Leslie Harwood, Research Associate

Center for Advanced Automotive Research

Leslie Harwood is a Research Associate in the Center for Advanced Automotive Research at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), where she has been working with advanced vehicle technologies for over nine years. Ms. Harwood primarily serves as the Program Manager for the Safety through Disruption National UTC (Safe-D National UTC), where she manages all operations of the $28 million-dollar national safety UTC, as appointed by the USDOT under the 2015 Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), including managing the UTC program at VTTI and across consortium universities Texas A&M University and San Diego State University. In this role, Ms. Harwood works with the directors to craft and execute details of Safe-D programs, ensures all program-level and project-level deliverables are produced in accordance with grant requirements, interfaces with USDOT administration and project stakeholders, coordinates over 120 faculty and 80 student researchers across three consortium universities to facilitate the research process, and leads USDOT grant-level reporting efforts.

Ms. Harwood also holds a Geographic Information System Professional (GISP) Certification and has over 12 years of experience working with GIS and performing geospatial analysis in the transportation field. Her research projects at VTTI most recently include spatial analysis of connected vehicle technology under the Safety Pilot Model Deployment (SPMD), mapping and spatial analysis for connected vehicle performance drives conducted under the SPMD Driver Clinics, and investigating mapping speed resources for potential use with SHRP2 naturalistic driving data.

Ms. Harwood obtained her M.S. and undergraduate degrees from Virginia Tech in Geography, with an emphasis on geospatial and environmental analysis.