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MATC Students Awarded Eisenhower Fellowships

by Frannie Sprouls

 

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently awarded Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowships to three students representing MATC consortium schools. Carrie Mohlman and Cale Stolle from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Nicole Oneyear from Iowa State University, were each awarded the distinguished fellowships, which are presented to a select group of outstanding students pursuing their master’s or doctoral degrees in transportation-related fields.

Mohlman, under the supervision of her adviser Dr. Aemal Khattak, is conducting research to develop a reliable methodology for testing driver fatigue. She said her goal is to provide more objective ways for law enforcement officials to test fatigue, in a manner similar to a sobriety test.

“It’s well understood that fatigued driving has negative impacts on safety, but there isn’t much that’s been done to show what we should really do to prevent accidents,” Mohlman said. “If our state patrol officers pull someone over and can’t tell if you’re fatigued in an objective way, there’s nothing we can really do to enforce these laws."

Stolle, who works for UNL’s Midwest Roadside Safety Facility, specializes in research on zone of intrusion and concrete barrier widths. Zone of intrusion and concrete barrier standards have been inadequately researched, Stolle noted. The current code used in the Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH), which is the national standard used in crash testing, was developed over a decade ago; moreover, concrete barriers have not been quantitatively assessed to a great extent for over two decades. Stolle’s research will provide a much-needed resource for updating the current code to reflect modern vehicle fleets. It also sparks new interest in an important engineering safety topic.

“Not only does this research bring both of those issues forward to the table for discussion, but it also opens up what needs to be done to further concrete barrier research and zone of intrusion research,” Stolle said.

Stolle, who is advised by Dr. John Reid, expects to graduate from UNL this year, and said he would like to continue to conduct safety research.

“I feel that I am passionate about transportation safety research. I hope to continue to do that in the future,” he said.

Oneyear, who is advised by Dr. Shauna Hallmark, is working on a project that assesses the relationship between driver behavior, driver characteristics, roadway factors, environmental factors, and the likelihood of lane departures on rural two-lane curves. She has utilized Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) 2 Naturalist Driving Data, as well as the SHRP 2 Roadway Information Database, for her research.

“I am contributing to the SHRP 2 S08D Project as a graduate research assistant, and decided to expand on the work being done as part of the scope of this project for my research, as it will allow us to better understand driving on rural curves,” Oneyear said.

Oneyear plans to pursue the professorship once she earns her Ph.D., when she will continue to conduct safety-related research.

All three Eisenhower fellows represented MATC at the Transportation Research Board’s 92nd Annual Meeting in January of 2013.