The Office of Research announced the appointment of James R. Sayer, a professor of civil and environmental engineering, as the new director of the University’s Transportation Research Institute Tuesday.

The UMTRI specializes in research and safety anaylsis by collecting data from short and long-term projects that explore the various factors of vehicular accidents.

Sayer, whose appointment will begin March 1, is currently a research scientist and head of the Human Factors Group within UMTRI. According to a press release, he has been recognized internationally as a front-runner in the conduct and evaluation of field operational tests of motor-vehicle safety systems and the study of naturalistic driving behavior.

S. Jack Hu, vice president for research, said in a release he was optimistic about Sayer’s qualifications and abilities to perform the duties required of the position.

“Jim has shown exemplary vision in conceiving innovative interdisciplinary research projects that show the commitment of UMTRI to its mission, and strong leadership in building the relationships with faculty, industry, and government required to make them happen,” Hu said.

Sayer has been conducting basic and translational research on connected vehicle technology, advanced vehicle safety systems, driving behavior and driving distraction for 23 years. His recent accomplishments include his work in developing MCity, the University’s 32-acre full-scale simulated urban environment, which is used to test the performance and safety of connected, automated and autonomous vehicles under realistic, controlled conditions.

In addition, Sayer has served as the principal investigator for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot Model Deployment Program, a $31 million program that demonstrated connected-vehicle technologies in Ann Arbor. The findings from the project are currently being used by the Department of Transportation to evaluate connected-vehicle technology in terms of driver acceptance, feasibility, scalability, security and device interoperability.

Sayer’s work in connected vehicles and in the development of MCity has earned him a 2015 White House Transportation Champion of Change award.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.