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Spring 2014 Vol. 1, No. 1

Introducing Roadway Safety Institute News

We’re excited to bring you the first issue of Roadway Safety Institute News. In this quarterly electronic publication, we’ll share our latest activities in research, education and workforce development, and technology transfer initiatives related to transportation safety.

Tell us what you think! We welcome comments and questions about the Institute. E-mail

New Roadway Safety Institute focuses on user-centered safety solutions for multiple modes

Max Donath

Photo: U of MN College of Science and

The Roadway Safety Institute is a $10.4 million regional University Transportation Center (UTC) established in late 2013. Led by the University of Minnesota, the two-year consortium will be a focal point for safety-related work in the region, which includes Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

In this first issue of the Roadway Safety Institute News, director Max Donath, professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Minnesota, shares his vision for the new Institute.

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Study on automated speed enforcement to explore attitudes for and against it

automated speed enforcement sign

Excessive speed is a cause of traffic crashes and a leading factor in many of the most-severe crashes. Automated speed enforcement (ASE) could save lives and prevent injuries—especially in work zones and around schools. ASE, however, is a contentious issue, despite studies that have shown its safety benefits and public opinion polls that have found support for its use in certain locations. To better understand this issue, researchers at the Roadway Safety Institute propose to identify the points of view of different stakeholders, as well as who and what influences them.

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Exploring why teen drivers take risks

teen driver

Young drivers are overrepresented in traffic-related crashes and fatalities worldwide. To target the root causes of this phenomenon, Marie Claude Ouimet, an assistant professor at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at the Université de Sherbrooke in Quebec, Canada, conducts research on the environmental, psychological, and neurobiological factors that contribute to risky driving behavior in teens and impaired drivers.

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Researcher Spotlight: William Schneider

William Scheider

William Schneider is an associate professor of civil engineering at the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio. His research interests revolve predominantly around transportation safety. He conducts research analyzing the contributing factors associated with alcohol-related crashes and driver injury-severity outcomes.

Schneider says he hopes his research will make the roads a safer place. “We all use the roads and… unfortunately a lot of people pass away as the result of a crash.”

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Researcher Spotlight: Rajesh Rajamani

Rajesh Rajamani

Rajesh Rajamani is a professor of mechanical engineering and a senior affiliate faculty in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Rajamani conducts research in developing sensing and estimation systems for automotive and biomedical applications.“I think there’s a great need for [sensing and estimation systems] in many modern systems and there’s a good potential for commercializing those kinds of technologies,” he says.

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Seminar Series

The Roadway Safety Institute will sponsor a seminar series featuring the work of Institute researchers beginning in September 2014. If you can’t attend in person on the University of Minnesota campus, seminars will be streamed live on the web. Dates and other details will be posted on our website as they are available and sent as electronic announcements to subscribers.


Director: Max Donath
Editor: Amy Friebe
Designer: Angela Kronebusch
Writers: Christine Anderson, Megan Tsai, Lexi Gusso
Web Team: Savannah Brausen