Can you share a little bit about yourself and your role at SafeTREC?
I was born and lived in Wuhan, China for 22 years before I left the country for post secondary studies. I obtained a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Wuhan University, with a major in Geospatial Information Science (Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing). I worked toward my master’s degree in Geography from the University of Utah with a combined interest in geospatial analysis and urban transportation systems. My master’s thesis projects investigated social and economic outcomes of the public transit system, as well as bicyclist mobility in urban environments. After I graduated, I worked briefly as a GIS specialist in the City of San José Department of Transportation. And now I have been an Applications Developer at SafeTREC for five years.
What sparked your interest in transportation safety research?
My family has been using public and active transportation for most of our lives in China. I was often amazed by the sharp differences in urban transit systems between my hometown and here in California, and how it shaped people's mobility and daily activities. As a person who used to often walk and bike and sometimes had to fearlessly cross the roads in China, I naturally became more aware of how we can share the streets more safely when driving a car.
What current projects are you working on at SafeTREC?
I am working on the Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS), which includes a variety of web tools to help map and analyze California crash data. I have also worked on the development and maintenance of the Street Story crowdsourcing tool and the California Tribal Data Viewer.
What issues are you particularly interested or passionate about?
Following my journey, I strongly believe that education can influence and change one’s life, regardless of social and economic status. I’ve also seen barriers to providing equal education opportunities both in China and the United States. I have and will continue to support schools for underserved populations.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I like training with weights which makes me feel powerful. I have also been more active during the pandemic, ironically. I enjoy taking a walk, riding my stationary bike and skiing. I find all the physical activities help me push harder, step outside of my comfort zone, and live life more fully.
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.