Volume 2023, Issue 01

Getting to know: student researchers and projects at HSRC

Students are integral parts of research teams at HSRC. They assist with road safety research projects, and bring fresh perspective and new tools to the work. Historical redlining, pedestrian safety, and micromobility are three focus areas getting the benefit of that student researcher point of view. Here’s more about a few of HSRC’s current student researchers and projects:

Nandi Taylor, MPH, is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Epidemiology at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Her dissertation research explores the relationship between structural racism and disparities in transportation safety outcomes. Her work with HSRC includes analyzing linked North Carolina crash and trauma registry data for the purpose of characterizing the limitations of the KABCO Injury Classification Scale to accurately measure injury severity, among other projects related to the intersection of public health and transportation safety.

Nandi was the lead author for the recent article Structural Racism and Pedestrian Safety: Measuring the Association Between Historical Redlining and Contemporary Pedestrian Fatalities Across the United States, 2010‒2019, for the American Journal of Public Health. The article features a study Nandi worked on with the de Beaumont Foundation and other HSRC researchers. Nandi was also featured in a recent Streetsblog USA post discussing the article, and she will present on her work at the Society for Advancement of Violence and Injury Research conference in April.

Here’s Nandi in her own words:

Kristin Podsiad is an HSRC graduate research assistant and a Dual Master of Public Health and Master of City and Regional Planning student at UNC Chapel Hill. In her Summer 2022 practicum, Kristin led a multidisciplinary team to build, the first global surveillance system to collect data on fatal e-scooter injuries. This was inspired and informed by the Collaborative Sciences Center for Road Safety project Understanding micromobility safety behavior and standardizing safety metrics for transportation system integration.

Using the surveillance data, she built a data dashboard with eye-catching visualizations, and she also worked with HSRC’s design team to build a website to house the dashboard and a world map of all known e-scooter fatalities. In addition, she created an online reporting form so that members of the public can participate in the data collection process by reporting fatal events occurring in their communities.

Here’s a webinar Kristin delivered to introduce

For the last several months, Kristin has been building a separate data dashboard for e-bicycle fatalities, along with updating and improving the original dashboard.

Jen Farris, HSRC graduate research assistant and Dual Master of Public Health and Master of City and Regional Planning student, is contributing to the initial stages of a project funded by the AAA Foundation for Road Safety to explore factors leading to the increase in pedestrian fatalities on urban arterial roadways. Through analysis of a crash report, performing an audit of a crash site, and coordinating a team workshop, she has been supporting development of an AcciMap, a method to help understand elements contributing to a fatal pedestrian crash.

Jen said, “It has been interesting using the AcciMap framework to visualize the proximal and distal factors that contributed to our crash of interest, highlighting policies and practices that create dangerous roadway conditions. In my master’s program and in my work at HSRC, I hope to create interventions to create system change and produce better outcomes for people walking, biking, and rolling.”

Carolyn Klamm, graduate research assistant and master’s student in City and Regional Planning, is assisting with the revision of course materials for the Watch for Me NC training curriculum to better align with Safe System principles and connect aspects of the program to ongoing NC Vision Zero activities. She is developing interactive student exercises, updating slide content, and preparing guidance for instructors who will be delivering the training. “I have enjoyed working on the Watch for Me project because I am passionate about bike/ped safety,” said Carolyn. “It is exciting to work directly with initiatives to improve transportation safety in North Carolina!”