Reginald Souleyrette, University of Kentucky, Director
The STC Consortium has implemented an ambitious and targeted research program to address comprehensive transportation safety. The program’s primary focus is on the Secretary of Transportation’s strategic goal of Improving public health and safety by reducing transportation-related fatalities and injuries.
In so doing, we will address several key research needs cited in MAP-21, especially Improving Highway Safety, and Improving Infrastructure Integrity. Our research program is integrated with our activities in education, workforce development, and technology transfer to significantly expand the safety knowledge base and to train and develop the next generation of safety leaders.
To generate the Major Research Initiatives component of our program, we conducted a safety research needs assessment in our region, completed with the assistance of TDOT and the SASHTO research subcommittee. Seven DOTs of the 12 SASHTO states responded and reported their priority safety research needs. We supplemented these data with input from our university partners in the states from which no survey responses were received. Based on this input, we selected and designed projects to address common and high-priority needs within Region 4 and nationally. We made every effort to coordinate our MRIs with specific research topics identified by the USDOT modal administrators. This process generated four MRIs that are comprehensive research efforts with multiple sources of matching funds, and collaborations with other UTCs and research entities. The four MRIs for this funding period are:
- Crash Modification Factors and the Highway Safety Manual
- Integrated Simulation and Safety
- Exploration of Socio-Demographic Characteristics and Culture as Factors in Differential Safety Performance across Geography
- Big Data for Safety Monitoring, Assessment, and Improvement
Our O&E Grants provide individual or small groups of faculty and students the opportunity to engage in relevant safety-related research within their areas of interest and expertise. It provides seed funding to explore new and emerging concepts, technologies, and methods with promising safety enhancement applications. All O&E Grants are competitively awarded, and typically will be performed at one university with single-source or in-kind matching funds.
Based on our survey of regional research needs, as well as the capabilities and interests of our consortium members, we awarded O&E Grant proposals in topic areas to permit and encourage multimodal and multidisciplinary participation:
- Infrastructure Safety and Security
- Special Populations; Elderly & Teen Drivers
- Transit Safety
- ITS, Congestion Management, Operations
- Pedestrian, Pedacycle, Motorcycle Safety
- Evacuations, Disaster & Emergency Planning & Management; Special Events
- Risk Assessment; Decision-making; Safety Policy and Planning
- Heavy Vehicle Safety; Freight Transport Safety
- Safety Enforcement and Education
- Intermodal Safety; Highway-Rail Crossing Safety