Summer 2016

News Briefs

North Carolina State University student receives 2016 HSRC scholarship

The winner of the 2016 Megan Cornog Memorial Highway Safety Scholarship is Yulin Deng. Yulin is a student at North Carolina State University, where she is pursuing a doctoral degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering. Her research interests include applying ergonomic knowledge to roadway and in-vehicle design for transportation safety improvement.

Currently, Yulin is investigating the effects of on-road signs on driver attention allocation and performance. Under the guidance of Dr. David Kaber, more than 100 drivers have participated in a driving simulator experiment Yulin designed to collect speed and lane deviations data in various conditions. Specifically, Yulin and her research team measure the effects of different logo panels, the use of pictorial versus text-based logo signs, and driver familiarity with signs. The team also observes drivers’ gaze patterns using an eye tracking system.

“Human factors engineering is an exciting field because it has many applications in terms of human performance and safety in the transportation system,” said Yulin. “I am pleased to be named HSRC’s 2016 Highway Safety Scholarship recipient, and plan to continue my research and investigate application of on-road design with the ultimate goal of improving safety and reducing driver distraction on our roadways in North Carolina and beyond.”

Yulin will present about her research at HSRC during a Lunch ‘N Learn session on August 31, 2016, from 12-1:30 p.m. EDT. To attend the free session in person or remotely, please RSVP to Jennifer Palcher-Silliman at silliman@hsrc.unc.edu by Tuesday, August 30.

The purpose of the annual Megan Cornog Memorial Highway Safety Scholarship is to foster the education and professional development of graduate students with an interest in transportation safety-related areas including, but not limited to, engineering, driver behavior, planning, public health and environment. Candidates are evaluated based on a written essay, as well as academic performance, career goals, extracurricular and professional activities, and work experience.

The scholarship was named in memory of former HSRC staff member Megan Cornog, who died November 7, 2010, at her home in Carrboro, N.C., after a courageous battle with cancer. After earning her master’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in May 2009, Megan began her career working as a project coordinator for HSRC, focusing on pedestrian and bicycle issues.

Since establishing the scholarship in 2006, HSRC has awarded nine scholarships to graduate students in the UNC system. Learn more at www.hsrc.unc.edu/scholarship.

Communities around the globe prepare to celebrate the 20th Walk to School Day

Walk to School Day 2016

On October 5, 2016, thousands of schools and communities around the world will participate in International Walk to School Day. This year’s event will mark the 20th straight year Walk to School Day has been used to celebrate and promote the many benefits of walking safely to school. Walk to School Day also provides a unique – and fun – opportunity to bring attention to any needed safety improvements around schools.

Since the first events in Chicago and Los Angeles in 1997, Walk to School Day participation has grown impressively. Each year has been record-breaking, with 5,034 registered events in 2015. From 2005 to 2014, more than 18,500 schools in more than 4,700 different cities held events.

Walk to School Day and Bike to School Day events provide a way for public officials to demonstrate their support for safety, health, community quality of life, and the environment. Also, Walk to School Day events have a track record of leading to policy and engineering changes that help make it safer to walk and bike to school. In 2015, 55 percent of Walk to School Day event organizers who responded to a survey indicated that their event led to planned, or already completed, policy or engineering changes, such as the addition of required safety education and increased traffic enforcement near schools.

Walk to School Day began with strong mayor participation – in 1997, Chicago’s Mayor Daley and Los Angeles’ Mayor Riordan walked with students to school. Since then, mayors nationwide have hit the sidewalks in October. In 2015, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter participated in an event as a way to bring attention to pedestrian safety in his city. He said, “We need to make sure that those of us who drive vehicles do so in a responsible way, especially in neighborhoods and near school and recreation center buildings, so that everyone has a safe environment in which to walk.” This year, organizers have reached out directly to mayors and their teams to encourage them to participate in their local Walk to School Day events.

In addition, Walk to School Day and Bike to School Day events give parents and school officials a taste of what it is like to have more students arrive at school by foot or bike. Many schools then decide to organize weekly walking events to keep the momentum going. The events are also popular with law enforcement officers who enjoy reaching out to community members and interacting with students in a positive way.

Interested in organizing a Walk to School Day event in your community? There’s still time! Registration for events is open through October 2016.

HSRC publications

HSRC researchers and staff regularly publish findings in peer-reviewed journals and present research results at professional meetings and trade conferences in the fields of transportation, safety, research and public health. Below is a list of recent presentations and publications.

To browse additional recent HSRC publications, click here.


Brookshire, K., L. Sandt, C. Sundstrom, L. Thomas, R. Blomberg. (2016). Advancing Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety; A Primer for Highway Safety Professionals (Report No. DOT HS 812 258). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Semler, C., A. Vest, K. Kingsley, S. Mah, W. Kittelson, C. Sundstrom, K. Brookshire. (2016). Guidebook for Developing Pedestrian and Bicycle Performance Measures (Report No. FWA-HEP-16-037). Washington, DC: Federal Highway Administration.et

HSRC in the news

The following is a highlight of recent media stories that include information and research from the Center. Web links to the following news stories are time sensitive, so some stories might not be accessible after the initial publication date without required registration.

To access more archived news media, please click here.

Hedging High Stakes and Human Behavior
August 3, 2016

Safety Concerns with Pokémon Go Extends to Roadways
July 21, 2016

Study: Later school bell cuts teen crashes
July 4, 2016

Summer Months Mean More Teen Driving Accidents
Education News
June 6, 2016

Drivers, beware: Memorial Day weekend could be one of the deadliest
May 27, 2016

Pedestrian Safety Focus of Multi-Agency Forum
Claims Journal
May 24, 2016

It just got more dangerous for teens who use the phone while driving
May 11, 2016

National leaders discuss ways to improve pedestrian safety
May 10, 2016

Directions is a free, online publication of the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center. No permission is needed to reprint from articles, but attribution is requested. Sign up to receive Directions here.

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