Skip to main content

Center for Vulnerable Road User Safety

Justin Owens on bicycle

The 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 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 goal of providing real-time feedback, gathering information for driver training, and keeping teens’ parents informed. The center has conducted outreach initiatives designed to provide recommendations for coordinating public and private services for the aged, disabled, and indigent populations.

Jon Antin, Center Director

Jon Antin
Center Director

Featured Projects

Disability Survey Project

Sponsor: Center for Advanced Transportation Mobility Tier 1 University Transportation Center, US DoT
This study was conducted to enable better understanding of the mobility-related needs and barriers facing people with disabilities (PWD) in the United States. PWD face a variety of challenges in non-driving transportation, whether by a personal means of locomotion (including on foot and using a wheelchair or other assistive devices) or when using public transportation or paratransit. Read More


Sponsor: Center for Advanced Transportation Mobility Tier 1 University Transportation Center, US DoT
The increasing miniaturization, computing power, and intercommunication of modern technology provides novel and powerful opportunities to assist the mobility of vulnerable road users (VRUs). The objective of this ongoing project is to develop a Vulnerable Road User Mobility Assistance Platform (VRU-MAP), a platform designed to assist VRUs in moving through the world. The VRU-MAP will include personalized, proactive, real-time, multimodal information. Read More

Drivers’ Knowledge/Correct Use of New Technology Features in Vehicles

Sponsor: NHTSA; Prime: Dunlap & Associates
Automation in vehicles is intended to relieve driver workload to some degree, depending on the implemented level of automation. However, it is not yet clear whether drivers fully understand the nature of automated systems and how to safely and successfully use and interact with them. Thus, they may fail to use them in a manner which fully realizes their safety and fatigue-reducing benefits. Read More

An Integrated Approach to Assess the Risk of Driving for Teens Diagnosed with ASD

Sponsor: National Institute for Child Health and Human Development; Prime: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Transition to adulthood is a known challenge for autistic adolescents and overall an understudied topic. Despite these challenges, there is a substantial population of young drivers and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who are interested in independent driving in the future. Prior surveys have shown that one in three autistic adults without an intellectual disability are licensed to drive by age 21. Compared to non-driving autistic adolescents, those that drove were more likely to be in full-time regular education, plan to attend college, and hold a paid job outside the home. Read More

Development of Teen Driver Feedback App

Sponsors: Center for Advanced Transportation Mobility Tier 1 University Transportation Center, US DoT; National Surface Transportation Safety Center for Excellence; GM
Previous research on video-based driver monitoring and feedback has shown that a reduction in crash/near-crash rates can be achieved but only under certain constraints. First, supervision must be present with a possibility of consequences. Second, all safety benefits gained will diminish when the monitoring and feedback system is removed from the vehicle. To further our understanding, additional research is needed to assess other non-video types of feedback that are more ubiquitous for parent and teen use. Additionally, the implementation of positive reinforcement (i.e., in the form incentives) should also be assessed to determine if crash/near-crash rate reductions can be obtained that are similar to the results from earlier monitoring and feedback studies. Read More

Tracking State Traffic Citation and Adjudication Outcomes

Sponsor: Transportation Research Board of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine
Numerous challenges exist with state traffic citation and adjudication data systems, including the inability to adequately track problem drivers. The effective management and linking of traffic records data is a critical tool to address this issue. While existing efforts have suggested methods for improving the integration of these data systems, assessments of state performance are not centralized or shared among states. This project aims to build on these efforts to conduct the first ever comprehensive evaluation of data systems for citations through final disposition. Read More

Developing a Sentinel Surveillance System for Drug Use by Drivers on the Road and in Crashes: Pilot Implementation

Sponsor: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety
Impaired driving continues to be a significant source of injury, death, and financial burden in the United States. Alcohol-impaired driving alone accounts for nearly one-third of traffic-related deaths each year; however, drugs, other than alcohol, are also believed to play a substantial role in crashes. Unfortunately, due largely to the cost and complexity of conducting non-alcohol drug testing, accurate and representative data related to drugged driving simply do not exist. Given the importance of drugged driving information to public safety and the inability of existing data sources to provide this information, the goal of this project is to create a novel sentinel surveillance system to fill this critical public safety gap. Read More


