TCNJ Magazine Fall 2019

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30 The College of New Jersey Magazine "you get killed" sticking to the limit — but in the way words come tumbling from his mouth: bumper-to-bumper, with lots of lane changes and hard turns. He's also a wrestler, serving as an academic advisor to the TCNJ varsity team on which the Dinger twins compete. BRENNAN SAYS he's trying to cultivate at TCNJ a previously nonexistent atmosphere of traffic research and collaboration with outside agencies, forging working relationships with the state Department of Transportation and Rutgers University; serving on boards of professional organizations such as the Intelligent Transportation Society of New Jersey; pushing his "kids" to get their research published and apply for scholarships; and bringing in nearly half a million dollars in research contracts since his hiring. BRENNAN GREW UP in National Park, New Jersey, a small town on the Delaware River about 45 miles south of TCNJ. Though neither of his parents had gone to college, and he'd never met an engineer, he followed the advice of teachers who noted his skills at math and decided to study engineering when he landed at Purdue University as an undergrad. He started out in aeronautics but soon realized, he says, that he was a "plus-or-minus-a foot sort of person" in a field in which accuracy is measured in micrometers. So he changed his focus to civil engineering, hitting the books hard when not in class or playing lacrosse with a club team, or at his night job as a bar bouncer — a human toll booth, if you will. At George Mason University, where he earned his master's degree, he did research on HOV lanes, working for the first time with "primitive GPS sorts of devices," he says. "And I'm like, 'I love this, this is actually fun,'" he says. "We're in the field. We're doing studies. Can you do this as a job?" He returned to Purdue to earn his doctorate, then turned his attention to research and teaching, and was hired by TCNJ in 2013. A prolific author and co-author of academic papers, Brennan's also a speeder. Not so much on roadways — well, OK, he admits to driving five miles per hour over the limit on highways, because During peak hours, the intersection of I-95 and State Route 4 in Fort Lee is the most congested spot in the country. In 1955, Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken designed the ubiquitous concrete Jersey barrier. Among the latter is one on so-called Jersey barriers. You know, those tapered concrete slabs that separate cars and trucks traveling in opposite directions on highways. Though they weigh up to 6,000 pounds, "Jersey barriers get lost, believe it or not," Brennan says. And an Edison-based company that helps construction contractors keep track of them has asked him to "put radios in them" to monitor them via the Internet of Things as they travel between work sites and storage yards, a

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