Can you share a little bit about yourself and your role at SafeTREC?
I have a mostly engineering oriented background. I recently graduated from the Masters in Transportation Engineering program at UC Berkeley, prior to that I have a background in Civil Engineering which was my major during my undergrad. My journey at SafeTREC started back in June where I was hired as a Graduate Student Researcher. Back in August upon my graduation my appointment switched to a Data Systems Analyst where I’ve been working on the MIRE FDE project. My research interests revolve around utilizing data driven approaches towards bridging the gap between engineering, planning, and policy.
What sparked your interest in transportation safety research?
During my undergrad I had the opportunity to work as a research assistant on a Transportation Safety related project. The project aimed to assess the risk of conversing (e.g., Calling, Texting Voice Messaging) while driving. Through utilizing a driving simulator, we collected and analyzed data from more than 30 participants. Through this project I realized that there’s a large margin for improvement within transportation safety that could be achieved through research. My interests evolved towards working on data driven transportation safety projects.
What current projects are you working on at SafeTREC?
I’m currently working on the MIRE FDE data collection and integration project with Caltrans. The project aims to advance California’s data resources for informing safety analysis and consequently result in better safety planning across the state. The project is an important step towards leveraging data for better transportation safety analysis and planning. This project opens doors towards a broader array of potential data collection projects across the state where active transportation data is at the forefront of these rising efforts.
What issues are you particularly interested or passionate about?
Policymakers and planners often fail to systematically factor equity into their decision-making within transportation and beyond. In the transportation context this is evident with investments in the US being dominantly geared towards automobile-oriented transportation systems. I’m interested in bridging this gap between equity and policymaking particularly through transforming policymaking with data driven tools and approaches. However, although data could provide deep insight in that context, policymakers also need to include equity consciously and proactively in the equation for the transformation process to work.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I’ve played soccer since I was a young child, prior to the pandemic I had the opportunity to briefly play on a semi-professional level. Since things started opening up, I’ve been playing recreationally once a week. Aside from soccer I enjoy watching basketball, tennis, and Formula 1. During the winter you could occasionally find me skiing the slopes somewhere on the West Coast. I also enjoy running where I try to go on a quick run on a daily basis.
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.