1 of 2
Ryan Fries, SIUE associate professor and graduate program director in the Department of Civil Engineering.
2 of 2
Huaguo Zhou, former SIUE assistant professor
A student-faculty civil engineering research team within Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s School of Engineering has won the Illinois Center for Transportation and the Illinois Department of Transportation’s 2014 High Impact Project Award.
The recognition, which comes as the School of Engineering’s second in three years, is based on the team’s submission of its signature report, “Investigation of Contributing Factors Regarding Wrong-Way Driving on Freeways.”
Ryan Fries, Ph.D., associate professor and graduate program director in the department of civil engineering, said the 224-page report reflects the collective efforts of the eight-member research team. Fries accepted the award Wednesday, March 26 on behalf of faculty and graduate engineering student contributors.
“In Illinois, there were 217 wrong-way crashes on freeways from 2004-2009, resulting in 44 killed and 248 injured,” Fries said. “This research project sought to determine the contributing factors to wrong-way crashes on freeways and to develop promising, cost-conscious countermeasures to reduce these driving errors and their related crashes.”
The SIUE research team reviewed existing literature to summarize the world’s best practices on design, safety and operational issues specific to wrong-way interstate driving and then collected and studied six years of relevant crash data.
Fries praised IDOT project chairwoman Priscilla Tobias, chief of the agency’s Bureau of Safety Engineering, for championing the 2014 award-winning project and obtaining $7 million in funding to act on the research. The funding paid for wrong-way sign improvements and pavement markings at over 400 interchanges statewide.
Tobias said the synergy evident in SIUE’s 2014 and 2012 award-winning engineering research projects reflects the integrity of the research and its practical applications.
“Our experience with these research projects and the workshops resulting from them emphasizes the value of collaborating with other agencies,” Tobias said. “By working together, we access everyone’s best ideas, and that directly translates into reducing the number of fatalities and serious injuries on the road.
Huaguo Zhou, Ph.D., who led the 2014 award-winning research project as principal investigator, served as a SIUE assistant professor during its development. Now an associate professor at Auburn University, Zhou is continuing phase two of the effort.
[ZhouHuaguo_sm] Zhou is also credited for his work on SIUE’s 2012 High Impact Project that earned an award from ICT and IDOT. Entitled “Development of a Highway Incident Management Operational & Training Guide,” the curriculum has been cited by the National Transportation Research Board and has been instrumental in training hundreds of first responders statewide.
“This project was my first external research project when I worked with SIUE,” said Zhou. “I put 120 percent effort into it and was able to publish the first statewide training program in Illinois. I am excited for the opportunity of working on SIUE research projects which have already made a ‘high impact’ on current practices.”
Jiguang Zhao, Ph.D., who worked on the 2014 project research team as a School of Engineering graduate student, now works in traffic safety engineering research. Zhao’s doctoral work focused on data-driven methods for reducing wrong-way freeway crashes.
“This is perhaps the only dissertation on this topic worldwide,” Zhao said. “I chose this topic, because although a significant number of people die in the U.S. every year due to wrong-way crashes, little was known about the contributing factors and only minimal countermeasures nationwide had been developed.
“Since very limited research has been done on wrong-way freeway crashes, it’s difficult to compare the numbers for Illinois with those in other states. As a technical leader in research work on highway safety engineering, IDOT has been nationally recognized for its efforts in the field of traffic safety research.”
Dave King, ICT fiscal/administrative manager at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said IDOT recommended the successful project for recognition.
“To recognize this (2014) project, ICT tried to acknowledge the significant contributions of all that contributed to the success of this project, including principal investigator Huaguo Zhou and his co-PIs at SIUE, his research assistants and the Technical Review Panel members, especially co-chairs Priscilla Tobias and Rich Coakley,” King said.
School of Engineering Dean Hasan Sevim, Ph.D., said SIUE is proud of its faculty and graduate students for producing superior research that is often applicable as well.
“The impact of these projects can be profoundly useful, not only now, but also for a long time to come,” said Sevim. “These (High Impact Award) researchers are bringing solutions to situations in which human lives are in jeopardy. The value of the work they’ve produced is crucial.”
Members of the 2014 award-winning civil engineering research team at SIUE are: Zhou, Zhao, Fries, Mostafa Reisi Gahrooei, Lin Wang, Brent Vaughn, Karzan Bahaaldin and Balasubrahmanyam Ayyalasomayajula.
This article is from http://www.siue.edu/.