William W. Hunter
Senior Research Scientist
William ("Bill") W. Hunter, a civil and transportation engineer, has been using engineering and evaluation methodology to study highway safety issues for three decades. He is now a Senior Researcher at UNC HSRC. He was an Associate Director for many years before retiring on January 31, 2003. He currently is working half time. Bill has authored more than 100 articles and reports during his notable career at the HSRC. His project experience includes studies of bicyclists and pedestrians, roadway engineering studies, occupant restraints, and a variety of other activities.
Arriving at the UNC Highway Safety Research Center in 1972, Bill's first decade focused on roadway and roadside safety, as well as his first attempts at analyzing North Carolina bicycle crash data. Through the 1980's Hunter and other HSRC researchers worked to increase North Carolina seatbelt compliance rates from 14 percent in 1983 to today's rate of 83 percent. This included pioneering work with the use of economic incentives to encourage restraint use. Programs were instituted and evaluated in schools, businesses, and entire communities. He also participated in the early development of studies to determine the occupant restraint use for the State of North Carolina using probability sampling. And in the early 1990's, Bill was a primary contributor to the National Bicycling and Walking Study, offering a plan of action to double the percentage of bicycling and walking trips in the United States while decreasing the number of crash-related injuries and deaths by 10 percent.
Bill's more recent studies have concentrated on evaluating the safety of bicycle facilities such as the "blue bicycle lanes" used in Portland, Ore., and shared lane markings (sharrows), developed to inform bicyclists and motorists when a portion of a road is designated for shared use. Hunter managed the project to develop the BIKESAFE Web site for the Federal Highway Administration. He has also managed two separate studies to determine the bicycle helmet use rate for the State of North Carolina.
Bill also has considerable experience with roadside safety features, having served as chair of the TRB Committee on Roadside Safety Features for six years. He has performed various evaluations of guardrail and median barrier and associated end treatments, and recent activity here includes the evaluation of a three-strand cable median barrier system in the Research Triangle Area of North Carolina. Evaluations of other traffic control measures may also be found in his resume.