HSRC to lead NCDOT Center of Excellence in Advanced Transportation Technology, focus on safety and policy
Five-university team to research connected and autonomous vehicle-ready infrastructure, intelligent data, pedestrian travel, economic impact and planning
CHAPEL HILL, N.C.—The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC) has been selected to lead the new NC Transportation Center of Excellence in Advanced Technology Safety and Policy (NC TSAP), a North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) research grant for approximately $999,000 over three years. NC TSAP is focused on improving existing infrastructure to advance road safety, mobility and accessibility, building knowledge on the role of connected and automated vehicles in roadway safety and mobility, with emphasis on economic impact and data.
“Disruptive technologies will reshape the transportation industry,” said NC Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon. “This research will provide North Carolina with data we need to prepare for these changes.”
“This grant will advance HSRC’s collaborative work so that North Carolina can better prepare for evolving future transportation challenges,” said UNC Vice Chancellor of Research Terry Magnuson. “Over its more than 50-year history, HSRC researchers have worked with partners to conduct important research that has translated into programs and policies implemented in North Carolina and beyond, making all of our highways safer.”
Lead by HSRC, the NC TSAP consortium encompasses diversity in disciplines and representation and is comprised of traffic safety research professionals, human factors experts, planners, public administrators, educators, computer scientists, systems engineers and civil and electrical engineers from Appalachian State University (ASU), North Carolina A&T State University (NCA&T), North Carolina Central University (NCCU), UNC Charlotte and the UNC Chapel Hill Department of City and Regional Planning. This team also brings together extensive networks established through three current U.S. Department of Transportation University Transportation Centers: UNC Chapel Hill’s Collaborative Sciences Center for Road Safety, NC A&T’s Center for Advanced Transportation Mobility and UNC Charlotte’s Mineta Consortium for Transportation Mobility. NCCU’s extensive experience working with communities with disabilities, as well as ASU’s proximity to and focus on rural and mountain transportation issues, further strengthen the consortium’s expertise.
HSRC Director Dr. Randa Radwan will direct the new center, coordinating leadership with Associate Directors Dr. Maranda McBride, NC A&T; Dr. Srinivas Pulugurtha, UNC Charlotte; Dr. Elizabeth Shay, ASU; and Dr. William Wiener, NCCU.
“Advanced transportation technologies offer both opportunities and challenges,” said Dr. Radwan. “Together with our partners, HSRC is committed to helping NCDOT achieve its mission of connecting people, products and places safely and efficiently with customer focus, accountability and environmental sensitivity to enhance the economy and vitality of North Carolina.”
Initial NC TSAP Center of Excellence projects will explore the following topics:
- Impacts of connected and autonomous vehicle-ready infrastructure on vulnerable road users
- Intelligent data exploration and analysis for new and existing transportation technology
- Internet of things solutions for smart city pedestrian travel
- Operational and economic impacts of connected and autonomous vehicles
- Planning for advanced technology data readiness
With its new Transportation Center of Excellence program, NCDOT seeks to understand and plan for future transportation developments in the state by leveraging diverse experiences across multiple universities. NC TSAP, one of two advanced transportation technology centers in the state chosen for funding this year, is scheduled to begin work in early 2020.