Dr. Thomas A. Dingus serves as the director for the CVI-UTC, as well as the director of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) and the National Surface Transportation Safety Center for Excellence (NSTSCE).
Since 1996, Dr. Dingus has managed the operations and research at VTTI. This multidisciplinary organization annually conducts more than $36 million in sponsored program research expenditures. Prior to joining Virginia Tech, Dr. Dingus was founding director of the National Center for Transportation Technology at the University of Idaho and was an associate director of the Center for Computer-Aided Design at the University of Iowa.
Since 1984, Dr. Dingus has conducted transportation safety and human factors research related to driver distraction and attention, the safety and usability of advanced in-vehicle devices, crash avoidance countermeasures, and truck driver fatigue. He has pioneered studies of naturalistic driving, which involve instrumenting cars, trucks, and motorcycles with unobtrusive video cameras and sophisticated instrumentation (e.g., radar) designed to assess crash and near-crash causation and to test a variety of crash countermeasures. VTTI is currently leading such studies worldwide with more than 4,000 equipped vehicles deployed to date.
Dr. Dingus was named a White House Champion of Change and was selected for his exemplary leadership in developing or implementing transportation technology solutions. Dr. Dingus is a Fellow of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES), from which he has received several awards, including the A.R. Lauer Award for outstanding contributions to the field of safety. He has had the honor of testifying before U.S. Congressional subcommittees (four times), the National Transportation Safety Board, and the National Council of State Legislatures about issues of driver distraction and attention. Dr. Dingus is a member of the boards of directors of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International and the Intelligent Transportation Society of America. He was recently elected to serve on Virginia Governor’s Unmanned Systems Commission.
Dr. Dingus has more than 220 technical publications and has managed approximately $300 million in research funding to date ($130 million as principal investigator). Notable projects for which Dr. Dingus has served as a principal investigator or program manager include the 100-Car Study sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Heavy Truck Drowsy Driver Warning System sponsored by NHTSA, and the Second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2) Naturalistic Driving Study (NDS) sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Zachary Doerzaph is the Director of the Center for Advanced Automotive Research (CAAR) at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI). As Director, Doerzaph coordinates a research portfolio focused on measuring and improving the performance of next generation vehicle systems. His research projects emphasize safety as it relates to the interactions between driver, vehicle, and infrastructure. He focuses his efforts on the design, development, and evaluation of connected vehicles, collision avoidance systems, automated driving systems, driver interfaces, and driver behavior monitoring and evaluation. Presently Doerzaph is working with his team of researchers on a variety of technologies that will improve transportation for all users in the near-term and far into the future.
As VTTI Consortium Leader for the CVI-UTC, he is responsible for developing and articulating the approach, objectives, and vision. With degrees and experience rooted in objective evaluation, Dr. Doerzaph effectively works with developers and stakeholders to obtain consensus on performance management and measurement strategies. Although he operates across levels, Dr. Doerzaph is particularly skilled at conceptualizing and articulating large, complex systems and providing engineers and other developers with the vision necessary to successfully design and develop advanced vehicles and infrastructure.
At VTTI, as a part of CVI-UTC outreach, Open House and School Day tours designed for community members and K-12 students, respectively, offers a rare insight into what it is like to work in transportation research on a daily basis. Each tour session included a video lecture with transportation professionals that featured research projects on naturalistic driving and highly-instrumented vehicles, and visits to the 511/Smart Road control center, the instrumented vehicle garage, and the Virginia Smart Road featuring an artificial rain experience. This April, 235 community members, 315 students and 32 teachers and parents participated in these two tour events. Also this spring, the CVI-UTC was featured at the VTTI booth at the ITS America Conference in National Harbor, MD, and a connected vehicles reception event was held at an off-site location to offer another outlet to inform conference attendees about CVI-UTC research in a casual setting.
Dr. Brian L. Smith is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Virginia. Dr. Smith specializes in transportation systems engineering and his research focuses on intelligent transportation systems, particularly in advanced transportation management and information technology application, making him and his expertise and experience a great addition to the CVI-UTC consortium.
With the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) as lead agency and the University of Virginia Center for Transportation Studies (UVA CTS) as technical leadership provider, Cooperative Transportation Systems holds the potential to support a fundamental advance in surface transportation. While the vehicle component and infrastructure component of the transportation system have traditionally been only loosely coupled, connected vehicle technology will allow the components to “work” actively together – creating Cooperative Transportation Systems. This provides the potential for reduction in congestion, safety improvements, and improved traveler services. In order to realize this potential, Cooperative Transportation Systems will require unprecedented collaboration between the private and public sectors, on a scale not required in the current loosely coupled system. The insight that VDOT and UVA CTS is gaining in this pooled fund study is being woven into applications that will be prototyped and demonstrated in the CVI-UTC.
Dr. Z. Andrew Farkas, director of the National Transportation Center at Morgan State University, is the consortium leader who is most familiar with the UTC program, as Morgan State has been a part of the UTC program for many, many years. Recently, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley named Dr. Farkas to the newly formed state Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council. The council makes informed decisions and recommendations regarding supply, support systems and consumer awareness for the state of Maryland in the adoption of electronic vehicles for commercial and private use. Because of the experience that Dr. Farkas has in electric vehicle technology, and the interest that RITA Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office has in joining this technology with connected vehicle application, offers the CVI-UTC a distinctive perspective in developing novel research in this area through Dr. Farkas and Morgan State’s participation.
To disseminate information and research gained from the CVI-UTC consortium; there are two unique educational summer opportunities in transportation research offered at Morgan State. First, the National Summer Transportation Institute is a non-residential program, offered to 15-20 Baltimore area high school students. The purpose of the institute is to expose academically gifted high school students to various transportation technologies, concepts and careers, and to enhance academic and interpersonal skills. Second, the Teacher Transportation Institute, a two-week program offered to twenty high school educators focusing on STEM lesson plans and activities
Cathy McGhee is the Associate Director for Safety, Operations and Traffic Engineering at the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). McGhee has a B.S. in Civil Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and a M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Virginia. She is a registered professional engineer in the state of Virginia and is a member of the following: ITS America; ITS Virginia; National Society of Professional Engineers, Virginia Chapter; and TRB Committee on Regional Transportation System Management and Operations. She also is chair of TRB Task Force on the Traffic Monitoring Conferences (ABJ25T).