Recent Center Highlights
HSRC researchers explore implications of COVID-19
Many HSRC researchers are currently working to evaluate the transportation and health implications of COVID-19. Learn about a few of these efforts below.
Initial COVID-19 Mobility Data Trend Analysis in NC
The current pandemic has touched the lives of all North Carolinians, and initial research shows that the way people move in the state has changed rapidly in response to the dynamic pandemic. The first technical brief from the NC COVID-19 Mobility and Health Impacts Study, released September 1, 2020, presents initial findings related to mobility and health trends in NC, and references national peer-reviewed studies involving the intersection of mobility and COVID health impacts.
Planning Considerations for Walking and Rolling to School in Fall 2020
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, school districts and states are considering several variations of in-school and at-home learning this fall. The National Center for Safe Routes to School and Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center developed a new resource that describes the benefits of including walking and biking to school in fall re-opening plans and addresses considerations to help guide schools and communities in planning for walking and biking to school when schools re-open. A recent article from Streetsblog—How to Build Safe Routes to School During COVID-19–covers the resources and provides insight from a key contributor.
Local Actions to Support Walking and Cycling During Social Distancing Dataset
In collaboration with Dr. Tab Combs, of UNC-CH’s Department of City and Regional Planning, the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center is hosting a dataset to track immediate community actions that show adaptation to changing demands on public space in response to COVID-19. The Local Actions to Support Walking and Cycling During Social Distancing Dataset is open access, and community members are encouraged to submit information about city and town efforts to rebalance streets for walking, biking, and other forms of travel while promoting social distancing. To learn about other efforts tracking community responses to COVID-19 and resource hubs for more information, see PBIC’s list of COVID-19 Resources.
CSCRS launches webinar series webinar series on systems-based approach to road safety
The Collaborative Sciences Center for Road Safety (CSCRS) is launching a new bi-monthly webinar series focusing on multidisciplinary research and practices to advance transportation safety. The series will heavily feature principles and practices related to Safe Systems and the role of systems science, which is a core theme in CSCRS’s initiatives.
“The CSCRS webinar series will highlight cutting-edge research, data, tools, and resources that can be utilized to address existing and emerging road safety issues,” said Dr. Laura Sandt, Director of CSCRS. “The platform will allow transportation professionals from diverse fields and the public at large to exchange knowledge in the interest of advancing road safety.”
CSCRS researcher Dr. Missy Cummings, of Duke University, will lead the first session in the series on Wednesday, September 30, 2020, from 2-3p.m. ET. During this session, Dr. Cummings will discuss her research “Assessing Tesla Model 3s’ Autopilot Interactions with the Driver Monitoring System.”
Dr. Kelly Evenson, of UNC-Chapel Hill, and HSRC’s Seth LaJeunesse will lead the second session on “Strengthening Existing and Facilitating New Vision Zero Plans” on December 8, 2020, from 2-3p.m. ET .
Additional webinar topics in the series will be announced soon. To learn more about this series or to register for an upcoming webinar, visit www.roadsafety.unc.edu/profdev/cscrs-webinar-series/.
HSRC to host NCDOT Research & Innovation Summit
HSRC is hosting the second annual North Carolina Department of Transportation Research & Innovation Summit, a free, virtual event to be held October 13-14, 2020. The goal of the Summit is to bring together transportation professionals from the public, private, and academic sectors to discuss innovative transportation technologies and research in North Carolina and beyond. Check out the event website to learn more about the program and to register for this free learning opportunity.
HSRC researchers help develop Child Passenger Safety webinar series for NC Technicians to maintain certification amid physical distancing requirements
Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Technicians, individuals who are certified to provide education and hands-on assistance to help caregivers properly install and use car seats, need to earn six continuing education credits every two years to maintain their certification. Due to the cancellation or postponement of recent in-person trainings amid physical distancing requirements, the UNC Highway Safety Research Center, Governor’s Highway Safety Program, and Safe Kids North Carolina collaborated to create a webinar series to provide a virtual opportunity for NC’s CPS Technicians to earn the education credits they need to continue their work to help caregivers keep kids safe.
To date, 11 webinars have been held and more than nearly 1,100 people have participated. Registration is currently open for additional sessions, including Things that make Techs go “hmmm” (September 29, 2-3PM), and new sessions will be added soon.
To learn more about this webinar series, visit www.buckleupnc.org/training-certification/cps-webinars/.
