2019 Safe Systems Summit: Redefining Transportation Safety


View available presentation slide decks from the Summit.

April 22

2:00 – 5:00 p.m.


2:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Duke Humans and Autonomy Lab van demo
The Duke Humans and Autonomy Lab (HAL) has a mobile command center van equipped with multiple displays and wireless communication capabilities supporting field research and experiments. Two demonstrations in the van will include a simulation of how a remote dispatch center could assist in safety management for crashes involving autonomous and connected vehicles, and a computational model for studying human workload in a dispatch center supervising both traditional and autonomous vehicles.

Led By: Songpo Li, Postdoctoral Associate, Duke Humans and Autonomy Lab (View Bio)

2:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Drop off posters for Research Poster Showcase
Poster presenters may bring in their posters for the Apr. 23 poster showcase. There is also an option to drop them off in the morning of Apr. 23 between 7:00 – 9:00 a.m. More on the poster showcase.

4:30 6:00/6:30 p.m.

Walking tour of Durham
Join Public Transportation students from Durham’s North Carolina Central University for a 1.5/2-hour walking tour of historic downtown Durham. Find out more and RSVP.


April 23

7:00 – 9:00 a.m. Registration
7:00 – 9:00 a.m.

Drop off posters for showcase
This is the last opportunity to bring in posters for the poster showcase; no posters will be accepted after 9:00 a.m. More on the poster showcase.

7:00 – 8:45 a.m. Opening breakfast and networking
7:00  Research exploration room opens
8:45 – 9:00 a.m.

Welcome address

Speakers: Mark Ezzell, Director, NC Governor’s Highway Safety Program (View Bio)

Kevin Lacy, State Traffic Engineer, NC Department of Transportation (View Bio)

Laura Sandt, Director, CSCRS (View Bio)

9:00 – 10:00 a.m. Opening session: Past successes and future challenges in traffic safety
CSCRS Director Laura Sandt will outline the “wicked” problems we face and why some traffic safety issues are more persistent than others, underlying the need for new systems-oriented paradigms and skill sets. Then, public health experts will speak to specific traffic safety challenges the field has faced in the past, how injury prevention approaches have been applied and have evolved, and what is needed to ensure success in addressing future transportation issues.

Speakers: Laura Sandt, Director, CSCRS (View Bio)

Alan Dellapenna, Branch Head, Injury and Violence Prevention, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

Ann Dellinger, Branch Chief, Home, Recreation, and Transportation Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (View Bio)

10:00 – 10:15 a.m. Break
10:15 – 11:15 a.m. Systems 101: Essentials of Safe Systems and systems thinking
International experience with Safe Systems principles has demonstrated the potential to substantially reduce the road toll, but applying Safe Systems to the United States presents numerous hurdles. In this session, we’ll explore how various nations have applied Safe Systems principles and how Vision Zero compares with Safe Systems abroad. We’ll also examine systems science as a potential tool for improving the performance of domestic Safe Systems and Vision Zero programs.

Speakers: Peter Furth, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Northeastern University (View Bio)

Kristen Hassmiller Lich, Associate Professor, Department of Health Policy & Management, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health (View Bio)

Leah Shahum, Founder & Executive Director, Vision Zero Network (View Bio)

Moderator: Wes Kumfer, Engineering Research Associate, UNC Highway Safety Research Center (View Bio)

11:15 – 11:30 a.m. Break
11:30 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. Lunch and keynote address: From Safe Systems to system safety
In this keynote address, McClure will draw upon his extensive training and experience in injury prevention research and practice, his role as director of various research institutes, and his leadership experience at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to address the critical need for systems thinking within a roadway safety context. With his vast wealth of knowledge on the systemic prevention of injury, McClure will challenge our assumptions regarding Safe Systems and offer insights into how we can reduce the global road toll.

Speaker: Roderick McClure, Dean, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of New England (Australia) (View Bio)

1:15 – 1:30 p.m. Break
1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Moving principles into practice
This session will showcase examples from projects and communities that are incorporating Safe Systems principles and practical methods to integrate roadway design, community engagement and other considerations. Integration across different safety-improving efforts creates the necessary synergy to deliver more effective solutions to transportation safety problems.

Speakers: Jill Cooper, Co-Director, University of California, Berkeley Safe Transportation Research and Education Center (View Bio)

Sarah Garner, Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor, NC Conference of District Attorneys (View Bio)

Moderator: Offer Grembek, Co-Director, University of California, Berkeley Safe Transportation Research and Education Center (View Bio)

2:30 – 3:00 p.m. Networking break
3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Concurrent sessions:
Data integration to support safer systems
A comprehensive safety data system is comprised of a number of data sets including not only crash data, but also roadway and traffic data, vehicle, driver, citation, and hospital/EMS data. Historically these datasets have been kept in siloed data repositories across a number of agencies. While transportation agencies are increasingly seeing the benefits of merging these data for more robust data-driven safety analysis, integrating these disparate systems remains a challenge. This session will explore integration across datasets and jurisdictions through both Federal and State efforts, discussing the challenges, successes and lessons learned.