Senior Mobility Awareness, Safety, and Health Group

The Senior Mobility Awareness, Safety, and Health (SMASH) Group, led by Jon Antin, conducts research and outreach activities focused on enhancing the safe mobility of seniors, whether they are private vehicle drivers, passengers, transit/alternative transportation users, or pedestrians. Our society and many around the globe are rapidly aging and are expected to continue to do so for several decades. In addition to this undeniable demographic trend, we must also consider the following facts: 1) the personal vehicle is still the primary means of transportation and independence in the U.S.; (2) senior drivers aged 75 and older are greatly over-represented in crash rates on a per-mile-driven basis; and (3) the typically increased degree of fragility seen in seniors greatly magnifies their risk of injury or death for any level of crash severity compared to that experienced by younger occupants. Therefore, it is imperative to conduct research and outreach activities in this area, especially within the context of evolving transportation technology. The activities of the SMASH group have been reported in local newspapers and articles distributed by national media outlets.

Jon Antin, Group Leader

Jon Antin
Group Leader

Teen Risk and Injury Prevention

The Teen Risk and Injury Prevention (TRIP) Group, led by Charlie Klauer, is focused on improving our knowledge of the risks faced by novice drivers and identifying ways to improve novice driver safety. Novice drivers are over-represented in our nation’s fatality and injury crash statistics. One out of every five young drivers in the U.S. is involved in a collision within the first six months of driving. The TRIP group is dedicated to improving these statistics and preserving our nation’s youth.

To improve teen driving safety, we work to educate the public about teen driving risks and the best methods of alleviating these risks. We have formed partnerships with the Montgomery, Bedford, and Roanoke County Public school districts and participate in Parent/Teen Safe Driving Meetings. At these meetings, members of TRIP present to parents and teen drivers about the safety benefits of developing a parent/teen driving contract. We present our research results at both transportation conferences (e.g., the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting) and advocacy and policy conferences (e.g., LifeSavers Conference and Governor’s Highway Safety Conference). TRIP group members have participated in several safe driving documentaries and national news stories featured on the Discovery Channel, 20/20, 60 Minutes – Australia, and other national evening news programs.

Charlie Klauer, Group Leader

Charlie Klauer
Group Leader

Outreach Programs

Virginia Licensing Ceremony

VTTI researchers have created a presentation for Virginia judges to use during the licensing ceremony that all teens and parents in Virginia must attend for teens to receive their license. The goal is to provide information about the greatest driving risks for teens and what countermeasures have been shown to reduce risk.

2nd Annual Center for Advanced Transportation Mobility Symposium

Center for Advanced Transportation Mobility Symposium

Jon Antin, Ph.D., CHFP serves as the Research Program Manager for the Center for Advanced Transportation Mobility (CATM) a Tier 1 University Transportation Center (UTC) led by NC A&T State University in Greensboro, NC, with support from the US DoT. In November 2018, Dr. Antin and VTTI hosted researchers, graduate as well as undergraduate students, and other stakeholders at the 2nd Annual CATM Symposium in Blacksburg, VA. Read More

Summer High School Transportation Institute Visit to VTTI

Summer High School Transportation Institute at VTTI

In the summer of 2019, CVRUS personnel hosted a group of fifteen underrepresented high school students from the Summer High School Transportation Institute which is administered by the Transportation Institute at NC A&T State University. These students engaged in an interactive discussion of VTTI’s research and a tour of its expansive facilities. In addition, a presentation was delivered on the very relevant topic of teen driver safety.

Parent-Teen Driving Agreement

VTTI researchers developed a parent/teen driving agreement as part of the Ford Driving Skills for Life program. This agreement is adapted from the Checkpoints Program developed by Bruce-Simons Morton at the National Institute of Child Health Development. Consider using this agreement when your teen starts to drive independently.


  • 540-231-1500
  • 540-231-1555

Media Contact