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Tech on Tap: Making roads safer for drivers and pedestrians

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Category: research Video duration: Tech on Tap: Making roads safer for drivers and pedestrians
As part of the Tech on Tap series, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) panel discussed safety on the roadways at the Port City Brewing Company in Alexandria, Virginia, and provided a look at the research done to help with pedestrian safety, teen driver development, and safely sharing the road with heavy trucks. 
There's a variety of us researchers here from Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. And we're going to talk about different research that we have going on, as well as a variety of research areas and endeavors we want to pursue moving forward. I'm here to talk about the Sharing the Road Program, which is an educational outreach program that VTTI puts on to teach teens and communities how to safely share the road with heavy trucks. I'm going to talk about teen drivers and the risks that face teen drivers. At VTTI, we have been doing a series of naturalistic driving studies where we put cameras in teen's vehicles and basically watch them learn to drive. She's going to turn too fast overcorrect. We have really learned a lot about the risks facing teen drivers, which includes driver distraction, driver drowsiness, but also the way that they drive. So even hard braking and hard cornering, which teens do, at a rate of five times higher than any other age group. Our team drove three, 4,000 miles around Arlington, Crystal City, et cetera. And of the thousands of pedestrians we encountered, only 18% of them ever looked up at our vehicle when they were crossing. Since 2010, pedestrian fatalities have risen 77%. We haven't had this high pedestrian fatalities in a very long time, in probably over 40 years. We're looking at a variety of different techniques, changing of roadway infrastructure, we're looking at new technologies to be able to combat what's very concerning rise. We can take a high school teen and bring them into the truck and have them experience what those blind spots are. If we can teach people strategies so that they can operate safely around a heavy truck, we can prevent fatalities, close calls, and other incidents, and help keep teens safer on the road. The whole point of our mission is to save lives, time, money, and protect the environment. And we do a variety of this by doing the research, publishing our papers, working with applied groups like car companies and tech companies and the government to try to get these technologies and solutions out there. Just doing public outreach is a really important part of this. But also, you know, we're here to further our research and so there are people in this audience who may be very interested in, in the work that we're doing and helping us to push it further.