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Center for Truck and Bus Safety

Tractor trailers

The Center for Truck and Bus Safety (CTBS) focuses on the research, development, and evaluation of heavy-vehicle systems and operations. CTBS is dedicated to the design, delivery, and implementation of leading-edge research and development efforts aimed at improving the safety of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers and those they share the road with. CTBS comprises the Behavioral Analysis and Applications Group and the Human Factors and Advanced System Testing Group. Key research themes within CTBS include the study of driver behavior and the impact on driver safety, with a focus on distraction and fatigue; determining safe operating conditions for CMV drivers; developing education programs for CMV drivers to keep them safe, healthy, and alert; developing education programs for drivers who share the road with CMVs; and assessing advancements of vehicle technology, including connected, platooning, advanced driver-assistance system, and automated driving system applications.

Rich Hanowski, Center Director

Rich Hanowski
Center Director

Featured Projects

Guidelines on Limiting Distraction from Visual Displays (VDs) in Vehicles

The objective of this study was to produce a set of recommendations intended to reduce distraction through the safe design, installation, and use of in-vehicle VDs. This was accomplished though critical reviews of the available latest research, guidelines, standards, and best practices; legislation and regulations; and trends in mitigation strategies and technologies. Read More

Pooled Research on Driver-Focused Studies – FMCSA

This study examined a wide array of driver personal and situational factors to determine the prevalence of these factors and their relationships to crash involvement. VTTI collected driver medical, demographic, and other personal factors to examine their relationships with various safety outcomes based on crash data from the participating carrier and crashes and moving violation convictions from national datasets. Data from over 21,000 drivers were collected, and 20,753 of these drivers were included in the analyses. Read More

Sharing the Road with Large Trucks: Teen Driver Education – FMCSA

This ongoing project aims to provide novice drivers with information and a hands-on learning experience about sharing the road with trucks. Researchers from VTTI visit driver education programs to conduct an onsite demonstration about proper procedures for sharing the road with trucks. The hands-on program is designed to be completed in a single class period and includes a short in-class presentation and an outside truck demonstration. During the truck demonstration, objects and vehicles are strategically placed around the truck to demonstrate large truck blind spots. Students take turns sitting in the cab of the truck to experience the blind spots from a truck driver’s perspective. Read More

Fast Dash Program - FMCSA

The FMCSA’s Advanced System Testing utilizing a Data Acquisition System on the Highways (FAST DASH) program conducts efficient, independent evaluations of promising safety technologies aimed at commercial vehicle operations. CTBS is completed three technology evaluations over five years with a focus on the efficacy of safety systems as measured through: crash reduction effectiveness (i.e., safety improvements), unintended consequences (i.e., safety disbenefits), and user (e.g., driver and safety manager) acceptance. Read More

CMV Driver Restart – FMCSA

VTTI conducted a Congressionally mandated naturalistic study to evaluate the operational, safety, fatigue and health impacts of the restart provisions in Sections 395.3(c) and 395.3(d) of Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations. A total of 235 commercial motor vehicle drivers representative of the industry contributed data while working their normal schedules, with 181 drivers completing all five months of the study. Drivers were monitored via electronic logging devices; onboard monitoring systems to detect safety-critical events; wrist actigraph devices for sleep-wake tracking; and smartphone apps for self-ratings of fatigue, sleepiness, stress, sleep quality, and caffeine intake. Drivers were also subjected to Brief Psychomotor Vigilance Test (PVT-B) performance testing. Read More

Field Study of Heavy Vehicle Crash Avoidance – NHTSA

VTTI conducted a large-scale, naturalistic field test of heavy vehicle crash avoidance system (CAS) performance and reliability. In the CAS examined in this study, automatic emergency braking was always enabled, and a suite of audio/visual alerts informed the driver of potential conflicts. VTTI documented how frequently CAS systems activate under real-world conditions, the environmental conditions in which they activate, and how drivers reacted to activations. The study sampled 6,000 activations for further analysis to determine how many were safety critical, advisory, or false in nature. Finally, VTTI characterized CAS activations to provide real-world data that can be used to estimate CAS safety benefits. The research team collected over 85,000 hours and 2.5 million miles of truck driving data from all 48 lower U.S. states. The results have helped NHTSA and industry understand how to improve CAS usability to maximize the safety benefits. Read More

Bus Operator Workstation – NAS (National Academy of Sciences)

This project was designed to assist transit agencies and bus manufacturers to integrate improved and emerging technologies into current procurement practices and improve bus operator workstation design across the transit industry. The research team sought to develop the updated bus operator workstation guideline, including tools such as the Bus Operator Workstation Feature Guideline and the three-dimensional (3-D) CAD model, Bus Operator Workstation Engineering CAD Model, into products that align with the processes and practices that are common within the rest of the commercial bus and truck industry. To assist in the communication of bus operator workstation requirements with individuals who are not trained in expensive and difficult CAD software, a Bus Operator Workstation 3-D PDF Model was created for anyone who has access to a computer. Read More