Speakers: Tim Kerns, Director, Maryland Highway Safety Office (View Bio)

Bob Scopatz, Senior Transportation Analyst, VHB (View Bio)

Stuart Thompson, Project Manager, Roadway Safety Data Program, U.S. DOT Federal Highway Administration (View Bio)

Moderator: Chris Cherry, Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville (View Bio)


Navigating complex transportation systems
Systems science offers an interdisciplinary set of tools that can help examine and determine how best to intervene on complex problems. Given that transportation problems often arise and persist due to dynamic interactions among a multitude of factors, systems science approaches have much to offer the transportation field. In this session, we will explore concrete applications of systems science tools to persistent transportation problems. Applications will highlight the utility of these tools for both researchers and practitioners working to advance the science and practice of transportation safety.

Speakers: Naveen Eluru, Associate Professor, Department of Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering, University of Central Florida (View Bio)

Becky Naumann, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health (View Bio)

4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Break
5:00 p.m. Research exploration room closes
5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Research Poster Showcase and Networking Reception
Connect with colleagues while you explore the work of students and researchers presenting their transportation and public health-related research, capstone and community projects as posters. As professionals in your respective fields, we invite you to peruse the research, ask questions, and engage in an open discourse with the presenters. The reception will have a cash bar.

Presenter: Asad Khattak, Beaman Distinguished Professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, UTK (View Bio)

7:00 – 9:00 p.m. Optional: Extracurricular networking activity for young professionals

After the research poster showcase, join the Young Professionals in Transportation – Triangle Chapter for a pay-your-own-way networking reception at Pour Taproom Durham. Pour (202 N. Corcoran St., #200) is a short walk from the Durham Convention Center. RSVP for the event, and view the event flyer.


April 24

7:00 – 9:00 a.m. Registration
7:00 a.m. Research exploration room opens
7:00 – 8:30 a.m. Breakfast and networking
8:30 – 8:45 a.m. Welcome address, recap of day one

Speakers: Mary “Missy” Cummings, Director, Duke Humans and Autonomy Lab; and Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Duke University Pratt School of Engineering (View Bio)

Laura Sandt, Director, CSCRS (View Bio)

8:45 – 9:45 a.m. Interactive session: roundtable discussions on future of transportation
Participate in this interactive session centered around connected and autonomous vehicles and what they mean for road safety. The session will frame the discussion by identifying history’s neglected but important lessons for automated vehicles’ future. Attendees will also engage in roundtable discussions exploring various aspects of the automated vehicle universe. Hear from other diverse voices about what the concept of driverless cars means to them, and share your own.

Speaker: Peter Norton, Associate Professor, Engineering and Society, University of Virginia (View Bio)

Moderator: Wes Kumfer, Engineering Research Associate, UNC Highway Safety Research Center (View Bio)

9:45 – 10:00 a.m. Break
10:00 – 11:15 a.m. Concurrent sessions:
Setting the scene for promoting shared safety goals
Frames structure our ideas, they shape how we reason, and impact how we perceive and act. By focusing on certain aspects of a traffic safety issue, frames convey who is responsible and often propose solutions to problems. For example, a proposal to install a “road diet” can be framed as “reducing the number of car lanes” or “increasing road user safety.” Join us for an interactive session to learn how to identify frames used in everyday crash narratives, and then “re-frame” these narratives to motivate people to act to improve the safety of all road users.

Speakers: Sarah Parvanta, Research Public Health Analyst, RTI International (View Bio)

Jules Payne, Research Sociologist, Workplace Health and Safety, RTI International (View Bio)

Nicholas Ward, Director, Center for Health and Safety Culture, Western Transportation Institute (View Bio)

Moderator: Seth LaJeunesse, Research Associate, UNC Highway Safety Research Center (View Bio)


Inspiring and enabling collaboration and engagement
This session will focus on the role of collaboration and community engagement in building and acting on shared understandings of mobility, accessibility, and safety. Participants will learn about community-based participatory research and be exposed to techniques and methods to improve identification, communication and bidirectional learning from community partners. Participants will also hear about on-going community-based participatory research projects, locally and globally. Finally, the session will include discussion on how community-based research enriches and informs the systems science approach to road safety.

Speakers: Leah Frerichs, Assistant Professor, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health (View Bio)

Danielle Spurlock, Assistant Professor, UNC Department of City and Regional Planning (View Bio)

Allie Thomas, Assistant Professor, UNC Department of City and Regional Planning (View Bio)

Moderator: Kelly Evenson, Professor, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health (View Bio)

11:15 – 11:30 a.m. Break
11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. Lunch and keynote address: Self-driving car safety – it’s complicated
Consider the future of self-driving cars from an interdisciplinary perspective with one of the nation’s leading experts in robotics and systems safety. This keynote address and lunch will be followed by the presentation of student poster awards.

Speaker: Phil Koopman, Associate Professor, Carnegie Mellon University Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (View Bio)


Student awards presentation
Three students will be recognized for top research in the Research Poster Showcase that was held on Tuesday night.

