semi in front of moon

RSI director Max Donath, Jake Achtemeier, and
CTS director Laurie McGinnis

Each year, the Roadway Safety Institute selects one graduate student for its Outstanding Student of the Year Award, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). This year's recipient is Jake Achtemeier, an assistant scientist with the University of Minnesota’s HumanFIRST Laboratory. He is advised by Nichole Morris, director of the lab.

Achtemeier is working toward a master’s degree in human factors and ergonomics. His thesis, “Weather and Infrastructure Design Impacts on Mobility of Low Vision Pedestrians,” assessed the impacts of severe winter weather on how visually impaired pedestrians’ navigate and use infrastructure in outdoor urban environments.

Achtemeier holds a bachelor’s degree in cognitive science from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. He has worked on driving simulation studies examining the effectiveness of in-vehicle messaging in dynamic work zones, connected-vehicle technology via lane boundary guidance systems in snowplows, and ITS device development and field testing for curve speed warnings. He is currently working on simulation and field-testing studies for bicycle collision warning V2V systems in addition to pedestrian-infrastructure utilization focus groups for the visually impaired.

His research interests in the fields of transportation and cognition include high-performance driving capability, reading and semantic performance while driving, and signal detection in visual psychology. His passion for transportation studies is complemented with his hobby and lifestyle of being an automotive enthusiast, fabricating turbocharger systems, and engine management programming on various platforms of cars for competition.

Achtemeier received a $2,000 award from the Institute and was presented with a certificate from USDOT officials at a ceremony held in conjunction with the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, in January.

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