transportation Research Forum (TRF) and currently serves as an Associate Editor of the TRF quarterly publication. He is currently Chair of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Intermodal Freight Terminal Design and Operations Committee (AT050), and a member of the TRB Committees on Motor Vehicle Size and Weight (AT055), International Trade and Transportation (AT020) and Agricultural Transportation (AT030). He also served as the UT‐Austin representative of the Texas Ports and Waterways Center consortium.
He holds a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from the University of Durham, England. After completing a period of post‐graduate research with Gilbert Walker, Michael Beesley, and Sir Alan Walters, he held tenured teaching positions first at the University of Birmingham and then at the University of Aston in Birmingham, England from 1969 to 1976. Between 1976 and 1982, he was the economist on the United Nations and Brazilian Government highway research project that lead to the development of the World Bank Highway Design and Maintenance Model (HDM), which is now used throughout the world. Subsequently, he worked as a consultant to the World Bank, first‐co‐authoring a publication on vehicle operating costs with Andrew Chesher, then working on a variety of transport sector projects in Latin America and Africa. During this time, he also held honorary research fellowships at both the University of Birmingham and the University of Bristol, England.
In 1987 he joined CTR, where he was responsible for the economics and program management of the Pavement group. In 1991, he was promoted to Research Scientist and made Associate Director of CTR, responsible for assisting the Director in managing the substantial TxDOT program at CTR. His research program since that time has covered a variety of economic issues, including the impact of loops and bypasses, rest area privatization, toll road feasibility, bridge needs along the Texas‐Mexico border, and the development of a multi‐modal investment process. During this time, he helped foster relationships between CTR staff and faculty at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas, and collaborated with Dr. Leigh Boske (LBJ School) and Dr. John McCray (UTSA) on a number of U.S.‐Mexico trade and transportation studies. He has also worked on a number of Southwest Region VI UTCP studies, particularly related to multi‐modal corridor analysis. He has since been further promoted to Senior Research Scientist and Deputy Director, to more accurately reflect his administrative responsibilities and $2 million research program.
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