Researcher Spotlight: Greg Lindsey
Greg Lindsey is a professor at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, where he specializes in environmental and transportation planning and management. Lindsey joined the Humphrey School in 2008 as associate dean, served as interim dean in 2011, and served as executive associate dean until September 2012.
Lindsey has been working in the area of bicycle and pedestrian traffic monitoring for more than two decades. Recently, his research has focused on using the results of this monitoring to measure and assess exposure to risk for pedestrians and bicyclists.
“Relative to our knowledge of exposure to risk by drivers of motorized vehicles, we know and understand very little about the risks experienced by bicyclists and pedestrians,” says Lindsey. “To reduce the number of accidents, injuries, and deaths of bicyclists and pedestrians we need to know how many there are, how they use transportation facilities, and what factors affect their behavior.”
In an Institute-funded project, “Performance Measures for Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety,” Lindsey is working with bicycle and pedestrian monitoring technologies and data to develop approaches for assessing exposure to risk and conducting several case studies in Minnesota communities to illustrate the approaches. Ultimately, Lindsey believes this research will help improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.
“Too many cyclists and pedestrians are hurt or killed each year, and with better information we can reduce the number of deaths,” says Lindsey. “In addition, if we can make bicycling and walking safer, more people will participate, and we’ll have many additional benefits including reduced congestion, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and better physical and mental health through increased physical activity.”
Lindsey says he enjoys being affiliated with the Roadway Safety Institute (RSI) because of its unique interdisciplinary nature. Along with financial support, the Institute brings together researchers from a variety of engineering, planning, policy, and public health fields to foster innovative research projects that meet the needs of practicing engineers, planners, and policymakers, Lindsey says. “It’s exciting to work with teams of researchers and practitioners to bring research into practice and make transportation safer for the people we serve.”
According to Lindsey, the most pressing transportation-related safety issue we face today is building public and political support for allocating the financial resources needed to address and solve transportation safety problems. “We tend to underinvest in problems we’re familiar with and have grown accustomed to living with,” says Lindsey. “Thousands of people die every year in transportation-related accidents. If the same numbers of people were killed in an epidemic of some type, we’d mobilize efforts and invest the resources needed to halt the scourge.”
Earlier this year, Lindsey was appointed as the first scholar-in-residence at the Minnesota Department of Transportation, where he is working in the agency’s Office of Transit’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Section until June 2016. [See related story in the winter issue of Roadway Safety Institute News] Lindsey has previously served as associate dean of the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis. He earned his doctorate and a master's degree in geography and environmental engineering at Johns Hopkins University. He also received a master's degree in geography and environmental studies from Northeastern Illinois University. He holds a bachelor's degree in urban planning from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.