Groups

Behavioral Analysis and Applications

Led by Jeff Hickman, Ph.D., the Behavioral Analysis and Applications (BAA) Group specializes in real-world research focused on a variety of behavioral safety and health issues involving heavy-truck and bus drivers. BAA focuses on research and development efforts that advance knowledge in the truck and bus safety and health domains and provide solutions to real-world problems. BAA provides assistance with the design, delivery, and implementation of safety and health improvement interventions using behavior-based and person-based psychology and human factors applications. BAA conducts research on industrial and occupational safety, intelligent transportation systems, safety culture, and training and education programs.

Jeff Hickman, Group Leader

Jeff Hickman
Group Leader


Human Factors and Advanced System Testing

The Human Factors and Advanced System Testing Group specializes in helping industry and government sponsors solve transportation challenges by providing applied research focused on understanding and optimizing interactions between humans (e.g., drivers, passengers, and pedestrians) and the transportation system. This group has experience in providing practical solutions (e.g., advanced technology, public and private policy, and guidelines) for a variety of transportation safety issues (e.g., visibility, fatigue, distraction, and comfort) involving light vehicles, heavy trucks, specialty vehicles (e.g., hazardous materials and fire apparatus) and buses.

Center Faculty

Matthew Camden

Behavioral Analysis and Applications

Senior Research Associate

Nicoleta Druta

Project Associate

Laurel Glenn

Behavioral Analysis and Applications

Research Associate

Mark Golusky

Human Factors and Advanced System Testing

Lead Research Specialist

Kevin Grove

Human Factors and Advanced System Testing

Research Associate

Rebecca Hammond

Research Associate

Jeff Hickman

Behavioral Analysis and Applications

Research Scientist

Andrew Krum

Human Factors and Advanced System Testing

Senior Research Associate

Andrew Miller

Human Factors and Advanced System Testing

Research Associate

Abhijit Sarkar

Human Factors and Advanced System Testing

Research Associate

Susan Soccolich

Research Associate

Scott Tidwell

Electronics Technician

Martin Walker

Senior Research Associate

Outreach Programs

Driving Healthy

As a CMV driver, eating right is challenging because access to healthy food is often limited. It can also be a challenge to find the time or resources to exercise while on the road. The goal of Driving Healthy is to provide CMV drivers with health and wellness information targeted towards the unique needs of CMV drivers. We encourage visitors to explore the information within the Driving Healthy website, to interact with others on our Facebook and Twitter pages, and to share CMV-specific health-related information with others.

Commercial Motor Vehicle Driving Safety

When it comes to commercial trucking, education can play a significant role in the safety and well-being of commercial drivers and the public with whom they share the roads. Researchers at VTTI have come together to provide industry professionals – risk managers, safety directors, dispatchers, and their insurance agents – with the information they need to develop strategies for a safer, more productive workforce. On this website, you will find six interactive modules prepared by VTTI research scientists who specialize in the trucking industry. Each module includes a discussion of safety issues, the latest science on the topic, and tools to help develop practical solutions. We hope that visitors are able to apply the information provided on emerging areas of safety and loss prevention in their business operations.

Tips for Sharing the Road with Commercial Motor Vehicles

The fault in over three-quarters of crashes and near-crashes involving heavy vehicles is attributed to car drivers. This may be indicative of inadequacies in driver education and training programs related to safely sharing the road with heavy vehicles. The Tips for Sharing the Road with Commercial Motor Vehicles website was designed to cover five key sharing-the-road scenarios using video clips of real-world driving events captured during one of VTTI’s naturalistic driving studies. The website includes video clips of driving, simulator screenshots, scenario descriptions, short tips and facts, and photographs of actual crashes between cars and heavy vehicles to convey the importance of proper road-sharing behavior. Although the website is aimed at new drivers, all drivers can benefit from reviewing the material and scenarios to ensure that they are sharing the road properly in their everyday driving.

Commercial Motor Vehicle Driving Tips

Housed on the website of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Driving Tips website was developed to educate CMV drivers and fleet managers about common driving errors and provide valuable driving tips through an easily accessible tool, the Internet. The driving tips, ideas, and suggestions outlined on the website are supported with real-world driving video clips that exemplify errors. The truck videos shown on the website were collected during real-world (open-roadway) driving studies conducted by VTTI. As a training exercise, the examples on the website are followed by sets of questions aimed to spark thoughtful introspection of the behaviors shown in the videos.


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Contact

  • 540-231-1500
  • 540-231-1555

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