Welcome back to the SafeTREC Spotlight Series where we highlight a SafeTREC team member and share their stories, work and interest in the transportation and safety research realm. In today's post, meet Afsaneh Yavari, Research and Development Engineer.
Can you share a little bit about yourself and your role at SafeTREC?
I am from Iran and moved to Milwaukee, WI in 1978 when I was in high school. I got both B.S. and Master’s degrees from University of WI-Milwaukee. Both degrees are in Civil Engineering, with an emphasis in Transportation Engineering. I am a registered Traffic Engineer in the State of California. I worked as an engineer for public and private firms in Wisconsin, New Mexico, and California before I joined UC Berkeley almost 10 years ago. The first 8 years I was with the Tech Transfer Program and for the last two years I have been at SafeTREC as a Research & Development Engineer.
What sparked your interest in transportation safety research?
I have been commuting to work most of my working life, and for almost all of my commutes, I have been driving in a car by myself. This has been mostly due to the long distance between home and work, and the lack of convenient and fast public transit that could take me to and from work in the same amount of time as driving. That is why I slowly, but surely, became interested in research in providing safe, convenient, and fast public transportation, as well as safe walking and bicycling environments for commuters like myself.
What current projects are you working on at SafeTREC?
I lead the Complete Streets Safety Assessment program. I also manage the Tribal Transportation Safety Assessment program for the Native American Tribes in California. Both of these programs help me fulfill my interest in providing safe environments for all road users and for all communities in California, including the tribal communities.
What issues are you particularly interested or passionate about?
I am very amazed at the extent of racism that still exists in the U.S. I had been under the impression that with more public education and influx of immigration in the past decade, that this might not be the case for the majority of American people, especially the younger generation. I feel it is important to keep fighting racism, not just here in this country, but globally.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Spending time with my family in our backyard. This has been especially true during the past year with the pandemic restrictions. I have hardly been in any public areas since the start of pandemic, but have enjoyed the quiet time at home with family.
This Spotlight interview was conducted in collaboration with UC Berkeley SafeTREC. The opinions and perspectives expressed are those of the interviewee and not necessarily those of SafeTREC.