TEES

Civil engineering faculty researcher publishes work on roadway safety analysis

March 21, 2018
| By: Robert (Chris) Scoggins

LordThe rules of the road are changing. Algorithms that are used to help predict driver behavior in years past are facing a changing landscape as more and more automated vehicles are on roadways. The emergence of these automated vehicles is just one aspect of roadway safety that is covered by Dr. Dominique Lord’s new book “Safe Mobility: Challenges, Methodology and Solutions.”

Lord, a professor in the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University, along with co-author Dr. Simon Washington, a professor of civil engineering at the University of Queensland, wrote the book, which represents a compilation of research from specialists across the world. It serves as a guidebook for roadway safety practitioners and researchers in topics ranging from driver behavior, transportation networks, urban and suburban transportation, and safe road design for vulnerable road users, such as bike users and pedestrians.

In addition to being an educational resource, the book has other practical implications for researchers and roadway safety practitioners.

“Someone in the U.S. or abroad could look at the theories and concepts laid out in this book to help design something within their own country,” Lord said. “It is not a design manual, but it is based on the latest research from a variety of top authors in this field.”

Lord’s personal contribution to the book includes his years of research on highway safety and design. Specializing in large data sets, Lord analyzes these large crash data sets with many zero responses, or observations where no crash occurred.

“In my portion, I provide information on when we should use traditional models as opposed to when we should use new multiparameter models, which is something that has not been done before in my area of work. This will be very useful when automated vehicles become prevalent on our roadways,” Lord said. “We're working on a proposal that is beyond this book that deals with how to match drivers with the correct models along with automated vehicles.”

The book as a whole hopes to address a variety of safety concerns in road planning, guiding practitioners to design roadways for the future that implement the best practices in transportation safety.

“We want to bring people up to date with what the near future will look like in [in transportation safety], and I feel like this work does a good job of giving a strong look at designing safe and sustainable roadways,” Lord said.

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