Traffic Safety Engineering at Wisconsin: Using Traditional Methodologies with Full-Scale Driving Simulation to Advance Roadway Safety

Friday, November 18, 2011, 12:00pm to 1:00pm PST
David A. Noyce, University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Abstract: Traffic safety engineering continues to rely on the traditional methods of design and operational guidelines, correlated to post-crash outcomes, in an attempt to understand the safety attributes of our roadway system.  The recently published Highway Safety Manual provides the newest source of methodologies and statistical models that can be applied to help predict or modify safety outcomes. Additionally, Road Safety Audits are a commonly used practice to gain the insight and experience of traffic and safety experts in an effort to avoid or solve a perplexing and/or unexpected safety problem.  Although none of these activities are completely void of human factors considerations, the ability to directly consider driver behavior, driver comprehension, and the impact of driver decision making in the analysis is incredibly complex and often omitted.  The use of full-scale driving simulators as a research and analysis tool may help significantly reduce the complexity of human factors-based consideration in the context of safety analyses and provide a new and effective tool to improve the safety of our roadway system. This lecture will consider several safety issues facing transportation agencies, namely median crossover crashes, permissive left-turn crashes, and roundabout safety, presenting thoughts and findings on related research.  Additionally, this lecture will integrate the attributes of full-scale driving simulators and explore how this tool can effectively enhance understanding related to traffic control devices, design decisions, road safety audits, and the most important variable in transportation – the road user.    

Bio: David A. Noyce, Ph.D., P.E. is an Associate Professor and member of the transportation engineering faculty in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Wisconsin – Madison (UW-Madison).  He also holds a joint appointment in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.  Dr. Noyce received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering from UW-Madison in 1984 and 1995, respectively, and completed his Ph.D. in Civil (Transportation) Engineering at Texas A&M University in 1999. Dr. Noyce has over 27 years of experience in transportation engineering including state government, private consulting, and academia.  He has held positions at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Texas A&M University, the Texas Transportation Institute, the Illinois Department of Transportation, and several U.S. consulting firms.