CUTR was recently awarded three grants from the Center for Transportation Equity, Decisions, and Dollars (CTEDD). Each of these projects will investigate a set of critical challenges facing transportation in America today with an emphasis on equity and safety.
Equitable Transportation Planning Curriculum for Urban Planning and Transportation Programs
Investigators: Kristine Williams, AICP
Transportation is needed to access jobs, food, health care, recreational and open spaces, and other important destinations. Equity in transportation planning processes ensures equal access to affordable and reliable transportation while ensuring that vulnerable groups don’t receive disproportionate benefits or burdens. Without inclusive processes, transportation planning can negatively impact low-income communities, minorities, persons with disabilities, the elderly, children, and other traditionally underserved populations. Many agencies and communities across the nation are seeking to address equity concerns and encourage livability, economic growth, and active transportation. Planning and transportation professionals must understand how to successfully plan for equity by identifying and addressing a broad range of transportation needs. It is also important that transportation professionals have a clear understanding of their roles as advocates for and partners with disadvantaged communities. This curriculum proposal seeks to provide emerging professionals with the training and tools needed to successfully integrate equity into transportation decision-making processes. Students taking the course will gain an appreciation for the historic impetus to consider equity and a deeper understanding of related concepts, including accessibility, mobility, affordability, and sustainability. Beyond this foundational knowledge, emerging professionals will acquire skills that can be put into practice and propel equity to the forefront of the transportation planning profession. This foundational knowledge and skillset will launch the use of innovative transportation planning approaches to identify and address the unique needs of various population groups, particularly traditionally underserved populations.
Development of Automated Roadway Lighting Diagnosis Tools for Nighttime Traffic Safety Improvement, Phase II
Investigators: Zhenyu Wang, Ph.D.
Pei-Sung Lin, Ph.D.
Srinivas Katkoori, Ph.D.
Roadway lighting is roadway infrastructure used to ensure nighttime safety and security for multimodal road users. Key tasks in nighttime safety management include periodically measuring roadway lighting levels, diagnosing lighting performance and safety impacts, and providing decision-making support for lighting maintenance and upgrade. This project aims to enhance the Automated Roadway Lighting Diagnosis Tools developed in a previous CTEDD project (Phase I), including developing and integrating safety/lighting analysis methods for pedestrians/bicyclists and light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs, enhancing roadway lighting diagnosis algorithms, analyzing economic appraisals, and improving user interface and processing speed. The enhanced computer tools, which are expected to reach Technology Readiness Level 8: Technology Proven in Operational Environment, will be implemented in Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District 7 lighting measurement projects. This project will support multidisciplinary collaboration for faculty and students in transportation engineering, computer science, and electrical engineering. The collaboration will also involve two stakeholders, including a government agency (FDOT District 7) and a private sector firm (Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson, Inc. [JMT]), which will provide support and assistance for data collection, system design, diagnosis evaluation, and technology transfer. A comprehensive technology transfer plan will be developed after the research, including implementation of the developed methods and tools in lighting measurement projects in collaboration with stakeholders, presentations and publications, open source codes provided to the public, integration of research materials into coursework, and workshops for the Florida Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP). Through technology transfer, the project results will be beneficial to roadway lighting and safety managers for infrastructure performance monitoring and maintenance. The open algorithms and source codes also will be beneficial to researchers and practitioners for future research and practice
An Equity-Driven Approach to School Zone Safety to Inform Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Programs
Investigators: Mouyid Islam, Ph.D.
Anurag Pande, Ph.D.
Shuchisnigdha Deb, Ph.D.
Even as the trends in traffic fatalities for motorists have been improving, vulnerable road users (VRUs, specifically pedestrians and bicyclists) have seen an alarming rise in fatalities in recent years. According to the Center for Disease Control, injuries from road traffic crashes are a leading cause of death for children under the age of 10, hence a critical public health issue. School-age pedestrians in lower-income neighborhoods may be particularly at risk. The proposed research takes a data-driven safe systems approach inspired by Vision Zero (VZ) policy goals. The data-driven approach will be used to develop engineering and educational safety countermeasures for areas near elementary schools serving disadvantaged populations in major metropolitan areas of FL, TX, and CA (three largest states with CTEDD consortium partners). The PIs will work closely with the stakeholders to incorporate engineering countermeasures into Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs. Potentially effective education-related activities will be evaluated using Virtual Reality-based (VR-based) pilot testing on elementary school children from schools serving low-income neighborhoods in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. PIs have a long history of working collaboratively with stakeholders, including MPOs, state DOTs, school administrators, and community groups engaged with SRTS programs. The stakeholder engagement plan documented in the proposal will ensure successful tech transfer towards more effective SRTS programs.
Congratulations to the researchers, and we look forward to this new research!