Center for Advanced Automotive Research

The Center for Advanced Automotive Research (CAAR) focuses on the research, development and evaluation of next generation automotive systems. CAAR is staffed by a multidisciplinary team of dedicated individuals who are passionate about improving the safety and efficiency of our nation’s transportation system. This team strives to solve a broad set of challenges associated with integrating cutting-edge technologies into the vehicles of tomorrow. The primary research areas of CAAR include crash warning/avoidance/mitigation, connected vehicles, driver-vehicle interfaces, crash causation, and vehicle automation.

Center for Automated Vehicle Systems

The Center for Automated Vehicle Systems (CAVS) presents an interdisciplinary approach to studying all aspects related to the automation life cycle in the field of transportation. CAVS conducts pragmatic research based on a scientific approach that emphasizes the importance of safety, security, reliability, and user acceptance. CAVS is anchored in applied research and strengthened by collaborations with national and international partners in vehicle automation, including groups involved in research, planning, policy, and the production of automated vehicles. Our goal is to strengthen the safety benefits of automation across all levels of the transportation industry.

Center for Data Reduction and Analysis Support

The Center for Data Reduction and Analysis Support (CDRAS) supports standardized access to and analysis of numerous naturalistic driving study data sets (currently 2.5 PB) housed at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute for researchers within and outside of the institute. Services include coding of video and audio data, data quality assurance, data standardization, data mining, event selection, and data analysis. The center actively supports data analysis collaborations with external institutions.

Center for Infrastructure-Based Safety Systems

The Center for Infrastructure-Based Safety Systems (CIBSS) focuses on roadway-based safety systems, such as lighting, visibility treatments, pavement markings, signage, signals, barriers, the interaction of visibility with roadway design, and weather considerations. CIBSS is conducting research into myriad topics that include: increasing active sign legibility during foggy conditions; evaluating the effects of lighting source, type, and power on driver performance; assessing airport garage lighting; and determining the durability of pavement markings. The center contains the Eco-Transportation and Alternative Technologies Group, which is currently conducting an investigation into the potential use of paired types of commercially available vehicle detection technologies designed to reduce false readings at intersections that result in inefficient traffic flow.

Center for Injury Biomechanics

The Center for Injury Biomechanics (CIB) is a partnership between VTTI, the Virginia Tech Department of Mechanical Engineering, and the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences. CIB conducts research into injury biomechanics, injury modeling, and transportation-related injury biomechanics. The center is conducting an in-depth study of 1,000 road-departure crashes at 24 sites across the U.S. to determine conditions such as speed and topography. Other transportation-related injury research includes car crash tests, large-scale tissue testing, NASCAR-Indy restraint testing, advanced restraint tests, guardrail evaluations, child seat evaluations, airbag-induced eye injuries, the development of a synthetic eye, elbow joint injuries from side airbags, wrist injuries, upper extremity dummy design, posterior rib fractures from side airbags, child dummy neck evaluations, small female neck interactions with side airbags, airbag out-of-position testing, and the development of a pregnant occupant model.

Center for Public Policy, Partnerships, and Outreach

The Center for Public Policy, Partnerships, and Outreach (C3PO) has several areas of focus. The Center assists with the needed models of rules and regulations for advanced vehicles (e.g., driver assistance systems, connected and/or automated vehicles), provides research to ensure state and federal policies are based on relevant data, develops partnerships to assist in the development of new systems, and enhances VTTI’s research areas and sponsorship diversity.

Center for Sustainable Mobility

The Center for Sustainable Mobility (CSM) conducts research relevant to society’s transportation mobility, energy, environmental, and safety needs. The center translates the results of research into realistic and workable applications, creates and provides tools needed to apply developed knowledge and processes, and educates qualified engineers to meet today’s transportation demands and tomorrow’s transportation challenges in the areas of transportation network control, large-scale transportation system modeling, traffic state prediction using large data and artificial intelligence techniques, transit bus real-time routing and scheduling, vehicle energy and environmental modeling, transportation system modeling, and eco-transportation applications.

Center for Sustainable Transportation Infrastructure

The Center for Sustainable Transportation Infrastructure (CSTI) focuses on asset management; pavement design, analysis, rehabilitation, and safety; infrastructure management; civil engineering materials; nondestructive testing; and life cycle cost analyses. CSTI houses the Infrastructure Management group and the Sensing, Modeling and Simulation group. The center initiated a consortium of state highway agencies and equipment manufacturers dedicated to enhancing pavement surfaces. The center tested a product that extends the life of the road surface and retains de-icing chemicals on the surface, giving road crews time to deploy during inclement weather. CSTI also developed a way to include the environmental impact of road materials in the decision-making processes during road construction.

Center for Technology Development

The Center for Technology Development (CTD) specializes in developing, implementing, and maintaining innovative systems for transportation research. The center includes the Mechanical Systems Group, which is responsible for mechanical fabrication to suit the needs of all research projects; the Data Acquisition Group, which is responsible for electronic hardware design; and the Advanced Development Group, which is responsible for software development. The Data Acquisition Group is a pioneer in distributed data acquisition systems. The Advanced Development Group includes specialists in machine vision, road tracking, and data analysis.

Center for Truck and Bus Safety

The Center for Truck and Bus Safety (CTBS) focuses on the research, development, and evaluation of heavy-vehicle systems. CTBS is dedicated to the design, delivery, and implementation of leading-edge research and development efforts aimed at improving the health and safety of heavy-vehicle drivers. The center comprises the Behavioral Analysis and Applications Group, the Human Factors and Advanced System Testing Group, and the Safety and Human Factors Group. Center research includes refining and testing rear-lighting configurations to reduce the number and severity of rear-end crashes, determining safe hours of service for commercial motor vehicle drivers, evaluating causes of drowsiness and providing countermeasures, and developing education programs to keep drivers healthy and alert.

Center for Vulnerable Road User Safety

Center for Vulnerable Road User Safety (CVRUS) conducts research and outreach designed to enhance safety for all vulnerable road users, including senior and teen drivers, bicyclists and other vehicle riders, and pedestrians. Vulnerable road users comprise all age groups and a variety of demographics. Their one shared trait is an increased risk of suffering a traffic-related crash or injury. The center includes the Teen Risk and Injury Prevention group and the Senior Mobility Awareness, Safety, and Health group. Research includes a naturalistic driving study of novice teen drivers with the aim of providing real-time feedback, gathering information for driver training, and keeping teens’ parents informed. The center has undertaken outreach initiatives designed to provide recommendations for coordinating public and private services for the aged, disabled, and indigent populations.

Motorcycle Research Group

The Motorcycle Research Group was born from a history in transportation research, concern about the increasing numbers of motorcyclist fatalities and injuries, and the excitement of a large number of VTTI engineers, staff, researchers, and family who are riders. The group focuses on riders and their machines while considering other factors in the surrounding transportation system. Group researchers recently completed the first large-scale naturalistic driving study of motorcycles, the aim of which was to explore motorcycle crash causation and develop crash countermeasures.

I-81 Corridor Coalition

The I-81 Corridor Coalition (I-81CC) is a consortium of stakeholders dedicated to improving the safety, continuity, and efficiency of commercial and personal travel along the I-81 corridor that extends from Tennessee to the Canadian border in New York. Centered at VTTI, this partnership is comprised of state Departments of Transportation (DOTs), Metropolitan and Regional Planning Organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and private entities from the six corridor states. The primary focus of the I-81CC is to study and implement innovative solutions to address challenges specific to travel on a freight-intensive highway serving a wide variety of geopolitical regions and users. Current areas of focus include incident management, development planning, and truck parking.