SafeTREC Spotlight: Sang-Hyeok Kang

The goal of my research is to use this [mixed reality] technology to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of communication between people who are far apart.
Sang-Hyeok Kang
June 2, 2022
Welcome back to the SafeTREC Spotlight Series where we highlight a SafeTREC team member and share their stories, work and interest in transportation and safety research. In today's post, meet Visiting Scholar Sang-Hyeok Kang.

Can you share a little bit about yourself and your role at SafeTREC?

I was born in Cheongju, Korea. I received my bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from Hanyang University in Seoul, Korea, and master's and doctoral degrees in Construction Project Management from Hanyang University Graduate School. After getting my PhD I came to SafeTREC through the introduction of my friend who was studying for a doctoral course in Transportation Engineering. Thanks to him, I worked as a GIS programmer at SafeTREC from September 2009 to March 2012 with John Bigham on the PLANSAFE project, and I'm sure many SafeTREC staff remember him. In March 2012, I flew back to Korea to get a job at the Construction Economy Research Institute of Korea. And in February 2015, I got a faculty job at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Incheon National University. 7 years have passed, and I am now on a sabbatical year as a Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley SafeTREC.

What sparked your interest in transportation safety research?

I was not interested in transportation safety research until I joined SafeTREC in 2009. My field of specialization was construction planning methodology using a geographic information system (GIS), and I came here because SafeTREC needed a GIS expert at the time. While participating in the PLANSAFE project, it was very interesting to geocode all traffic crash data in California and find crash hot spots. Since then, I have written several papers on traffic safety [please see links to papers in the right hand column.]

What issues are you particularly interested or passionate about?

Currently, I am developing a multi-party remote collaboration system based on the Building Information Model (BIM) and mixed reality for monitoring construction sites. It is far from traffic safety, but I am very interested in mixed reality technologies these days. Mixed reality is where the real and virtual worlds exist simultaneously. It is easy to understand if you think of a scene in the movie “The Kingsman” where the main character wears glasses and sees people around the table. The goal of my research is to use this technology to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of communication between people who are far apart.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I like to play golf. I go to a golf course to play golf at least once a week. Golf is a breakthrough for me to release my stress. My best score ever is 77, and my handicap is around 16. Now I'm trying to get my handicap below 10. The Bay Area where I am staying is like a paradise for golfers with many golf courses nearby. The nearest Tilden Park Golf Course is dynamic and challenging. I think you should try golf someday. You will like it!

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.