InTrans / Nov 21, 2017

Traffic and Safety Forum highlights advances, challenges

The annual Traffic and Safety Forum, hosted by Iowa State University’s Institute for Transportation and the Iowa Department of Transportation, had another successful event last week.

The forum brought together more than 100 city and county engineers, DOT staff, consultants, vendors, and researchers at InTrans and Iowa universities.

The purpose of this year’s forum was to enable traffic and safety engineering professionals to learn about new systems and innovations, share experiences and address areas of concern.

Or, as InTrans’ Neal Hawkins put it at the forum, “Protect citizens and keep the wheels moving, that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Joe Kearney, a professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Iowa, was the keynote of the forum. He discussed safety possibilities for vulnerable road users — including pedestrians and bicyclists — utilizing new technologies.

Kearney’s research, in one example, used simulation technology at Hank Virtual Environments Lab at University of Iowa to run trials on sending alerts and warning via cell phone to pedestrians attempting to cross a single-lane road.

The forum attendees also held a facilitated discussion on the challenges and concerns they’re currently facing, from advancing technologies in autonomous vehicles to funding worries to engaging the public, and updates on new research in the field. Several InTrans staff members updated attendees on new and better data collection in traffic and safety.