Ron Van Houten
Professor, Department of Psychology
Western Michigan University
1903 W. Michigan Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5439
Ron Van Houten's research interests include all aspects of traffic and pedestrian safety, the use of technology to implement behavioral principles, driving and aircraft simulation research, and community/organizational psychology. He is a behavior analysis expert in the areas of traffic safety, pedestrian safety, intelligent transportation systems, traffic calming, bicycle safety, seat belt use, and reducing impaired driving.
His specific projects have included conducting research on bicycle lanes, participating in the development of shared use bicycle marking, and completing a number of large-scale studies on reducing night-time pedestrian crashes, increasing driver seat belt use, and reducing driver speeding behavior. He also completed an evaluation for the FHWA on the Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (pedestrian-activated, flashing amber LEDs attached to crosswalk warning signs at unsignalized or mid-block locations). Many of these projects included social norming elements to target shifts in the safety culture.
He has authored more than 120 publications and served as an associate editor for several behavioral journals, including the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, and is on the editorial board for nine other behavioral journals. Van Houten is also the past chair of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Pedestrian Committee, a past member of the TRB Safety and System Users Group Executive Board, and a member of the bicycle technical committee for the National Committee for Uniform Traffic Control Devices. He was given the Institute of Transportation Engineers Innovative Intermodal Solutions for Urban Transportation Award in 2000 and received the Patricia Waller Award at TRB in 2014 for changing driver yielding right-of-way to pedestrians on a city-wide basis.
Van Houten has an M.A. and Ph.D. from Dalhousie University and a B.A. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.