The Center for Accessibility and Safety for an Aging Population (ASAP), a University Transportation Center (UTC), on October 24, 2017, hosted a laboratory visit by members of the Women in Math, Science, and Engineering (WIMSE). Based at the Florida State University (FSU), WIMSE is a living-learning community (LLC) on campus that supports the growth and development of women in STEM fields. Under the leadership of Dr. John Sobanjo (ASAP Director), and supervision of Richard Twumasi-Boakye, Ryan Doczy, and Sneha Chityala, all graduate students and research assistants at Florida State University, the group of the six visiting WIMSE students was introduced to the Driving Simulator Laboratory at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering.
The laboratory visit lasted for one hour, involving three interactive sessions. The first session comprised a brief introduction to the research focus of the ASAP transportation center as well as the purposes, features, and uses of the DriveSafety Driving Simulator. The second session included a discussion of transportation engineering, with a clear narration of essential concepts related to driver decisions, such as vehicle speeds, permitted left-turn movements, and gap acceptance. After this brief "lesson" in transportation engineering, a short written "quiz" was done, which involved students being tested on decisions on whether or not to make a permitted left-turn movement based on their calculated headways from a given traffic flow. The final session included a presentation of on-going ASAP research projects which incorporated the use of the Driving Simulator, as well as the students being given turns to have a hands-on experience in operating the Driving Simulator - a very exciting feature of the visit for most of the students.
In summary, this event was very successful, with most of the WIMSE students expressing interests in the laboratory’s research activities. They further mentioned how much knowledge they had gained with respect to aging-focused research and were also impressed with the Driving Simulator’s research applications and capabilities.