Recent Center Highlights
Zooming in: new connections
COVID-19 has changed the way we do nearly everything these days. A computer screen with squares of talking heads within a remote meeting software is the norm for small team brainstorms to large virtual conferences. A positive outcome of this remote work environment is the ease to virtually connect with others. As a research center, this has been extraordinary.
Opportunities to connect with experts
In December 2020, a panel of industry experts participated in a lively discussion about the intersection of transportation and the following topics: emerging technology; mobility challenges and access to transportation; driver behavior; sustainability and environmental impacts; equity; speed; data challenges; and impacts of the pandemic. We look forward to continuing this conversation and thinking at HSRC, with our partner organizations, and beyond.
A special thanks to our panelists:
- Saeed Barbat, Executive Technical Leader for Safety, Policy, and Vehicle Analytical Tools, Ford Motor Company
- Said Dahdah, Senior Transport Specialist, Transport Global Practice, World Bank
- William J. Horrey, Group Leader, Traffic Research Group, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety
- Ron Medford, Director of Safety, Waymo (retired)
- Beth Osborne, Director, Transportation for America
Opportunities to exchange ideas
In October 2020, HSRC hosted the second annual, and first virtual, North Carolina Department of Transportation Research & Innovation Summit. The Summit brought together over 350 transportation professionals from the public, private, and academic sectors to discuss innovative transportation technologies and research in North Carolina and beyond. Check out the 2020 Summit presentations here.
HSRC will host the NCDOT Research & Innovation Summit again next fall, and the content will emphasize transportation innovations. Stay tuned for more information!
Opportunities to connect with new audiences
HSRC presented four webinars as part of UNC’s University Research Week, October 19-23, 2020. University Research Week is an annual celebration of Carolina’s research excellence and an effort to increase participation by students, of all levels, in research activity.
- How is COVID-19 Impacting Mobility, Health and Teen Driving in NC?
Presented by: Dr. Katie Harmon, Dr. Wes Kumfer, Natalie O’Brien and Dr. Randa Radwan, UNC Highway Safety Research Center; and Dr. Arrianna Planey, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health
- HSRC’s work to Improve Tools and Methods for Reducing Traffic Crashes and Injuries
Presented by: Dr. Taha Saleem and Libby Thomas, UNC Highway Safety Research Center
- Strengthening Existing and Facilitating New Vision Zero Plans
Presented by: Dr. Kelly Evenson, Department of Epidemiology, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Seth LaJeunesse, UNC Highway Safety Research Center
- X-ray Vision: Examining Comic Book Science & Human Factors Design
Presented by: Dr. Michael Clamann, UNC Highway Safety Research Center
To view recordings of these webinar sessions, visit: www.hsrc.unc.edu/news/videos.
Vision Zero for Youth Demonstration Project in Philadelphia begins second year
Today, cities of all sizes are committing to eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries, often as part of Vision Zero initiatives. A growing number are focused on improving safety for youth. In October 2019, the HSRC-led Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC), along with Toole Design Group, partnered with the city of Philadelphia to implement a two-year Vision Zero for Youth Demonstration Project. The aim of the Demonstration Project is to gain an understanding of tangible strategies to ensure youth are represented in Vision Zero efforts and to document potential benefits of a youth-focused approach in advancing safety for all road users.
During the first year, the Demonstration Project has already been able to inform widespread dissemination of a systemic analysis approach to youth pedestrian crashes for other cities to use. In the second year of the project, the project team will continue to work with the city on its systemic analysis and identification of countermeasures with a particular focus on equity, resulting in additional examples and tools to share with other cities.
For more information about this and other Vision Zero for Youth initiatives, visit www.visionzeroforyouth.org.
HSRC Insights on pedestrian and bicycle safety training, featuring Kristen Brookshire
Check out the newest HSRC Insights video to learn about Kristen Brookshire’s recent efforts to update the FHWA Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation University Course and bicycle and pedestrian safety training at HSRC.
HSRC Insights is a video series that provides perspectives about HSRC research, news, staff, events, and more.
Accelerating rural road safety using Artificial Intelligence
HSRC is leading a new N.C. Department of Transportation project, selected as part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s State and Local Government Data Analysis Tools for Roadway Safety. This project is developing an artificial intelligence (AI) tool for annotation, analysis, and extraction of roadside hazards such as guardrails, utility poles, and trees, from collected roadway video log data.
This research is an important step for improving North Carolina’s current process for assessing roadside hazards, and will help facilitate efficient, systemic safety initiatives that advance safety on the state’s rural roads. Work on this project, led by Dr. Randa Radwan, director of the UNC Highway Safety Research Center, began in September 2020 and involves close partnerships with a multidisciplinary group of researchers and practitioners from the Renaissance Computing Institute at UNC (RENCI) and Volpe National Transportation Systems Center. The anticipated AI tool can serve as a blueprint that could be scaled and replicated for other jurisdictions and states in the future.
Need for collaboration in shaping the narrative around traffic injury, says new CSCRS media framing guide
The messages and framing of media stories evoke values. A new resource — Shaping the narrative around traffic injury: A media framing guide for transportation and public health professionals — from the HSRC-led Collaborative Sciences Center for Road Safety (CSCRS) calls for professionals who work in injury prevention and in the planning and designing of roadways to coordinate with journalists and get involved in shaping the narrative around traffic injury in our communities.
New rating criteria for the CMF Clearinghouse
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) CMF Clearinghouse, managed by HSRC Engineering Research Associate Taha Saleem, recently transitioned to a new CMF rating criteria. Learn about the rating transition and updates to the CMF Clearinghouse in several recent webinars available at www.cmfclearinghouse.org/webinars.cfm.
PBIC pedestrian safety resource offers an exploration of context, patterns, and impacts
Toward a Shared Understanding of Pedestrian Safety, a new resource from the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC), provides background context on pedestrian safety issues and risks, crash patterns and contributing factors, and resulting impacts. It provides an orientation for readers from diverse sectors—including advocates, roadway owners and operators, legislators and law makers, real estate developers, businesses and private industries, public health practitioners, researchers, educators, enforcement officers, and others—to identify shared concerns and opportunities to make a difference.
Mark your calendar: GiveUNC, March 30 – opportunity to support HSRC scholarship fund
HSRC is participating in GiveUNC, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s annual giving day, for the second time this year. Your contribution of any amount to HSRC on March 30, 2021, will be dedicated to our new scholarship to encourage diversity of 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 are currently being developed, with a goal of awarding the first $5,000 scholarship in summer 2021. The HSRC Diversity Scholarship is the second scholarship program established by HSRC; the Megan Cornog Memorial Highway Safety Scholarship ($1,000) is awarded to a graduate student at any of the University of North Carolina system campuses.
If you are able, please consider supporting HSRC’s Diversity Scholarship during GiveUNC. Your gift to HSRC is an investment in ensuring valuable perspectives are included in work geared toward safer roadways for all users, in all places. Learn more about giving to HSRC.
Save the date: NaTMEC 2021 goes virtual
Save the date for NaTMEC 2021, a virtual event to be held June 21-25, 2021. This online meeting will include many of the same features of previous in-person conferences, including lectern and poster presentations, lightning talks, and opportunities to engage with sponsors. A preliminary agenda is now available and registration rates are posted. Registration will open in March 2021.
Want to start learning now? Register for the next NaTMEC webinar on March 15, 2021: Micromobility Data Collection and Processing – Considerations for Policy Regulation and Data Privacy while Using the Data Meaningfully. Visit the NaTMEC webinars page for more details and a link to register, and to learn more about other webinars in this NaTMEC/ITE webinar series.