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Road Safety and Safe Systems

Researchers in the Center are working to understand and address the ongoing safety challenges posed by motor vehicles. Our work in this area focuses on topics such as teen drivers, older adult drivers, safer designs for streets and sidewalks, and strategies that promote safe active modes of travel.

Our transportation safety work also targets autonomous vehicles and the unique policy, ethical, and educational challenges they pose.

Explore the Center’s work in transportation safety

Center director receives grant to advance traffic safety with focus on tribal communities Accordion item description: Shannon Frattaroli, PhD received a 12-month grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to provide technical assistance resources to support implementation of a Safe System approach in U.S. Indigenous communities. The Safe System approach, developed by a group of engineers, scientists, public health professionals, and safety experts, aims to improve road design to enhance mobility, improve communities, and drive road deaths to zero. The project, one of six funded as part of the Community Traffic Safety Grant from the Road to Zero Coalition, is in partnership with the Tribal Injury Prevention Resource Center, a leading authority on Indigenous road safety. Together, the two organizations will work with tribal members to build tribal capacity to propose Safe System projects, develop road safety plans specific to the needs of tribal communities, and assist with the process of applying for federal infrastructure funding.

Safe System report and event

The Safe System approach rests on the premise that transportation-related death and injury are unacceptable and avoidable. Reaching a goal of zero deaths requires a reconfiguration of the entire system from road designers to road users. Safe System can also address structural and institutional racism by correcting for prior underinvestment in historically marginalized communities and closing gaps in safety between well-resourced and underserved areas. Under the leadership of Dr. Jeff Michael, the Center, and the Institute of Transportation Engineers convened a diverse consortium of experts to participate in a series of meetings that culminated in the Recommendations of the Safe System Consortium report.


Johns Hopkins new mobility initiative

Emerging mobility innovations are reshaping our transportation system. Fundamental changes such as automated vehicles (AVs) and the Safe System approach to road safety will bring efficient new mobility options, while improved diagnostic tools including new data systems and driver monitoring methods will facilitate the transition. Together, these new techniques have the potential to transform communities, improving both mobility and safety, saving lives, reducing injuries, and promoting health equity. Public health leadership, research, and policy development will guide the transformation and ensure that critical social goals are achieved.

The Johns Hopkins New Mobility Initiative is the focal point to stimulate and guide this new era of mobility innovation. The Initiative brings together a team of public health and transportation safety experts with a track record of successful partnerships and ideas that can facilitate emerging mobility innovations to maximize the benefits of safety, technology, and health equity.

Concept           Projects           Watch the Webcast of the Launch

The future of personal transportation

The Center and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, convened a first-of-its-kind gathering in December 2017 to focus public attention on the deployment of autonomous vehicle technology in ways that will provide the greatest social benefits.


Youth driver safety research

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among U.S. adolescents. These rates are highest in the first year of independent driving.

Promising evidence shows how simple modifications to the practice driving that adolescents experience during the learning stage can significantly reduce crash risk during the first year of independent driving

For more information, contact Johnathon P. Ehsani

Transportation Safety Resources