Safe-D: Safety through Disruption

Fueled by the inevitable changes in our transportation system, the Safety through Disruption (Safe-D) University Transportation Center (UTC) endeavors to maximize the potential safety benefits of disruptive technologies through targeted research that addresses the most pressing transportation safety questions.


Safe-D, ATLAS Internship Program Underway at TTI

Standing, left to right: Quang Le (TAMU), Arwah Al-Kahtani (TAMU), TTI Senior Research Scientist Sue Chrysler, TTI Agency Director Greg Winfree, Christian Estela (TAMU), Luis Sevillano (University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez), Lizzie Clark (Virginia Tech), Daniel Khuat (TAMU). Sitting, left to right: Rachel Sable (Virginia Tech), Andrew Peretin (Virginia Tech), Ryan Alexander (University of Vermont), TTI Associate Research Scientist Laura Higgins.

Nine undergraduate students from various backgrounds with an interest in transportation safety have been selected for a unique, 10-week summer internship with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) as part of the Advancing Transportation Leadership and Safety (ATLAS) and Safety through Disruption (Safe-D) University Transportation Centers (UTCs).

Read more on the internship program kickoff here.

Safe-D Awards Spring 2017 Research Projects

Safe-D has selected nine research projects for award under the Center’s first call for original research proposals. The funded projects are broadly aligned with the Safe-D primary focus area, “Promoting Safety,” and span the Center’s four key theme areas: transportation as a service, big data analytics, automation, and connectivity. Each successful proposal contained detailed plans for Technology Transfer and Education & Workforce Development, which are critical to the Safe-D mission. All selected projects build upon the strengths of the consortium members (VTTI, TTI, & SDSU), and three represent collaborative efforts among the consortium members and their associated universities (Virginia Tech and Texas A&M). These projects are expected to produce meaningful improvements in the overall safety of our transportation system while enhancing educational opportunities through student involvement and curriculum development.

Descriptions of projects are available here.

Initial Safe-D Research Projects Awarded

Safe-D is pleased to announce the award of seven initial research projects. These collaborative projects build on the expertise of our staff and faculty, and utilize the world-class facilities of three consortium members: VTTI, TTI, & SDSU. As they are fundamental components of the Safe-D National UTC, these projects include student support as well as Education & Workforce Development and Technology Transfer Plans. Safe-D feels strongly that these research projects contribute to the Center’s overall Vision and Mission. We are excited about working with these bright teams of researchers and looking forward to the outcomes of their research.

Descriptions of projects are available here.


Fueled by the inevitable changes in our transportation system, the Safety through Disruption (Safe-D) University Transportation Center (UTC) endeavors to maximize the potential safety benefits of disruptive technologies through targeted research that addresses the most pressing transportation safety questions. With the outstanding leadership of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute in a mentoring collaboration with the new transportation research group at San Diego State University, a Hispanic-serving institute known for educating the transportation workforce, our geographically balanced consortium encompasses the largest collection of transportation safety researchers in the nation and provides unparalleled expertise, facilities, and resources to conduct impactful research towards our long-term vision. The Safe-D Center will focus its efforts in three key areas: (1) cutting-edge research by leading transportation safety experts and their students; (2) education and workforce development with programs for all levels from grade school through college to continuing education for professionals; and (3) fully supported technology transfer including practitioner training partnerships, social networking, commercialization, and intellectual property management.


The mission of Safe-D is to proactively promote safety through a data-driven collaboration among the nation’s brightest researchers.


The vision of Safe-D is a nation with a systemically safe transportation system.

Theme Areas

  • Connected Vehicles
  • Automated Vehicles
  • Transportation as a Service
  • Big Data Analytics


The Safe-D consortium was assembled by the Director, Dr. Zachary Doerzaph, with the expressed intent to make significant progress toward a nation with systemically safe travel through research, education and workforce development, and technology transfer efforts.

Partner with Us

To effectively usher in the next generation of transformative technologies in transportation, the Safe-D UTC believes that it is critical to partner with industry representatives, university faculty, and young students in all Center activities. Accordingly, the Safe-D UTC is seeking partners for targeted research and development activities, educational and workforce development programs, and technology transfer efforts aimed at commercialization and deployment.