Presenter: Randa Radwan, Director, UNC Highway Safety Research Center (View Bio)

12:45 – 1:00 p.m. Break
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Concurrent sessions:
Regulating evolving technology
New technology is often promoted as a means to improve safety. But new technology can also introduce new risks that are hard to predict during early development, creating new challenges for policymakers concerned with public safety. In this session we’ll discuss how innovation often outpaces the speed of regulation and investigate ways regulatory regimes could adapt to keep up.

Speakers: Lori Snyder Bennear, Juli Plant Grainger Associate Professor of Energy Economics and Policy, Duke University Nicholas School for the Environment (View Bio)

Jason Gainey, Manager, Passive Safety and Accident Research at Volkswagen Group of America (View Bio)

Moderator: Michael Clamann, Senior Human Factors Engineer, UNC Highway Safety Research Center (View Bio)


Measuring system success
This session will address six questions:

  • How should the impact of a Safe Systems approach be evaluated?
  • What is the degree of alignment and misalignment between Safe Systems measures and traditional measures of safety?
  • How might safety performance measures be better aligned with desired improvements in safety?
  • How might iterative and organizational learning approaches be used to identify and implement more useful safety measures?
  • How can success measures be developed that are shared by all relevant stakeholders?
  • How should evaluations of safety systems be constructed to recognize the complex characteristics of safety systems?

Speaker: Jonathan A. Morell, Editor Emeritus, Evaluation and Program Planning; President, 4.669… Evaluation and Planning (View Bio)

Moderator: Krista Nordback, Senior Research Associate, UNC Highway Safety Research Center (View Bio)

2:00 – 2:30 p.m. Networking break
2:30 – 3:30 p.m. Leadership that adapts to a changing world
In this session, we will learn from the experiences of leaders who are at the forefront of advancing road safety in the local, national, and international arenas. The session will include an interactive panel discussion where speakers and the audience can discuss challenges and opportunities for advancing Safe Systems in practice.

Speakers: Jeff Michael, Visiting Scholar, Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research & Policy (former Associate Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) 

Ben Welle, Global Health & Road Safety Manager, World Resources Institute, Ross Center for Sustainable Cities (View Bio)

Moderator: Eric Dumbaugh, Associate Professor, Florida Atlantic University School of Urban & Regional Planning (View Bio)

3:30 – 4:00 p.m.

The road ahead
This session will reflect on key insights from the Summit and discuss the implications for educators, researchers, and communities. We will consider the questions generated by the Summit to identify research needs as well as opportunities for collaboration among participants.

Speakers: Steve Marshall, Director, UNC Injury Prevention Research Center; and Professor, UNC Department of Epidemiology (View Bio)

Noreen McDonald, Department Chair, Thomas Willis Lambeth Distinguished Professor, Director of Carolina Transportation Program, UNC Department of City and Regional Planning (View Bio)

Randa Radwan, Director, UNC Highway Safety Research Center (View Bio)

  – OR –
2:30 – 4:00 p.m.

Concurrent workshops:

Tackling wicked problems using systems mapping lessons
In this session, we will build skills in using systems methods to unpack “wicked” transportation problems such as impairment, distraction, speed, and technology change. We will examine how system dynamics tools can foster new collaborations, partnerships, and problem-solving approaches. We will provide strategies for integrating systems approaches into current transportation safety research and practice in ways that can complement and enhance current practices.

Speakers: Jill Kuhlberg, Postdoctoral Research Associate, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health (View Bio)

Kristen Hassmiller Lich, Associate Professor, Department of Health Policy & Management, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health (View Bio)

Facilitator: Becky Naumann, Research Assistant Professor, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health (View Bio)


Enhancing NC Vision Zero through data integration
This workshop provides an opportunity to learn about the work that is being done by the City of Durham, the Durham- Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization, Duke University Hospital and UNC Health Care to address data integration needs in North Carolina. The small group will discuss how to support high injury network mapping, injury validation, systemic analysis, and Vision Zero. We will also explore options for the most useful data linkages and resources needed to maximize integration.

Speakers: Tracy Anderson, Program Coordinator, NC Vision Zero (View Bio)

Angela Berry, Project Manager, Vision Zero, Safer Streets for Charlotte 

Gregory Ferrara, Program Manager, Geospatial Analytics and Decision Management, Institute for Transportation Research and Education (View Bio)

Dale McKeel, Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization (View Bio)

Anne Phillips, Transportation Specialist, City of Durham Transportation Department 

Anna Waller, Research Professor; Director, Carolina Center for Health Informatics; Adjunct Associate Professor, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health (View Bio)

Facilitator: Katie Harmon, Postdoctoral Research Associate, UNC Highway Safety Research Center (View Bio)

PLEASE NOTE: Capacity is limited; please inquire about available seats at registration desk prior to the workshop.

3:00 p.m. Research exploration room closes
4:00 p.m. Safe Systems Summit ends
4:30 – 6:30 p.m. Transportation Safety Management (ANB10) Committee meeting (invitation only)


April 25

8:00 – 10:00 a.m. CSCRS Advisory Board meeting (invitation only)
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Transportation Safety Management (ANB10) Committee meeting (invitation only)