Stephen H. Richards, Director
DeAnna Flinchum, Co-Director
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Safety must be a fundamental objective of our national and regional transportation systems. However, statistics reveal that our region’s surface transportation systems, individually and collectively, face unsurpassed safety challenges.
To achieve comprehensive transportation safety in our region, we must understand its sociology and safety cultures; gather and curate relevant data; integrate human factors with infrastructure use; implement and enrich the Highway Safety Manual and similar tools; and apply these to all operations related to moving people and goods.
In 1994, when the STC first selected its theme of Comprehensive Transportation Safety, we recognized that transportation safety in the Southeast was measurably worse than in other regions. Since then, progress has been made toward addressing many of our region’s safety challenges, thanks in part to STC research, education, and technology transfer efforts supported by the USDOT’s UTC Program.
Still, much work remains to be done. As recently as 2010, all eight states in Region 4 had fatality rates worse than the national average, and four of the eight states ranked in the top 10 nationally in the rate of overall fatalities per capita. One of our states had the worst bicycle fatality rate per capita in the country, and five of our Southeastern states ranked in the top 10 nationally for pedestrian fatality rates. Clearly, comprehensive transportation safety remains the most appropriate theme for our region, and in support of this theme we have developed and are implementing a targeted, effective, and comprehensive work plan.
Nine universities in the Southeast comprise the Southeastern Transportation Center:
- The University of Tennessee, lead institution
- The University of Alabama
- The University of Alabama Birmingham
- The University of Central Florida
- The University of South Florida
- The University of Kentucky
- North Carolina A&T State University
- The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
- Clemson University