IRF Essay Student Winner - Jeff Thiele

January 12, 2009

Congratulations to Civil Engineering graduate student Jeff Thiele, one of the five winners of the International Road Federation's annual student essay competition. An international panel of judges graded essays submitted under five separate categories. Jeff Thiele's essay won the "Innovative Financing" category.

Mr. Thieles essay, "Road Pricing to Reduce Congestion, Pollution, and Injury Accidents¯" suggests that road pricing can be used to reduce congestion, pollution, and accidents, resulting in fewer injuries on our nation's roads. The growth of demand for transportation in our country is consistently outpacing the increase in supply, a trend which is clearly unsustainable. Additionally, congestion and injury/fatality accidents cost the national economy over $250 billion in 2005, and whether or not climate change is a threat, reducing our nation's consumption of oil would help our economy and improve our national security. Thiele's essay discusses various types of road tolls and fuel taxes which could help in all of these areas.

I spent a good deal of time preparing several drafts of the essay, and thought it had a chance of winning when I submitted it. But with the new school year and everything else going on, I hadn't thought about it in a while, so I was completely surprised,"¯ said Theile. I'm very thankful to the International Road Federation for this award, and I'm honored that my essay was selected as a winner.¯

Ron Faller, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Civil Engineering professor and Thiele's supervisor is very proud of his student's accomplishment: It is a tremendous honor and achievement for Jeff to be selected by IRF's review panel for writing the winning essay in the international competition. For this essay, Jeff's dedication and approach is representative of the academic rigor that he has devoted to his engineering studies and graduate research. The students of the University of Nebraska, College of Engineering have continued to demonstrate that they are amongst the best around the world in writing creative, thought-provoking, essays on the real issues facing society today.¯