Dr. Randa Radwan Named Director of UNC Highway Safety Research Center

Radwan’s expertise in foundational transportation research and safety standards will lead the Center in an era of emerging technologies

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (Oct. 30, 2018)The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is pleased to announce that Randa Radwan, Ph.D., has been named the new director of the Highway Safety Research Center. She is the fifth person and first woman to lead one of the nation’s first and most renowned transportation safety research centers. Her first day at HSRC will be December 3, 2018.

“Dr. Radwan’s commitment to transportation safety over her 25 year career makes her exceptionally qualified to lead the premiere center for highway safety and its team of dedicated researchers and students,” said Dr. Terry Magnuson, Vice Chancellor for Research, UNC-CH.

“Technology and data are more connected to transportation safety than ever before, and HSRC’s unparalleled expertise makes it well positioned to study the safety impact of the transformative innovations in these areas,” said Dr. Radwan. “I am thrilled and honored to be working closely with HSRC’s talented researchers and in collaboration with the research community at UNC and at large to both continue and broaden the important work of reducing the number of deaths and injuries on our roadways.”

Dr. Radwan  has extensive experience in transportation safety and vehicle crashworthiness research. After earning a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Rice University, she started her career at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. For 17 years, Dr. Radwan served as a research program manager at NHTSA where she directed research in side crash protection, vehicle upper interior protection, vehicle and restraint system model development, crash test instrumentation, and signal analysis. Dr. Radwan led a multi-disciplinary research program from concept to the notice for proposed rulemaking for NHTSA’s 2007 Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard for side crash protection, which annually has been forecasted to save over 300 lives and reduce 400 serious injuries.

Dr. Radwan proceeded to earn her Ph.D. in transportation safety engineering from George Washington University in 2015 while working full time as the director of advanced research and a senior research scientist at the University’s National Crash Analysis Center. She also served as adjunct faculty in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. While at GWU, Dr. Radwan directed innovative research in transportation safety, including vehicle fleet and occupant modeling and the characterization of frontal vehicle crashes and roadside motorcycle crashes on state and national roadways.

“HSRC is thrilled to welcome Dr. Radwan to our team,” said Dr. Laura Sandt, Senior Research Associate and Associate Director, HSRC. “Her expertise in vehicle safety performance and advanced technologies, and experience fostering international partnerships with automakers, safety regulators, and other researchers are great additions to HSRC’s foundational research in roadway and behavioral transportation safety.”

Dr. Radwan recently served as a subject matter and technical expert for advanced transportation technology programs for the U.S. DOT’s Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office. She is currently serving on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s committee on the Assessment of Technologies for Improving Fuel Economy of Light-Duty Vehicles.

Dr. Radwan has received several awards for excellence during her career including the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Award for Outstanding Efforts, the NHTSA Administrator’s Award, which she received four times, the People Saving People Award and the Teamwork Leadership Challenge Award.

Since its inception in 1965, the UNC Highway Safety Research Center has made a number of important contributions to improving safety on our nation’s roadways including: development of policies and programs to increase occupant restraint use; enhancement of systems for the collection and management of crash, roadway inventory and other safety data; dissemination of knowledge regarding the safety and mobility of pedestrians and bicyclists; advancement of understanding of the roles of Safe Systems and systems science in promoting safer transportation; improvements in licensing systems for young drivers; and creation of strategies to address risky driver behaviors.

Founding HSRC Director Dr. B.J. Campbell stated, “I know that Dr. Radwan will continue and expand the leadership HSRC has shown up to now.”

About the UNC Highway Safety Research Center

The University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center strives to shape the field and future direction of transportation safety. HSRC is committed to excellence in sound research, and improving transportation safety is the preeminent goal. As the 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 www.hsrc.unc.edu.