2020 HSRC scholarship awarded to UNC Pembroke student pursuing public administration degree
HSRC is pleased to announce Camryn Sierra Locklear as the recipient of the 2020 Megan Cornog Memorial Highway Safety Scholarship. Locklear is pursuing a master’s degree in public administration at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
“Receiving this scholarship in honor of Ms. Cornog means that I can further my education and hopefully one day use my institutional knowledge to implement safety measures in communities to reduce the number of fatalities and alleviate transportation hazards,” Locklear said.
This year, Locklear plans to research highway fatality trends during COVID-19 for her graduate thesis. HSRC will host Locklear in the spring of 2021 to discuss her research and areas of interest with staff.
“We are proud to support Camryn’s efforts to advance transportation safety through a public administration lens,” said HSRC Director Randa Radwan. “This scholarship was established to support tomorrow’s leaders in the field of transportation safety, and we look forward to seeing what Camryn will accomplish in her graduate career and beyond.”
Registration now open for Walk to School Day 2020
Since 1997, communities have been coming together for Walk to School Day. This year, the global coronavirus pandemic means that travel to school may be different. In some places, schools are open and students are walking and rolling to school. In other places, the school trip might just be to the living room. To allow participation across learning environments, families, neighborhoods, and schools, are all invited to register participation this year. While October 7 is officially Walk to School Day in 2020, communities are welcome to celebrate any day in October that best fits their schedules.
To get inspired, check out all the ways communities celebrated Bike to School Day 2020 in May, as well as this list of event ideas specifically for Walk to School Day 2020 submitted by Walk and Bike to School Day organizers around the country. Learn more and register at www.walkbiketoschool.org.
UNC-led team selected to develop national guidance for e-scooter safety
The Behavioral Traffic Safety Cooperative Research Program (BTSCRP) has funded a $490K study to examine emerging safety issues related to electric scooters (or e-scooters). The project seeks to advance multimodal road safety by identifying safety risks emerging from the growing use of e-scooters and developing comprehensive guidance, tools, policy options, and educational materials to mitigate those risks.
Researchers at the UNC Highway Safety Research Center will lead the effort in close partnership with a multidisciplinary group of transportation experts at UNC-CH’s Department of City and Regional Planning (DCRP), University of Tennessee at Knoxville (UTK), Populus, Rebecca Sanders of Safe Streets Research & Consulting, and Charles T. Brown of Equitable Cities.
The project is expected to generate concrete guidance for e-scooter management, along with a report that will 1) describe the state of use/exposure and safety trends among e-scooter users and markets; 2) identify contributing factors (both behavioral and environmental) to safety risks; and 3) summarize how cities are working to support, manage, and/or regulate the use of e-scooters to prevent and mitigate injuries and provide a series of case studies highlighting real world practices. The research and guidance will provide evidence-based strategies and supporting tools for e-scooter safety actions that can be integrated into state and local highway safety plans, policies, programs, and projects.
Work on this 30-month project began in June 2020. Read the complete announcement from HSRC News.
HSRC participated in GiveUNC to establish new diversity scholarship launching next fall
HSRC participated in GiveUNC, Carolina’s second-annual giving day, for the first time this year and surpassed our $1,000 fundraising goal. All funds raised during this event will be dedicated to setting up a new scholarship to encourage diversity of graduate students in transportation safety.
The purpose of the HSRC Diversity Scholarship is to foster the education and professional development of underrepresented minorities seeking graduate degrees with an interest in transportation related areas, including, but not limited to, computer science and data analytics, engineering, environmental studies planning, public health and epidemiology, and psychology.
Criteria and specifics for this new scholarship will be developed in Summer 2020, and the goal is for the first $1,000 HSRC Diversity Scholarship to be awarded during the 2020-2021 academic year. This will be the second scholarship program established by HSRC; currently, the Megan Cornog Memorial Highway Safety Scholarship is awarded annually to a University of North Carolina System graduate student.
Learn more about giving to HSRC here.
Unveiling HSRC Insights, a new video series about the Center
HSRC recently unveiled HSRC Insights, a new video series that provides perspective about HSRC research, news, staff, events, and more. Check out the first video to learn more about HSRC’s Senior Human Factors Engineer Dr. Michael Clamann and his role as a member of the Partners for Automated Vehicle Education (PAVE)’s newly formed Academic Advisory Council: www.hsrc.unc.edu/news/videos/insights-av-policy/.