Senior Research Scientist
Forrest Council is a senior research scientist at the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC), where he has worked for more than 40 years. Forrest served as director of the Center from 1993 until his retirement in 1999. Prior to that time, he had served as HSRC’s deputy director for 10 years and interim director for two years. In his current position, Forrest’s time is solely dedicated to research.
Forrest has led more than 20 HSRC projects and has authored more than 100 articles and reports. His project experience ranges from studies of motor vehicle injury for specific subpopulations (children, beginning drivers, seat belted occupants) to projects aimed at identifying and strengthening research methodologies in the roadway safety field, including the development of the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Accident Research Manual. A significant component of his work during the past 20 years has involved directing the planning, development and implementation of FHWA’s Highway Safety Information System – a multistate database which captures accident, traffic and roadway inventory variables for use in FHWA internal and contract research activities and research funded by other national organizations.
In 2014 Forrest was presented the Roy W. Crum Distinguished Service Award for “outstanding achievement in the field of transportation research.” Forrest was a co-recipient of the 1994, 1995 and 2009 D. Grant Mickle Awards for best paper in the area of operation, safety and maintenance presented by the Transportation Research Board (TRB). His research activities have also been recognized on a national level by appointments as chairman and/or member of several committees and boards. These include the chairmanship of the TRB Committee on Methodology for Evaluating Highway Improvements, the Committee for Review of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study, and the Committee on Research Priorities and Coordination in Highway Infrastructure and Operations Safety. He currently serves as chair of the TRB Strategic Highway Safety Program (SHRP 2) Safety Technical Coordinating Committee. In addition to serving as a member of various advisory panels, Forrest served from 1996 to 2002 as a member of TRB’s Research and Technology Coordinating Committee (RTCC) – a committee which provides guidance to FHWA on its overall highway research program. In 2009, he was appointed a member emeritus of the TRB Committee on Safety Data, Analysis and Evaluation.
Forrest’s degrees are in civil (transportation) engineering and his training is in accident research methodologies. He received an M.S. and a Ph.D. from North Carolina State University in civil engineering, with a traffic engineering specialty and a statistical minor.