Carolina to lead one of five national transportation centers, focus on road safety

Up to $15 million in funding for new center that will build upon successes in reducing vehicular fatalities and injuries

(Chapel Hill, N.C. – Dec. 5, 2016) – The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Highway Safety Research Center has been selected to run a National University Transportation Center funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The University will receive $2.8 million in the first year, and up to $15 million in grant funding over five years, to create and manage the Collaborative Sciences Center for Road Safety (CSCRS) – an opportunity for UNC-Chapel Hill to lead and influence the future of transportation safety research for the nation.

The CSCRS will accelerate progress in reducing injuries and fatalities on the nation’s roads by offering a new paradigm for how to understand and address traffic safety issues. The center will conduct collaborative, multidisciplinary research and education and technology transfer activities to improve road safety in the U.S.

“We must build a smarter, safer transportation future with dynamic travel choices, capacity, and infrastructure for all road users,” said Rep. David Price, ranking member of the U.S. House Appropriations subcommittee responsible for transportation and housing. “The Collaborative Sciences Center for Road Safety will make an invaluable contribution to our understanding of how best to do so.”

Led by the Highway Safety Research Center in collaboration with the University’s department of city and regional planning and the Injury Prevention Research Center, the CSCRS unites leading transportation research, planning, public health, data science and engineering programs at UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke, Florida Atlantic and the universities of California, Berkeley and Tennessee, Knoxville.

“This significant grant will assist the world-class UNC Highway Safety Research Center to continue its collaborative, groundbreaking work that has saved countless lives and prevented injuries,” said Chancellor Carol Folt. “Over its 50-year history, investigators at the center have conducted research at the state and national level that has translated into programs and policies that have been implemented in North Carolina and the nation, making all of our highways safer.”

HSRC Director David Harkey will serve as the CSCRS director and lead a multifaceted team of national and international experts.

“It is time to rethink our approach to road safety,” said Harkey. “The CSCRS provides an opportunity to find new ways to address legacy safety issues, such as impaired driving and speeding, which continue to claim the lives of thousands of road users each year. At the same time, we will explore how today’s research can help us prepare for the challenges that tomorrow will bring, such as traffic safety problems brought on by changes in technology or sociodemographic shifts.”

With more than $2.8 million in the first year, this grant is one of 32 five-year awards and one of five national centers that will be awarded to lead consortia under the University Transportation Centers program to advance research and education programs that address critical transportation challenges facing the nation. Subsequent awards using federal fiscal 2017 to fiscal 2020 funding will be made annually, subject to availability of funds and grantee compliance with grant terms and conditions.

View the comprehensive award announcement on the USDOT website,

About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 110 master’s, 64 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty – including two Nobel laureates – staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s 317,000-plus alumni live in all 50 states and 156 other countries. More than 167,000 live in North Carolina.

About the UNC Highway Safety Research Center
The University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center is working hard to help shape the field of transportation safety. HSRC is committed to excellence in sound research, and safety is the preeminent goal – every day and in every project staff undertakes. Birthplace of innovative national programs like Click It or Ticket, graduated driver licensing and Walk to School Day, the center’s mission is to improve the safety, sustainability and efficiency of all surface transportation modes through a balanced, interdisciplinary program of research, evaluation and information dissemination. Learn more at

HRSC contact:
Caroline Mozingo, (919) 962-5835,

Communications and Public Affairs contact:
Mike McFarland, (919) 962-8593,

Stay tuned to the HSRC website,, Facebook, and Twitter (@hsrcinfo) to learn more about the Collaborative Sciences Center for Road Safety news and project activities and subscribe to email updates here: