UC Berkeley SafeTREC is excited to be a part of the Collaborative Sciences Center for Road Safety (CSCRS), a U.S. Department of Transportation-funded National University Transportation Center led by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Highway Safety Research Center.
CSCRS is one of five national University Transportation Centers announced in November 2016. The Center unites leading university transportation research, planning, public health, data science and engineering programs with the mission to create and exchange knowledge to advance transportation safety through a multidisciplinary, Safe Systems approach.
The UC Berkeley team, led by SafeTREC Co-Director Offer Grembek, is one of five university consortium members, along with the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Duke University, Florida Atlantic University and University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Learn more about the important work CSCRS has done to help advance the Safe System approach to road safety:
- Watch the video “CSCRS Vision For a Safer Road System.”
- Read the report “Vision for a Safer Road System.”
- Read two-page executive summary “Applying Fresh Approaches to Enduring Road Safety Problems.”
Learn more about the UC Berkeley SafeTREC CSCRS research projects:
- R1: Structures of Stakeholder Relationships in Making Road Safety Decisions
- R2: An Enhanced Systemic Approach to Safety
- R4: Completing the Picture of Traffic Injuries: Understanding Data Needs and Opportunities for Road Safety
- R12: Linking Crash and Post-Crash Data
- R14: Creating a CSCRS Clearinghouse for Bicyclist and Pedestrian Safety-Related Data, Phase I: Inventory & Framework
- R24: Developing a Framework to Combine the Different Protective Features of a Safe System
- R26: Understanding Micromobility Safety Behavior and Standardizing Safety Metrics for Transportation System Integration
- R30: Urban Freight and Road Safety: Trends and Innovative Strategies
- R38: Assessing how private beliefs conflict with public action on Safe Systems
- R39: Integrating systems thinking tools into Vision Zero and Safe Systems approaches
Education and Professional Development
In addition to the research efforts, SafeTREC conducts educational and professional development activities to support CSCRS goals and provide opportunities to engage staff and professionals working in several disciplines including public health, engineering, planning, data science and robotics. Professional development activities may include events and conferences, as well as lectures and webinars. Listed below are a selection of recent events SafeTREC researchers have participated in. Visit the CSCRS professional development webpage for more information.
CSCRS Research to Practice Bytes: this series focuses on multidisciplinary research and practices to advance transportation safety. The series frequently features principles and practices related to Safe Systems and the role of systems science, core themes in CSCRS’s initiatives. Visit the series webpage for links to each session recording. SafeTREC has presented in the following sessions:
- February 22, 2023: SafeTREC's Jill Cooper presents "Peer Influence and the Perceptions of Safety"
- June 22, 2022: SafeTREC's Offer Grembek presents "Strategies for managing the effects of kinetic energy in crashes"
- July 30, 2021: SafeTREC's Katherine Chen presents in "Redesigning the System to Support Safety"
- August 6, 2021: SafeTREC's Offer Grembek presents in "Broadening the Toolbox for Kinetic Energy Management"
Education activities include events, conferences, college courses, seminars, student programs, and student research and scholarships. also include student fellowship, research grant, and presentation opportunities. Listed below are a selection of CSCRS education related activities at SafeTREC. Visit the CSCRS education webpage for more information.
- UCB College courses that explore transportation safety issues.
- CSCRS Road Safety Graduate Student Fellowship: applications are now closed. Stay tuned for future fellowship opportunities!
- CSCRS Student Road Safety Presentation Grants: ongoing/please submit application 45 days prior to the expected presentation date.
Spring 2021 CSCRS Road Safety Fellows
Ethan Ebinger, Department of City and Regional Planning
Reframing traffic enforcement in Berkeley, CA
This July the Berkeley City Council voted to become the first city in the United States to separate traffic enforcement from the police department. However, the City Council has yet to identify how to implement the transition. With no definitions set my research will identify the goals of successful traffic enforcement without police and establish a framework for the City of Berkeley via case studies of communities in other nations that do not rely on armed officers for traffic stops.
I am honored to be selected as a CSCRS Fellow and am excited to use this opportunity to contribute to and advance the conversation on traffic safety and enforcement.
Read Ethan Ebinger's Final Report:
Alternatives to Re-Center Road Safety in Transportation Enforcement
Meiqing Li, Department of City and Regional Planning
Cross-country Comparison of Micromobility Safety, Built Environment, and User Behavior
This project aims to investigate the relationship between micromobility safety, user behavior, and built environment across cities and countries, under the Safe System framework. I will collect and analyze data of micromobility safety, user behavior, built environment and infrastructure at multiple scales in various contexts, to develop a general understanding of safety risks facing micromobility users, which will in turn inform road safety policy and infrastructure design that bridge the gap between quantitative engineering measurement and qualitative human-centric design approach.
I am honored to be selected as a CSCRS Fellow and join an interdisciplinary community of road safety research. This award will provide tremendous support for me to continue my research in terms of mentorship, data collection and collaboration.
Read Meiqing Li's Final Report:
Cross-Country Comparison of Micromobility Safety, Built Environment and User Behavior
Fall 2020 CSCRS Road Safety Fellows
Alejo Alvarado, Department of City and Regional Planning
The Racial Equity Implications of Road Safety Enforcement in Oakland, CA
My research explores how the city of Oakland’s current road safety enforcement model results in disparate outcomes across racial groups. By analyzing police stop data, I examine how communities of color, particularly Black people, are over-policed in the city. I will also explore how proposed solutions such as automated speed enforcement might also have a disproportionate impact on communities of color.
I am grateful to be chosen as a CSCRS Fellow, and am excited to share my passion for transportation planning and racial justice. I’m ecstatic to work with SafeTREC and learn from other fellows. I hope my research will help center communities of color in the road safety conversation.
Read Alejo Alvarado's Final Report:
The Racial Equity Implications of Road Safety Enforcement in Oakland, CA
Jonathan Kupfer, Civil and Environmental Engineering/Department of City and Regional Planning
How Safe Are Slow Streets and Who Are They For? A Spatial Analysis of Bicycle Collision Data and the Racial Disparity Within Bicycle Safety
My research plans to analyze the racial disparities in bicycle collision data both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. I hope to examine how "Slow Streets" programs affect bicycle collision rates for different populations. I plan to use both quantitative and qualitative methods to understand issues around safety and level of comfort: planners and engineers implement bike lanes to increase comfort and safety for cyclists, but not everyone experiences the same comfort or perceived increase in safety from a bike lane.
I am really excited to be a CSCRS Road Safety Fellow. I was interested in conducting this research before learning of the CSCRS Fellowship, and being selected as a fellow has given me the resources to do so. I am excited to better understand how bicycle facility design and placement has allowed for and aided in a racial disparity in collision data so that we can help design safer and more comfortable roads for all users.
Read Jonathan Kupfer's Final Report:
Active Exposure: Using collision data in lieu of traffic counts to evaluate risk for active transportation users
Michael Wehrmeyer, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Ongoing and Long-Term Traffic Safety Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic greatly shifted travel behavior in the U.S. and led to a reduction in overall traffic congestion, creating road conditions in which unsafe driving behaviors are more common in vehicle users. This research investigates changes in driving behavior during the COVID-19 crisis to inform transportation systems design for both disruptions and long-range plans.
I am honored to be selected as a CSCRS Fellow. With the award's provided mentorship and support, I am confident in my contributions to the research of a developing and consequential topic.
Read Michael Wehrmeyer's final report:
Traffic Safety Changes During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency in California, Louisiana, Massachusetts, and Ohio
Spring 2020 Fellow
Edward Kim, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences
Formalization of Scenario Description via Probabilistic Programming Language
Scenario generation in simulation for autonomous vehicles is an uncharted territory and an urgent issue for road safety. My project will focus on developing a dynamic scenario (i.e. includes actions of traffic participants) description programming language that puts forth a groundwork for a systematic approach to simulation by formalizing the way scenario is described (syntax) and understood (semantics). Using the proposed language, we can abstract away from low-level reasoning on waypoints and trajectories, and reason at an intuitive high-level of understanding. We envision scenario description as a program that can be automatically compiled down to a machine readable code and be executed/simulated across different simulators.
I am excited to work on this innovative research direction and have a chance to share it with researchers in the CSCRS. I believe there is a strong connection between my proposed research and various CSCRS's research projects on safe systems, such as the work being done to link crash and post-crash data.
Read Edward Kim's final report:
Formal Scenario-Based Testing of Autonomous Vehicles: From Simulation to the Real World
Fall 2019 Fellows
Yingjia Feng, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Evaluate the Quality of the Biking Environment Based on Large-scale Analysis of Google Street View Images
My research aims to establish a methodology to evaluate the biking environment of city streets by conducting image segmentation on Google street view photos. The research will especially focus on identifying a set of better indicators from the segmentation results that can be the index of evaluating the biking environment for safety, and improve the accuracy of the evaluating method.
I'm feeling very lucky to be selected as a CSCRS fellow because this is the first time that my research interest is valued by other people. I'm very excited to start a whole new journey here with all the other fellows.
Read Yingjia Feng's final report:
Establishing a Training Set of San Francisco Street View Photos for the Image Segmentation Model on Biking Environment
Guillaume Goujard, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Impact of a Traffic Light Failure on the Risk of Crashes at Intersections
The road network can be disrupted by various causes. A power outage deactivating signal lights is just one example of the many potential causes of massive road network disruptions. Other causes include natural disasters (earthquakes, hurricanes, etc.), or even cyber attacks. The impact of these extreme events has a significant impact on road safety and the goal of my project will be to quantify it.
I am honored to have been selected as a CSCRS Fellow. This award, by providing me with resources and mentoring, will allow me to contribute to this exciting field of research.
Read Guillaume Goujard's final report:
Evaluating the Best Arrangement for Microradars At a Sensored Crosswalk
Chester Harvey, Department of City and Regional Planning
Examining Associations Between Human-Scale Streetscapes and Perceived Safety Among Pedestrians
Perceived safety is an important criterion for pedestrians deciding where, or even whether, to walk. My research examines how streetscape design influences safety perceptions using a combination of physiological stress indicators, participant photography, and semi-structured interviews to examine how participants react to diverse streetscapes. Results will inform how streetscape design may be used as a lever to promote perceived safety and encourage pedestrian transportation.
It is exciting to play a role in expanding conversations about the role of perceived safety in transportation behavior, and about how factors outside the traditional realm of transportation, such as streetscape design, can be incorporated into the transportation safety toolkit.
Read Chester Harvey's final report:
A Simplified Measure of Streetscape Enclosure for Examining Built Environment Influences on Walking
Marta Polovin, Department of City and Regional Planning
Putting a Price on Truck Parking: A Planning & Public Health Policy Perspective
My research aims to analyze the relationship between limited freight truck parking and operator-involved, fatigue-related collisions along one of the busiest freight corridors in the state, California’s Interstate 5 (I-5). Previous studies have not deeply explored how paid parking and market-based, demand-responsive pricing could be used as a regulatory tool to help reduce collisions and improve safety outcomes along highway systems. This study will conduct a state-level policy and equity analysis regarding the feasibility of implementing demand-responsive pricing for truck parking at Caltrans’s public rest stops.
I am deeply honored to have been selected as a CSCRS Fellow. Through the support of the fellowship and SafeTREC, I look forward to contributing to research that improves safety outcomes for truck drivers and for those sharing the road with them.
Read Marta Polovin's final report:
Putting a Price on Truck Parking: A Planning & Public Health Policy Perspective
Summer 2019 Fellow
Riya Young, School of Public Health
A Study of Uber/Lyft Driver Behaviors Contributing to Distracted Driving and Traffic Safety
I am excited and greatly honored to be selected as a CSCRS Fellow. I spend a lot of time on the road as an Uber/Lyft driver myself and see the growing safety issues with increasing traffic. I hope this study will help educate all drivers on safer driving practices to reduce distracted driving and improve traffic safety.
Read Riya Young's final report:
Distracted Driving Experiences between Uber/Lyft Drivers and Recreational Drivers and Impacts to Traffic Safety Part 2
Spring 2019 Fellows
Libby Nachman, Department of City & Regional Planning
Evaluating the Effects of a Bicycle Education Intervention on Mode Shift, Confidence and Riding Frequency
Bicycle safety education is implemented in numerous cities as a strategy to increase the number of people traveling by bicycle. However, little is known about the effects of bicycle education on rider outcomes such as mode shift, confidence and rider frequency. This study surveys bicycle education participants to find out more about the effects of the class intervention.
Read Libby Nachman's final report:
Evaluating the Effects of a Classroom-Based Bicycle Education Intervention on Self-Efficacy, Personal Safety, Knowledge, and Mode Choice
Eva Vaillancourt, Department of History
Understanding the Birth of Our Modern Traffic Order, 1896-1960
My research aims at building a global history of the basic norms, rules, and assumptions which underpin our relationship to motorized movement on the open road. It is my hope that by understanding the social and political forces that brought these assumptions into being, road-safety practitioners will be better able to imagine new ways of working with, against, and around them. Moreover, I believe that studying how societies in the past adapted themselves to the automobile will help our own society prepare itself, institutionally and emotionally, for the coming of autonomous vehicles.
With this fellowship, CSCRS has given me something that historians hardly ever get: the chance to be in direct conversation with people whose work affects daily life in an immediate and material way. To be given an opportunity to show how history can contribute to such work is, for me, both a privilege and a real, sincere pleasure.
Read an extended abstract of Eva Vaillancourt's final report:
The Right of Way: Making Rules for Movement on British Roads, 1896-1930
Fall 2018 Fellows
Pierre-Elie Belouard, Department of Civil Engineering
The Impact of Dynamic Speed Limits on Road Safety
Except in some rare experiments, speed limits have so far mostly been static. Dynamic or Adaptive speed limit is the art of making the speed limits varying, depending on the weather, traffic and visibility conditions. The goal of my research project is to select the most relevant parameters, to build a dynamic speed limit model and to predict the effect of the introduction of such a dynamic speed limit model on road safety.
Being selected as a CSCRS Fellow is a great honor. I am looking forward to working with Berkeley SafeTREC's team and to exploring the possibilities offered by combining the power of data and mathematical optimization to make roads a safer place!
Read Pierre-Elie's final report:
The Impact of Smart Roads' Adaptive Speed Limit on Road Safety
Zhi Li, School of Information
Recognizing Unsafe Roads Using Online Open Data
This research aims to take advantage of the huge amounts of online open data and use the techniques of deep learning to map the safety scores of a specific urban area, recognize roads with a high risk of accidents, and make proper suggestions accordingly.
The CSCRS fellowship gives me a chance to apply machine learning into road safety, which is a very interesting area. I'm excited to do more research here.
Nandita Sampath, Goldman School of Public Policy
Investigate Regulation and Standardization of Continuous Data Collection in Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) to Ameliorate the Incidence of AV Accidents
My research will take a policy-focused approach to regulating autonomous vehicle crashes. I will be looking at ways to better standardize regulation of Autonomous Vehicle (AV) crashes as well as what kinds of data should be continually monitored by the AV and available for review after an AV crash.
I am honored to be chosen as a CSCRS Fellow and look forward to my upcoming research this semester! I hope my research can help contribute to better autonomous vehicle policy in California and the U.S.
Read Nandita's final report:
Proposal to Investigate Regulation and Standardization of Continuous Data Collection in Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) to Ameliorate the Incidence of AV Accidents
Fangyu Wu, Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences
Real-Time Prevention of Risky Vehicular Maneuvers Using Deep Reinforcement Learning, Microsimulation, and Cognitive Sciences
The transition to autonomous and connected transportation should be a safe and gradual process. One step toward this goal is to develop safe and efficient Artificial Intelligence to augment human real-time decision making of vehicle navigation.
The CSCRS fellowship gives me the resources and support necessary for my research in this area. I feel deeply honored and grateful to be part of the community to advance the state-of-the-art in transportation research and to promote the public’s welfare.
Read Fangyu's final report:
A Human-Machine Collaborative Acceleration Controller Attained from Pixel Learning and Evolution Strategies
Mengqiao Yu, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Evaluation of Autonomous Vehicle Safety Based on California DMV Crash Reports
This study aims to conduct a comprehensive analysis about the difference between Autonomous Vehicle (AV) collisions and common collisions (in which only human drivers are involved). Based on the comparison results, the study further extracts key factors associated with AV collisions and proposed challenging scenarios for AVs.
CSCRS connects me with other researchers from different fields (public policy, computer science, etc.), and we can leverage our own expertise to brainstorming and solving critical safety-related problems.
Read Mengqiao's final report:
Data Processing & Collision Analysis System for AV Crash Reports
2018 Summer CSCRS Fellows
Cynthia Armour, City and Regional Planning:
Policy-making at the intersection of Autonomous Vehicles and Public Health
As a CSCRS Fellow I'll be working on a literature review centered on Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) and public health. I'm interested in seeing to what extent safety and health considerations regarding the arrival of AVs are translating to concrete policy and legislation.
I'm honored and excited to be taking on this work with SafeTREC and CSCRS! I'm looking forward to diving into the substantial and ever-growing body of literature on this topic and I look forward to contributing a multi-disciplinary effort which engages emerging perspectives on the topic of AVs and transportation revolutions.
Read Cynthia's completed literature review:
Facing Change: Review of Potential Negative Impacts of Automated Vehicles Contrasted with Adopted Legislation
Elizabeth Resor, School of Information:
Road Safety in Africa: Challenges and Interventions
I will research road safety efforts and research in Africa, the world region with the highest rate of road safety fatalities despite having the lowest rate of motorization, to gain insights that may inform implementation of the Safe Systems approach to road safety in the United States. In particular, I will bring together current academic research and research conducted by local and international NGOs to form a more complete picture of what is known about road safety conditions and interventions in Africa.
I am excited to be joining the CSCRS as a Fellow. I look forward to sharing my research with this multi-disciplinary community and learning about the leading approaches to improving road safety worldwide.
Read Elizabeth's completed literature review:
Road Safety in Africa: A Literature Review
2017-2018 CSCRS Fellows:
Ibrahim Itani, Master of Transportation Engineering:
Applied Approaches in Establishing a Safe System in Transportation
My research involves producing a paper regarding “Safe Systems,” which are transportation systems which no one can get fatally or seriously injured on. The current area of focus is examining how safe systems are being implemented in other fields (e.g., construction, health care) and what we can learn from their approach.
Being selected as a CSCRS Fellow has allowed me to contribute to the transportation safety body of research by delving into the topic of Safe Systems. It has enriched my educational experience and helped me sharpen my research skills.
Lin Yang, Master of Transportation Engineering:
Methods for Maximizing Pre-crash Kinetic Energy Dissipation from a Safe Systems Approach
This research focuses on the methods that can be applied to maximize the pre-crash kinetic energy dissipation so that the energy imposed on the road users can be minimized. The safe system approach is applied so these methods can contribute to building a transportation network on which people cannot be severely or fatally injured.
As a masters student in transportation engineering, it is a great honor to be selected as a CSCRS fellow. This fellowship provides a valuable opportunity for me to conduct research on important road safety issues. I look forward to contributing more to this field.
Learn more about the CSCRS and current research, education, and professional development activities at the CSCRS website.